A water garden can be a small water-filled container, such as a barrel or tub. It can also be a pond or other similar water feature. Water gardens can be defined as a contained body of water in which aquatic plants are grown. Aquatic plants include water lilies, watercress, hyacinths, cannas, cattails and water lettuce. To plant these water garden plants, you can choose from several different types of containers, which are suitable for submersion. These pots act as anchors for the plants in the water garden.
Choose the type of pot you wish to use for your water garden plants. Use plastic pots, plastic baskets or fabric pots. Though you can use containers with drainage holes, the drainage holes allow the soil mix to seep into the water, which may contribute to muddying the pond.
Plastic pots are lightweight and easy to handle, but may crack. Baskets are also lightweight, but soil will leak through. A fabric pot is made of a polypropylene fabric that is at once porous, flexible and sturdy. The advantages of fabric pots are that they will not easily crack or break, and the soil will not seep through to the water.
Determine the right soil mix for your plants. Do not use potting mixes for your aquatic plants. Use a heavy garden loam or garden soil native to your region. Water garden plants prefer a mix with higher content of clay particles and sand. This not only anchors the plant, but also holds nutrients for the plant to use.
Fill the container of your choice 1/2 to 3/4 full of the potting mix. Pour water over the mix so that it is wet enough to hold together.
Make a well in the soil and gently place the root ball of the plant into the well. Add more soil to the pot until the root ball and 1-2 inches of the stems of the plant are covered. Water the soil again.
Add a thin layer of fine gravel over the surface of the soil. Place a layer of larger stones on top of the layer of gravel. These stones can be from your landscape, but should be no larger than 2-3 inches across. The stones are to help keep the soil in place and prevent fish from reaching the root ball of the plant.
Tilt the plant slightly as you begin to lower it into the water garden. Allow the water to slowly flow into the pot. You should see air bubbles escaping from the pot.
Tilt the pot back up as you slowly lower it into the water. When the pot is on the bottom of the pond, hold it there until there are no more air bubbles and you don’t feel any buoyancy. This means the pot soil is fully saturated and the plant is anchored in the water garden.