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Indoor Container Water Gardens


Bring the beauty of the outdoors inside with a container water garden

If you want to enjoy the benefits of an indoor water garden, it is easy to create one without elaborate materials.

You can use any planter if it is sealed on the inside. If you use a concrete container, be sure to leach out the lime first. Fill it with water, drain, and refill for ten days and it will be safe to use. Aquariums are also popular, but even a small fishbowl will work.

You can choose among a variety of plants but they should all have the same "likes." Some plants prefer cold water while others will prefer a warmer watery environment. Some will grow in shade, while others need plenty of sun. Sun-lovers will need at least 14 hours of sun each day; you can supplement natural light with a grow-light. Between these you can choose species that will grow in soil, those that will root in gravel, and those that float on the surface.

Emergent plants are those that will root in gravel or soil and grow upward past the water's surface. Submergents will sprout leaves below the surface.

If you choose soil-based plants, you want to avoid muddying the waters as the soil floats upward. To prevent this, you can keep the plant in its original container and cover with gravel or mix sand with the soil, plant, and then cover with a thick layer of gravel.

You can also give plants added height by placing individual containers on small blocks in the aquarium and then camouflaging with rocks.

Aquatic plants, in their native habitats, thrive on nutrient rich soils and they require the same in any environment. However, these types of natural soils are also quite smelly. You can use water-soluble plant food, but in a weakened solution.

To avoid bacteria growth, be sure that everything going into your water garden is cleaned first. The water can be purified by letting it sit for a day in a separate container or your can purchase water purification tablets.

You may experience an algae bloom at some point. It will usually resolve itself. Containers with clear walls encourage this growth. Adding a few spreading floaters on the surface may help curtail this problem.

If you are not sure about installing a full-scale water garden, start really small with a miniature bowl. You will quickly discover how much fun indoor water gardening can be.

Seek a professional's advice on which plants to choose. Some will naturally be slow-growers while others will literally grow like weeds. (Do not transplant these to the great outdoors, however, or you may have an uncontrollable nuisance on your hands.)


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