Water gardening: in containers
Any container that holds water and is approximately the size of a half barrel is suitable for a container water garden. Many garden centers and nurseries now carry containers especially made for container water gardening.
If you use a half barrel, you'll need to line it with plastic to prevent toxins from oozing from the wood and contaminating the water.
Although not ideal choices, you can use hardy and tropical water lilies in container water gardens. Hardy water lilies that perform well in container gardens include the miniature yellow Helvola, the classical Pink Sensation and red Fulgens. Good tropical selections include the blue Dauben and "sunset-colored" Albert Greenberg. Josephine, a promising new variety, has purplish-tipped, white blooms.
There are a host of marginals you can add to complete your miniature water garden. Native prairie cordgrass, arrowhead and iris-like sweet flag are excellent choices. Parrot's feather, aquatic mint and Aeschynomene fluitans are charming novelty-like plants that don't need to be potted and drape nicely out of a half barrel. And don't forget the floating plants such as water hyacinth and water lettuce.
Aquatic plants won't over-winter in a small container. You'll need to bring tropical plants indoors prior to the first frost, and keep hardy plants cool, but don't allow them to freeze or dry out.
Do you have a question? Try Ask an Expert!
Updated Friday, April 19, 2013