Plant a Water Garden and Create an Oasis of Peace in Your Yard

Plant a water garden as a spring project and enjoy the cooling look and sound of water throughout the hot summer months. When I started this article, I had no idea it would be so long.
I’ve broken this down into 3 parts, so if you haven’t done so, read part one of this article The Basics of Water Gardening in Containers and then move on to part 2, Choosing the Right Plants and Soil to Plant a Water Garden.

How to Plant a Water Garden

Your plants can be planted either in pots or baskets lined with burlap. Baskets come in rectangular or circular shape. Half fill the container with damp clay soil or commerical aquatic planting mix. Set the plant in position.

Hardy Lilies:

The rhizome should be placed in the soil at a 45 degree angle. Be sure to check the rhizome “eyes” (growing points) are placed facing the top of the pot. Cover the rhizome with soil so that the growing point is just barely above soil level. Cover the surface with an inch of gravel or stone pebbles to prevent soil from washing away.

Tropical Lilies:

Tropical lilies form crowns and should be planted in deeper pots. The crown should be placed in the soil near the top and covered with soil to barely cover the plant. Cover the surface with an inch of gravel or stone pebbles to prevent soil from washing away.

Bog Plants:

Plant these in the same manner you used to plant the lilies.


These plants often arrive in bundles of cuttings and should be planted as they are into pots and placed on the bottom of the pond. Their roots are merely for anchorage so they can be placed in sand, soil, or gravel.


Rinse these well when they arrive and place them on the surface of the water container.

Placing Your Plants when Planting a Water Garden

Hardy water lilies will grow well at water depths of 12-18 inches over the top of the pot. The plant can be placed in the pot at an initial depth of six inches and then lowered to its final placement or 12-18 as the plant grows. Tropical water lilies should be covered with 12 inches of water. However, they will tolerate placement at 6-8″ of water. Bog plants should be covered by about 1 inch of water. Place bricks under your pots or baskets to adjust the height of the plants to the correct water level for each plant.

Hardy water lilies can be placed in your water garden when the temperature reaches about 50 degrees. Tropical water lilies need warmer temperatures. Wait until temperatures reach 70 degrees before placing these in your container. Some floaters also need warmer temperatures so be sure to check your labels before putting out these plants.

Maintenance of Your Aquatic Garden

Along with the charcoal, one or 2 water snails can be placed in your container. They will eat any decaying vegetation and keep the water clean. Keep the water level of your garden steady. If possible, always top off your aquatic garden with rain water to avoid adding chemicals and chlorine to your garden. Use a Pond Water Balancerof some kind with microbes every few weeks that eat dead matter to keep your pond clean.

Plants will need to be brought in for the winter. Just after the first frost, lift the containers from the pond and leave the plants in the pot. Trim off all dead leaves and stems. Place the container in plastic bags to retain moisture and store in a cool basement or other area where the temperatures don’t go above 50 degrees or below freezing. Check periodically to make sure that there is plenty of moisture in the bag. Maintain these conditions until spring when you are again ready to plant a water garden.

Once you’ve decided to plant a water garden and enjoyed if for a season, you may find you’d like to move to a larger, more permanent location on your property. If so, check out Planning and Designing a water garden at Home Decorating Room by

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