Monday, November 05, 2007

container water garden: mini ecosystem

Everyone loves terrariums, and pictures of them but the lesser known cousin if you will to them would be the container water garden.

They are a great aquatic fix if your space is too small for a full sized pond feature. The only difference in a container water garden is to plant water plants in water not land plants in potting soil. A container water garden can be any size, even mini-teeny-itsy. A nice size container is 12-to-24 inches wide by 12-to-16 inches deep. You can seal ceramic containers but a glass or plastic containers may be easiest to use.

The plants must be submerged with the foliage above the water line, either by using packed clay in pots or rocks. A nice arrangement is to mix a tall erect spiky plant with a broad-leaf plant and a cascading plant- a few plants can be the floating variety such as water lettuce-pistia stratiotes or water hyacinth-eichhornia crassipes. There are good step by step instructions at Poetic Plantings and also Cultivating Life. Don't crowd too many plants into a container. Two to three potted and submerged with one to two floating will look lovely.

The container will need 6 hours of sun and needs to be topped off every few days as water evaporates. When plants begin to grow, add a fertilizer tablet available at the garden centers. If algae develops you must take the plants out and clean the container with a scrub brush or you could add preventative algae eater fish. Mosquito larvae can be removed by overfilling your container and letting the larvae run out with the water flowing over the top.

They are gorgeous yard or patio additions.
You may also need this aquatic plant list as a reference and this online supplier. If you have room and the pocketbook for an entire conservatory click here for a fabulous picture of the San Francisco aquatic plants room at Golden Gate Park.

If you are still just into terrariums, check out this Cookie magazine post about the Martian Terrarium d.i.y. to make with kids.

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