Container gardening is a fantastic way of making the most of the space in your garden, whether you have a city, courtyard space, balcony garden or mainly patio plot. Find some inspiration for aquatic container planting designs and the plants to go in it…

You don’t need a large pond for the opportunity to plant water-loving plants. Instead, create an aquatic container in your garden using these tips.

Not only do they look great in the garden, but it also provides an opportunity for wildlife to bathe, drink, and shelter too.

Water works

Having a container water garden means you can enjoy the many benefits of water gardening without making major commitments.

There are a huge variety of containers to choose from, create a makeshift one with buckets, bowls, or metal containers. Upcycle bathtubs or sinks for unique charm in your garden. Large ceramic planters or stainless-steel containers can be used too, the possibilities are endless.


A great tip is to use dark coloured containers or containers with a dark interior because the give the illusion that they are deeper.

Place the container in a spot where it gets good sunlight. Most aquatic plants need full sun to thrive.

Aquatic container contenders


Marginal plants are ones where the roots are attached to the soil and part of the plan emerges above the surface of the water. Plants like irises and water lilies are marginal plants.

Vallisneria spiralis (straight vallisneria) has long, straight, narrow leaves that can spread across the surface of the water. They’re easy to grow and don’t demand much in terms of care. If propagating, they do so by runners.

Iris versicolor (blue flag iris) grow up to 80cm tall, with narrow foliage that’s topped with blue-purple flowers in summer. These clump forming perennials are well-suited to a spot with full sun.

Floating flowers

Floating plants float freely on or just below the water surface, bringing a new dimension to the display.

Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce) is a wonderful, decorative floating aquatic. Its evergreen foliage isn’t the only selling point as they also have pretty roots that change from white to purple to black.


Waterlilies are a classic contender for an aquatic container, with the rounded floating leaves and pretty cupped flowers. ‘Escarboucle’ has fragrant orange-red flowers with orange stamens that will add a burst of brightness to the container.

Big impact


To have a big impact, you don’t need to fill the container with plants, instead, add one type of each plant and leave around a third of the surface open.

Make the container a feature in the garden by creating a winding path leading up to it. Alternatively position it with other containers of the same style to create a group of different planting schemes in one area.

The container doesn’t need to be large, instead choose a size that will suit your space.

Introducing water to your garden is a great idea, and an aquatic container gives you the opportunity to try out growing some new plants. Let me know your favourite aquatic plants in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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