Pond in a Pot: How to Make a Container Water Garden

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Choose a big container, find a good spot in your garden, pick a variety of aquatic plants, and voila! Easy to care for, a pond in a pot brings joy without much work. Keep an eye on water levels, watch out for algae, and add a bubbler to keep mosquitoes away. Try different plants, but don't overcrowd your mini pond. For winter, bring it indoors in cooler climates. That's it!

Do you want to add a water feature to your small garden? If yes, then create a Pond in a Pot with our quick and easy guide.

Pond in a Pot

A Pond in a Pot can be the perfect lawn centerpiece if you know what you’re doing. Lucky for you, we’ll teach you how to create a water garden full of water lilies and irises blooming, fountains bubbling, and fish swimming in no time.

20 Miniature Water Lily Varieties for a Container Water Garden

Why Create a Pot Pond?

Container Water Garden

A DIY pond in a pot is a combination of potted aquatic plants. It is easy to maintain and needs little care. You can arrange plants whenever and wherever you like.

Having it in the garden is fun – it’s something you can enjoy without much work, and it’s a lovely experience growing new kinds of plants for your mini water garden in the container. What’s not to like?

How to Create a Pond in a Pot?

1. Choose a Container

Take as large as you can, a tub, bowl or container, whichever you can use. Ceramic and Plastic containers of 10-15 gallons are best, or use your old wash tub, porcelain container, old wine box, or whiskey barrel (check out its leakage).

Choose a pot painted with a dark color from the inside; this way, your pond will look more spacious and deep. If possible, make a pond in a pot that’s at least 16 inches wide and 10 inches deep.

24 DIY Container Water Garden Ideas For Container Gardeners

2. Pick a Place for the Pond

Your container water garden will provide a serene ambiance, so place it wisely after deciding whether the source of water is near it or not, whether it receives sunshine for about six hours but shade in the afternoon, and so on.

Then, you will need to check how it looks from different angles. If placed well, it can become a beautiful focal point of your small garden.

3. Add the Plants

Container Water Garden 2

Choose three to five plants according to the size of your container; take different types of aquatic plants — Erect plants like ‘yellow flag iris’ and cattail, floating plants like water hyacinth, and broadleaf plants like the giant arrowhead, elephant ear or calla lily.

If your container’s size is more than the suggested 16 inches wide and 10 inches deep (ideal size), then you can grow deep-rooted water plants like lotus and water-lily, too. These aquatic plants need at least 10 inches of water over their roots and a bit of space to spread their foliage.

Here are Herbs and Vegetables You Can Grow in a Container Water Garden

4. Set up Your Container Water Garden

Once you’ve chosen a container, placed it in a suitable spot, and picked plants, you’re ready to set up your pond in a pot. Just fill the container with general tap water and dip the potted plants you’ve bought.

All you need is to place them up in specific depths of the container; for this, use bricks to vary in height to make a picturesque arrangement; see the diagram above for better insight. You can also install a water fountain and add fish to the pond.

20 Ugly Fish | Ugliest Fishes in the World

Caring for Your Container Water Garden

Container Water Garden 2

Making a pond in a pot is easy, but caring for it is even easier. Here’s what you need to do. 

Keep an eye on the water. If it gets too low, add more tap water to keep the plants and fish happy. Your container water garden will thrive with this simple practice.

Algae will be a problem, too, and to prevent this — paint a dark color inside your container and occasionally drain the water when decomposed matter populates on the bottom.

Mosquitoes can be a challenge as well and can be the root of diseases for you or your children. To prevent their larvae from thriving, install a bubbler or fountain or add goldfish.

Check out these Pretty Indoor Plants in Water Garden Ideas

Additional Tips

  • To overwinter it in cool climates, you should keep it indoors.
  • Use diverse plants, but don’t overcrowd your mini pond in a pot.
  • For a pond in a pot with fish, you need to de-chlorinate water using chlorine removal tablets.

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    • Find a local source for water plants and more plant information, asking also about adding fish and how to feed them, as they can be a great, fun asset to the water plants! It’s not very expensive- get at least a bubbler and get one lotus, or more but if possible, but do not miss out on that experience!!

  1. Fish need to be fed a high quality fish food. They need space to swim and oxygen from the bubbles from a fountain. They will also eat algae and mosquito larvae, but do need supplementary feeding.

    • Absolutely, thanks for commenting here, as I was wondering why anyone would not learn that fish need to be fed, too! The bubbler was also an important part of the little pond and are not expensive.

    • Not really, you’ll have an overgrowth of algae that way. It’s best for a very dark pot or liner. I had a “half-whiskey barrel” planter and a black liner that was made for that half barrel. (Lowe’s Home Improvement, lo these many years ago when they were ll the rage.) This was a few years ago, and I even got algae growth in that anyway. I never fed my gold fish, didn’t even know they were still in there!! They were, and one a big ol’ fella too! They overwintered, both fish and my lily, in 6b area temps (90 degrees down to -10 degrees), so when I moved and couldn’t keep it, I emptied it and found the fish still in there – total amazement!! I wouldn’t try clear unless it’s a table top size and you can empty and clean it often. Also, I’m wondering – maybe too hot for gold fish? They don’t care for too high a temp water which is why they don’t need an aquarium heater.

      Hope this helps! (I’m not the author of this article…)

  2. These are so pretty and encourage people to start out with the basic hard shell, approximately 3’ diameter, available at Lowes. It’s a great thing to see a lotus blossoming outside your door. We live at our farm, zone 7 Piedmont of N. C., and definitely plan to have the “fancy-tailed” goldfish in addition, which do need feeding btw, don’t understand not doing so. Be sure to get a bubbler and now curious about a mini waterfall!


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