This indoor water garden is sure to get conversation started. Its fuzzy rosette leaves float above the surface, while its dark, feathery roots float below. It is part flower arrangement and part houseplant—a delightful mix that won’t fade into the background. An indoor water garden adds a touch of whimsy and a peek-a-boo view below the surface. Follow along with these instructions to make an easy tabletop indoor water garden in a vase, with a few friends thrown in for company!
Floating Pond Plants
There are a number of water plants that don’t require soil to grow. They are called “floaters” (for obvious reasons). Some floating plants, such as frogbit (Limnobium spongia), look like large clusters of tiny leaves that cover the surface of the water. In a glass water garden like this one, I prefer to use large floaters with long, graceful roots such as water lettuce (Pistia stratiote) or water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes).
- One large, cylindrical, footed glass vase
- Colored aquarium rocks
- Ceramic fish
- Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
Start with a tall, cylindrical vase for this project. Wash it with soap and water, rinse well, and dry it to ensure that there are no unseen bacteria or fungus that can grow and taint your water garden.
Add a layer of colored pebbles on the bottom of the vase. I chose a bright color, but you can choose any type of rocks or pebbles that suit your space. Fill the vase with water and let stand for 24 hours to allow the chlorine in the water to evaporate. The chlorine may cause the leaves of the plants to yellow, so it’s best to let it stay out overnight. Alternatively, use collected rainwater for your garden and you can plant it right away!
You can add a couple of ceramic fish to the bottom of the vase but I caution you against adding real fish.While I have seen projects with goldfish or bettas, a vase is too small and the plants at the top actually limit the oxygen available to the fish. Read more about the safety of betta fish in plant vases here.
Caring For Your Tabletop Indoor Water Garden
An indoor water garden like this doesn’t require much care. I mean, you certainly don’t have to water it! Well, you may have to top off the water now and then, and change the water if it becomes murky, but overall this indoor water garden is virtually maintenance-free.
Pond plants are meant to be kept in an outdoor environment. In my experience they last quite a long time in an indoor garden, but eventually they will need to be replaced.
However, if your practiced green thumb allows the plants to thrive so much that they multiply, you can move them to your outside pond or even make up another indoor water garden to give away as a gift.