Container Water Garden

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Robcorreia & I want to make a container water garden. I posted this over in the water garden forum but no one spoke up! Perhaps someone here might have the experience to get us started on the right foot .. here is the post I made:

I've been convinced by lotus pictures to make a container water garden. I've checked out some books at the library but there are some things that they are not answering or very clear on. First of all, they suggest kitty litter to hold plants down. Will any old kitty litter do? It seems the clumping and scented stuff would make a mess and not be very plant friendly, or is there a better substrate? Second, are there a certain size (depth and width) that is best for lotus? Third, are water pumps necessary (some in the books have them, other don't they don't really address the reason for them)? Fourth, I live in zone 8a and it can get into the teens at night for a few hours. Do lotus have to be "wintered over"?

Xeramtheum & Robcorreia

This message was edited Sep 8, 2009 8:51 AM

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Use Schultz Aquatic Soil or Turface (same product - calcined clay) or NAPA floor-dry (calcined diatomaceous earth) to anchor plants. "Any old K/L will not do, as some of it is prilled bentonite and will turn to a slimy clump of clay as soon as it's wet.

For the rest, I can't offer anything but a guess, so I won't offer more.


NE, KS(Zone 5b)

X & Rob,
I've read Lotus do NOT like water movement - no pump is necessary.. but you would need to add dunks or something to prevent mosquitoes.. I grew a mini one summer in a small preform WITH a very small pump running and they did fine. I've seen them growing in yards, "dug-in" in containers like a big dog dish (or livestock feeder bowl?).. As far as the hardiness, depends on the kind you have, I think there are ones hardy for you... I think you could winter a tender one over inside... but I think everything COULD be overwintered inside here in zone 5.. lol Thanks for the litter info, Al.. I've used the cheap clay kind at $General and it seems fine, stays loose but holds plants down.. so must not have bentonite in it.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks! I was at the dollar general store today and they have some really cheap plastic tubs. I'll probably go for that.



I grew a lotus in an old butter churn. I used top soil and it did wonderful. Even bloomed the first year. It may have been beginners luck but more than likely the lotus is pretty tough.

This message was edited Sep 12, 2009 8:32 PM

Thumbnail by seray53
Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

That is so cool! The real question is how deep does a pot have to be for lotus?


Not too deep. I was concerned that this churn was too deep but went for it anyway. I bought it from a lady who grows them in a feed buckets. Maybe a 2 - 3 feet deep. Ebay. LOL The tuber was healthy and ready to go. Here's the bloom.

Thumbnail by seray53
Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Oh my .. that is just too gorgeous! Do they have a fragrance?

This was a dwarf variety. No fragrance that I remember. Some do I think.

(Zone 9a)

X, I have tried the KL and you definitely do not want to go there. LOL, what a disgusting mess.

I just dug the yuckiest of heavy clay soil from the garden and the lotus love that. You don't want to use anything peaty or with bark that would float. I used to start them in those black plastic pans used for changing you own oil, then set the whole shebang in a large decorative pot but nowadays I just start them directly in the pretty pot. The soil is just a few inches and the water is about 15" deep but lotus can do with less. They are heavy feeders but it is easy to poke a few pond tabs in weekly.

By adding a couple of oxignating plants and a few feeder goldfish and there will be no mosquito problems.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

I'm getting excited! Probably a bit too late to do anything now .. I'll just keep my eye out for a pretty pot! Clayey soil chunks I have. Nice to know there is actually some use for them other than chucking them at squirrels.


(Zone 9a)

If the pot you find has a hole you can plug it with a product with a silly name. I think it is UGH, and you can get it at the box stores.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

There is always aquarium sealer

(Zone 9a)

I am not sure they are designed for hot water and X's water will be 90+ next summer. We used to have an aquarium outside and I swear the sealer softened in the summer. Offgassing is another issue in the heat.

We sealed our fountain plug hole with a plumbing material. Plumbers pipe compound. Get's hot here too. Works great!

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

I'm making a list! and yes, aquarium sealer doesn't hold up very well under high heat.


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