Guest column: Ponds in pots create simple water features
Just because you have a small garden or outside space doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful water feature to admire.
Not only is it possibly the lowest maintenance gardening there is, but it also provides a focal point and you can’t over water the plants.
There are several varieties of aquatic plants you can choose from, but you will only need a few.
Three is plenty for an 18-inch or 24-inch tub or pot.
Underwater plants can be used in container water features but aren’t essential.
However, they do help in keeping algae at bay.
The pretty Water Violet is a British native plant with white-mauve flowers.
Floaters are also good algae deterrents and can have attractive flowers, although many can’t tolerate frost.
Frogbit is also a British native plant, with small round pale green leaves and small white flowers.
It drops down to the container base during winter.
Water lilies have leaves and flowers that float on the top of the water.
There are several dwarf varieties that are perfect for container water gardens.
Hardy water lilies that can tolerate frost tend only to flower in the daytime.
Rubra is a miniature water lily with small rounded leaves and slightly fragrant, cupped flowers that open deep rose- pink and then darken with age to deep red.
Pot ponds don’t have to be in full sun but you need remember that water lilies flower better if they get three to five hours of direct sunlight a day.
Choosing the right pot for your garden and for a successful water feature is essential.
If you are using a large-sized terracotta pot then you will need to plug the drain hole with a rubber or cork stopper and pond sealant.
Other water feature containers could be old Belfast basins, water troughs or half wooden barrels – they just need to be waterproof and leak free which is easy to achieve with a plastic liner.
A darker interior works better as it reflects less light back into the water so looks deeper.
Dark pots also absorb more heat which is good for plant growth.
You can plant several types of aquatic plants in one container but if the plants you choose grow better at different water depths then plant them on a brick or small upturned clay pot to raise them to the right level.
Aquatic plants can be fast growers so may need thinning out from time to time.
For a real wow factor, put three pots or tubs together in an arrangement to create your very own, unique water garden.