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Easy Container Water Gardens

Make one of these miniature water gardens in just minutes.

Pint-sized charmers

Provide a colorful counterpoint to a rough-texture stone container by adding leafy rosettes of water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), white water snowflakes (Nymphoides indica) and tiny Azolla fern.

A splash of color

Add color to enamelware with floating fern (Salvinia minima) and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an easy-to-grow water plant.

What happens to your tabletop garden in winter? In the Midwest, most water plants are grown as annuals. Some water plants can be overwintered indoors in an aquarium or in containers of wet, sandy loam; check with your local garden center for information specific to your area and the plants you have.

Floating trio

Set a trio of small floating plants--water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), water poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides) and oval-shape Salvinia--in a square pot. Even without the occasional yellow poppy blossoms, the composition boasts an interesting mix of pleated, shiny rounded, and tiny oval leaves.

Feathery beauty

Combine four floating plants in a striking glass bowl: trailing parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), round-leaved frog's bit (Limnobium spongia), fan-like water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and red-tinged Azolla.

Most water plants spread very quickly, so you may only need to buy one of each for your small garden. If you need to thin fast-growing plants from your container, be sure not to put them in natural waterways, where they can become invasive.

Glazed garden

This glazed terra-cotta pot sprouts a garden of two color of hardy water canna, dwarf papyrus and tropical pitcher plant.

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