The weather has been nice around here and the forecast looks pretty good. So this weekend I dusted up my plastic barrel and my ‘coming back to life’ canna and water lily planters. Ya, it is time to bring back my watergardens of yesteryears.
Out of the two water lilies that I had, one started showing some life back in April and I started watering it regularly as it stayed in my garage. No, this is not the right way to winterize water lilies or cannas. I decided to be extremely lazy and just bought the water lily pots inside the garage in fall while the canna stayed out under our deck. You are supposed take the tubers out of their pots, dry them, and store them in paper bags in a cool dark place. I just had some serious case of good luck with the mild winter; the canna and one of the water lilies survived. Actually, the other water lily too would have survived had I noticed the leaves popping out. I didn’t, so didn’t water that one. It looks all dried up now. I’m sure that leaves hadn’t sprouted a few weeks ago. So I’m hoping for more good luck, that these will sprout back to life soon. Let us see.
On close examination it looked like the canna pot had some rot issues. The roots were way too thick to pop the plant out of the pot. So I cut the pot out (another advantage of using cheap nursery pots in your water garden), tried to salvage the healthy parts of the plant (the pile on the left side), and replanted it in a new pot.
Then the ‘plan as you go’ side of me came up with an even more lazy bones idea. What if the water lily in the second pot didn’t sprout back? I had planted 3 elephant ear bulbs (the small variety) in a pot on our deck a few weeks ago and decided to dig up a bulb and plant it in the second pot over the water lily. Just in case as a back up (not a great idea, will tell you why in a bit).
The weather is not warm enough to add fish to the tank. So I’ll have to go with the trusty old mosquito dunk, that were left over from last year. As I used regular garden soil (potting soil is way too light) I weighed it down with small rocks/stones that I found around the yard.
Time to fill ‘er up. While the water was filling up I noticed that the second pot was dancing around. So I had to lean it against the wall of the planter and push the other two pots against it to keep it still. Once the dirt soaks up all the water you should be fine.
Fill the planter all the way to the brim and even more……let it overflow for sometime. There will surely be some wood chips or dirt that floats on the surface. When you let it overflow anything that floats on the top will flow out naturally and you will be left with clean water.
See the mosquito dunk floating on the top? I’ll take it out when I add the fish in a few weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best. Worst case scenario, the lily in the second pot will rot and I will have to take the pot out and transplant the elephant ear into another one. Let’s see, I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too.
So what did I do differently from last year?
Last year I had 2 lilies, an aquatic canna, and a few floaters. I tried my luck with water lettuce and water hyacinths. Both survived but never got big or flourished.
This year I have a water lily, a canna, an elephant ear, and I’m hoping for my second lily to come back. No floaters this time. I think the elephant ear with its big leaves will add the necessary drama to the water garden. Plus the light color will contrast well with the dark green/purple leathery water lily leaves. Here is a quickie update on where we are 3 weeks and one month later. Looking good…
Inspired to create your own container water garden yet?
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