Some water garden plants grow in containers submerged beneath the surface of the water. Others float directly on the surface. Yet others grow in moist soil around the edge of the pond. A well-designed water garden uses a combination of these types of plants.
Water lilies and submerged plants Water lilies and lotuses are the jewels of the water garden with their spectacular colorful blooms. Grow them in submerged containers. Place the water lily container so that it is submerged 6 to 36 inches below the water level. Permeable mesh pots or containers made of landscape fabric are often used for planting water lilies, although plastic pots work well, too. Avoid using regular potting soil -- it will float out of the container. Instead, use a good water-garden potting mix. Lotus needs a large container because its rhizomes spread rapidly.
Water's edge plants Plant varieties such as sweet flag, marsh marigold, lobelia, rush, pickerel weed, and cat tail, that have roots that grow in wet soil directly in the ground at the edge of a clay-lined pond. If your water garden has a plastic liner, pot the plants in plastic nursery containers and place them in the pond with just the base of the container submerged.
Floating plants Floating plants are the ultimate in easy-care gardening. There's no potting necessary -- just set them in the water, and they'll float on the surface. In warm-winter climates, some floating plants can become invasive, so check local regulations about which varieties you can grow.