If you want a decorative indoor garden that is also carefree, with no worrying about how much water to give, inexpensive, no special soils to buy or prepare, intriguing, because root systems are fascinating things, then read on, because water gardening is for you.
It is easy and almost foolproof, for when you become a hydroponic gardener and raise all your plants in water, the major cause of plant failure (improper watering), is totally removed. Wondering whether you have given too much or not enough water will never again be a problem, because however much it takes to fill your container is right.
The ease of maintenance is a principal reason for growing a water garden, but there are many more. For instance, your choice of containers is extensive, almost anything that will hold water will do. Antique glass bottles and apothecary jars, both clear and opaque are suitable, as are containers made of plastic or most metals. The only metals that cannot be used are lead, copper and brass, because they react chemically with the water and fertilizer and can damage the plants.
If you use clear glass, you will be intrigued by the various root systems, both bizarre and beautiful. And, of course, you will have a never-ending supply of plants on hand. Another reason that makes water gardening desirable is that pests (which may eventually infest your plants no matter how careful you are) are much easier to get rid of. The little critters are a chore to wash off a soil-bound plant, but not so with a plant that can be removed from its container, showered and scrubbed and replaced without a fuss. For the same reason, dust and dirt can easily be dispensed of as well.
Water.. Due to the vast number of chemical processes that municipal water systems are subject to, it may be a good idea for you to test the acidity of your tap water. (Fresh rain water and snow are excellent sources of plant water). Most ordinary plants prefer a neutral water with a pH factor between 6 and 7. If your tap water has chlorine, it will be better to remove it. Allow a tub of water to sit for a day or 2, then skim off the chlorine that has risen to the top. Do not use water that has been softened by a home conditioner. The balance of minerals has been greatly altered, and plants will not do well in it.
Fertilizing...Water soluble fertilizers that are commonly sold in plant stores work well in supplying the nutrients the plants need. Prepare a large amount at one time, a gallon or two, using one-quarter to one-half the amount on the label. Always use a weak solution. With all fertilizers, less means more, it is far better to under feed them. This is the solution that you will use every month when change your plants water. In between times, when you are replacing evaporated water in the plant's container use clear, unfertilized water. Otherwise there will be a build up of chemicals that may damage your plant. One last word, always use tepid water, when first planting and watering.
Charcoal is necessary to keep the contents of your container sweet-smelling. A few pieces placed in the bottom will keep the water fresh and clean. It should always be present in the container. Marbles and gravel or stones may be needed to anchor the roots of a new plant to support it until it develops enough roots to support itself.
New Plants...Stem cuttings or leaf cuttings are ready to go directly into water. Plants potted in soil have to be removed from the pot, and the soil washed away from the roots. After the roots have been carefully and gently cleansed, place the plant in its new container, spreading the roots, so that the plant remains upright. It may be necessary to balance the plant by placing some gravel, marbles or stones on the roots.
Once-a-month attention...Every four weeks or so, empty the water solution and be ready to replace it with more of the same. Scrub the container well, using a bottle brush if needed to reach the inside parts. Replace the charcoal. Trim away any dead roots before replacing the plant in the container.
A short list of some plants that do well in a water garden;
Plants that thrive in the shade;
1)...Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonems speices). For areas that do not get much light, they thrive almost anywhere.
2)...African Evergreen (Syngonium speicies), also called arrowheads, these climbing vines will grow in low light locations.
3)...Dracaenas. A lot of dracaenas love to grow in water. To name a few, corn plant (D. fragrans massangeana); gold-dust (D. godseffiana).
4)...Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia species). Nicknamed the mother-in-law plant because a piece of the stem placed in the mouth will make a person speechless and cause pain temporarily.
5)...English Ivy (Hedera species). There are dozens of these ivies that will flourish in water. They trail profusely and are the plants of the 'ivy covered walls' of song and story.
6)...Hawaiian 'Ti' (Cordyline). The good luck plant is the other name for this attractive tropical native.
7)...Philodendrons. A wonderful group of plants that grow well just about anywhere.
8)...Pothos (Scindapsus). This trailer has beautiful variegated leaves, and needs warmth to thrive.
9)...Piggyback Plant (Tolmeia). Compact plant that produces babies at the base of its leaves.
10)...Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus). Hang this plant high so that its rapid growth will be appreciated.
Plants that need sun for a few hours each day, but not the burning rays of mid-day summer sun;
1)..Bloodleaf...(Iresine). The sun shining through the deep crimson leaves of this plant will cast a magnificent rose glow to the room.
2)...Coleus. Coleus means color, for it comes in hundreds of color combinations.
3)...Wandering Jew (Trandescantia). Not only does this plant have exotic foliage of greens and purples, it is probably one of the most prolific grower in the plant world.