Floating Islands are a great choice for adding marginal plants to parts of your pond that are otherwise too deep for anything but waterlilies. They also give you a chance to get creative with your planting displays as you play around with different types and arrangements of plants in your island.
Planting your own floating island is easy – and you can be as simple or ornate with your plantings as you’d like. Here are some guidelines to get you started on the right foot:
At a Glance: How to Plant a Floating Island
- Pick your island size.
- Choose moisture-loving plants.
- Plant your pot with aquatic potting media.
- Choose a location in your pond or container.
Step 1: Pick Your Size
Floating Islands come in sizes ranging from a 4-inch pot diameter all the way up to 16-inch. Which size you choose will depend on the kinds and number of plants you want to add to your creation. Bigger plants need bigger islands to prevent them from tipping over.
Here are the island sizes we have at Splash for 2019:
- 4″ Deluxe Floating Island: $7.98
- 8″ Deluxe Floating Island: $15.98
- 12″ Deluxe Floating Island: $43.98
- 16″ Deluxe Floating Island: $53.98
Step 2: Pick Your Plants
Next is the fun part: picking plants for your potted paradise.
You want plants that can tolerate moist-soil/shallow-water conditions. The marginal plants we sell on our plant tables at Splash are perfect for the job because they’ve been raised specifically to thrive in this kind of environment. You can also experiment with adding terrestrial plants to your island, but there’s no guarantee they’ll hold up as well as their aquatic counterparts.
As far as specific varieties of plants, our plant expert at Splash offers this advice: Choose what you love. The only aquatic plants that won’t work in an island are ones that need deep water (i.e. waterlilies) and ones that are so tall they’ll tip over in the wind. Anything else is fair game. Have fun with it! You’re the one who has to look at it, so pick whatever you think will bring you joy.
One popular island-planting strategy is to place taller, focal-point plants in middle, surrounded by lower, groundcover plants on the edges. Creeping plants that spill over the sides are especially great for Floating Islands because they can hide the island’s foam ring. Again, though, how you plant your island is completely up to you. Experiment with different plants and arrangements – and maybe even throw in some small lawn ornaments – until you find something you like.
Still at a loss for where to start? Here are some plants we’ve used in our islands:
- Creeping Jenny
- Golden Creeping Jenny
- Blue Moneywort
- White Creeping Mazus
- Blue Creeping Mazus
- Water Pennywort
- Variegated/Crystal Confetti Pennywort
- Red Rotala
- Star Grass
- Society Garlic
- Variegated Society Garlic
- Chameleon Plant
- Mini Horsetail/Dwarf Scouring Rush
- Red-Stemmed Parrot Feather
- Carolina Yellow Jacket Pitcher Plant
- Dana’s Delight Pitcher Plant
- Yellow-Eyed Grass
- Blue-Eyed Grass
- A Small Bald Cypress Tree
Step 3: Plant Your Pot
Planting your Floating Island is as easy as putting dirt in the pot and plants in the dirt.
Use a soil specifically formulated for aquatic plants. Regular potting soil is too loose for use in water and will just wash out through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Pond potting media also has nutrients that help moisture-loving plants thrive and is dense enough to give the plants’ roots a place to take hold.
We never block off the island’s drainage holes with anything other than aquatic soil. If you’re worried about dirt getting into your pond, however, you can place a coffee filter at the bottom for added peace of mind.
Step 4: Choose Your Location
You did it! You have a beautiful island potted to perfection.
Now where do you put it?
Like most other things with Floating Islands, where your put your masterpiece is totally up to you. Plop it in the middle of your pond, stick it in a patio bowl or just float it in a decorative pot filled with water.
If you choose to place your Floating Island in your pond – which most people do – just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t end up blocking your skimmer or the top of a waterfall. You can always anchor your island to a rock at the bottom of your pond to keep it from wandering.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Congratulations! You have a living piece of art all your own. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy.