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Driftwood Water Garden

An engaging aquatic landscape.

This dynamic duo consists of two tall cylindrical vases, each holding a single piece of driftwood mounted with Java fern and Java moss. The ferns and driftwood are visually grounded with the addition of a few Japanese river rocks at the base of each vase. (You can find Japanese river rocks at garden shops or online.) You could use Anubias nana or Anubias barteri in place of the Java fern and Java moss. Java ferns and Java moss have low light needs, but they do require warm water. Their ideal temperature range is between 68°F and 82°F. If you do not have an ideal environment you can use a heat mat or lighting to maintain the water temperature.

I used manzanita driftwood. Mopani is also a popular driftwood, but any hardwood will work. Only use driftwood sold for use in an aquarium—wood used for reptiles or terrariums, such as grape wood, will rot in water.

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MATERIALS

  • 2 pieces of driftwood (A)
  • 2 tall cylindrical vases (B)
  • River stones (C)
  • Clear monofilament fishing line (D)
  • 2 Java ferns (E)
  • 2 pieces of Java moss (E)

TOOLS

  • 2 small plates or other objects that will fit on top of the vases
  • Scissors (F)

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Place the driftwood in the vase.

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Fill the vase with water.

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If the wood is buoyant, place a plate on top of the vase to hold the wood down. Leave the driftwood in the vase until it’s waterlogged and the water is clear. Change the water every other day. On average it takes from one week to a month to season the driftwood. Once the wood is cured empty the vase. Put enough water to fill the vase in a jug or watering can and let them sit overnight. This will bring the water to room temperature and allow the chlorine to evaporate.

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Place a few river stones at the bottom of the vase.

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Cut a 6-inch length of fishing line.

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Loosely attach the Java fern and Java moss in the crook of the driftwood with the fishing line. Double knot the fishing line and cut any excess off. When the fern and moss attach to the driftwood the fishing line can be removed completely.

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Place the driftwood with attached plants back in the vase.

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Fill the vase slowly with the water that was left out overnight. Repeat these steps for the second vase.

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WATER

Change the water in the vases weekly using room-temperature water.

LIGHT

Bright indirect light is best; direct sun will encourage the growth of algae.

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TEMPERATURE

Keep the water between 68°F to 82°F.

FERTILIZER

Use aquatic plant fertilizer.

MAINTENANCE

If algae forms on the vases gently clean it from the surface.

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