Try a Garden Aquarium

by John Tullock

Could you use some relief from the winter weather right about now? No time or budget for a trip to some tropical paradise? Maybe what you need is a garden aquarium, tucked away somewhere in a gloomy corner of the house, to bring a little brightness and greenery into your life.

Our garden aquariums are built in three sizes, each with an attractive bow front that is half the height of the other three sides. When outfitted with one of our matching LED lighting units, plant grower base, a few rocks and some wood, the tank becomes the perfect home for an array of tropical foliage plants and flowers. Pictured here, the 18-inch garden aquarium features baby’s tears (a terrestrial plant, not the one we grow in planted freshwater tanks), parlor palms, and other hardy tropical species. Well-stocked garden centers will have many more choices for your garden aquarium. Just make sure the plants you select like the same moisture level and won’t grow too large for your winter garden.


Other good plant choices include small ferns, mosses, African violets, streptocarpus, flame violet, and an array of succulents. If you are new to growing houseplants, ask for help at your garden center. Most independent garden centers have knowledgeable people on staff who can answer your questions and help solve problems.

Water your garden aquarium thoroughly, but sparingly. You don’t want to flood the soil, only to keep it slightly moist. For plants from arid climates, even that is too much water. That is one of the advantages of the garden aquarium: most set-ups can go at least a week, and often much longer, without watering.

Our grower base provides sufficient plant food for the first three months. After that, fertilize the garden aquarium with a soluble liquid plant food, applied sparingly along with regular watering, about every six months.

The LED lighting unit should be on for 6 to 10 hours daily. Start with 6 hours and see how the plants respond. You don’t want them to grow so vigorously that they quickly outgrow the space available. Too little light, on the other hand, will result in pale, yellowed foliage and stunted growth.

With a small investment and minimal effort, you can create a miniature indoor garden that will delight you throughout the cold, gray days of winter. Properly maintained, your garden aquarium should thrive all year round.