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Water is life and a source of joy. You can easily have your own oasis by adding a mini pond to your balcony. You can create this little aquatic gem quickly and cheaply, and it will be a real eye-catcher.
Always start by asking yourself where to put your mini pond. Then move on to thinking about containers, layout and design. So where should you put your first mini pond? From day-to-day planting in flower boxes or pots on your balcony, you know that it depends on what plants you're putting in. Because some plants need plenty of light, others appreciate the shade. It's the same when it comes to mini ponds. However, water adds another element, in the truest sense of the word. And for balcony gardeners, water brings new rules into play.
Although plants in mini ponds do need light, there should only be a very minimal amount. And this is mainly because of the water. If the water heats up too much, we run the risk of algae growing excessively. This reduces the levels of oxygen and upsets the biological balance in your little biotope.
It should therefore be placed in a semi-shaded location which receives direct sunlight for two to three hours per day. A pond pump should be used to enrich the mini pond with oxygen and to keep the water circulating. A fountain or a similar water feature does the same job. You will need a wall socket close to hand for this.
… or in (almost) any other type of container. The most important factor is that the container fits into the chosen location. A second crucial point: it must be absolutely water-tight. If you're not sure about whether it is water-tight, carry out a little test. Fill your preferred container to the brim with water and let it stand for a long period of time. If nothing runs out, then it is a suitable refuge for aquatic plants. You can seal any leakages with silicon.
The container for your mini pond needs to be big enough; the more space there is for water, the more stable the biological balance. As a rule of thumb, provide a capacity of approx. 40 litres or above to be on the safe side. This does mean that your mini pond will be rather heavy. The location and container should be suitably robust.
Fortunately a lot of places have just the thing. Containers made out of plastic, ceramic, glass, metal (stainless), clay or concrete are a suitable refuge for a mini pond. The current trend is for sawn wine casks, which add a particularly rustic effect. Specialist shops now sell specific small-scale products for your little oasis. Beware of zinc tubs. The metal can dissolve in water and slows the growth of plants. You should therefore line zinc tubs with plastic film or pond liner.
The decisive factors for planting are location and container. Nevertheless, we can make some general recommendations irrespective of these decisive factors. Eligible candidates are those that feel most at home when the level of the water is between 5 and 50 cm. They shouldn't be fast growers, neither should they sprawl too far across the pond, because they could cover the surface of the water. This would make your mini pond lose its character. This would also happen if you were to plant lots of plants in the pond. Three to four plants should normally be enough.
E.g. grasses, aquatic plants, marsh plants and floating plants which stay small over the long term are particularly suitable. This does actually exclude pond plants such as bur-reed and bulrushes, reeds and sweet flag. But you can also buy these in miniature version and plant them happily. Ideally you should have a mix of tall and short plants as well as plants which thrive above and below the water. Garden centres are the best place to get information about layout. Here is a selection of suitable plants for inspiration:
You need the following ingredients in addition to the plants and the container: Pond soil, pebbles, bricks, plant baskets that are permeable to water, fleece and, finally, water of course. But first things first —
Still waters run deep and are a popular breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure water pumps around constantly (using a pond pump) to prevent these little pests from laying their eggs. But water lilies don't like this. If you've got water lilies, the only thing you can do is buy a chemical product from a specialist to discourage female mosquitoes.
Replace the water on a regular basis. You must do this more regularly if you've got smaller rather than larger containers, in which the biological balance is better maintained. Refill water more regularly in summer because it evaporates.
Don't put any fish in your mini pond. Their excrement threatens the biological balance. Apart from that, they can only thrive in a "real" pond.