How to Create a Floating Planter

Updated July 13, 2018

Floating planters come in handy as part of large aquarium habitats or as decorative accents to backyard ponds and water gardens. Turtles and frogs love swimming under and sunbathing on floating planters, so they make a good addition to populated outdoor ponds. Even in unpopulated water gardens, floating planters rotate as they float to ensure that plants receive light on all sides. You can make a floating planter at home.

Select a wire basket suited to the size of the body of water you wish to float a planter in and the plant you'd like to grow. Pan-like baskets work well for this project. You can also use a solid, lightweight copper or aluminium pan for a floating planter.

Cut expandable polystyrene foam, or EPS foam, to the size of the wire basket. EPS foam is the buoyant white foam that disposable coolers are made of. You can find blocks of EPS foam at most craft stores. Using multiple pieces of foam works too, as long as it is tightly packed. Cover the entire bottom layer of the basket with foam, leaving about a third of the basket's depth for potting soil.

Fill the remaining third of the basket or pan with potting soil.

Add seeds or transfer a young plant to the potting soil.

Water your seeds or plant and float your new planter in a body of water.


Use a brass or copper basket for your planter as these materials help prevent algae. Plant lightweight or aquatic plants in the planter, such as baby tears, creeping plants, ferns, pennywort, moss, clovers or small flowers like water orchids or wax leaf begonias.


Don't weigh your planter down with pebbles, decorative garden rocks or other unnecessary elements.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire basket or pan
  • EPS (expandable polystyrene) foam
  • Knife
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds or young plant
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About the Author

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.