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5- Water lilies  :


A guide to  Water lilies :

What is Water lilies

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Water lily, (family Nymphaeaceae), any of 58 species in 6 genera of freshwater plants native to the temperate and tropical parts of the world. Most species of water lilies have rounded, variously notched, waxy-coated leaves on long stalks that contain many air spaces and float in quiet freshwater habitats. The stalks arise from thick, fleshy, creeping underwater stems that are buried in the mud. The showy, fragrant, solitary flowers are borne at or above the water surface on long stalks that are attached to the underground stems. Each cuplike flower has a spiral arrangement of its numerous petals.


The flowers of most species have many stamens (male reproductive structures). Some flowers open only in the morning or in the evening to attract insect pollinators. The fruit is usually nutlike or berrylike. Some fruits ripen underwater until they rupture or decay, and the seeds then float away or sink. Some water lilies also have submerged leaves. All members of the family are perennial except for the genus Euryale, an annual or short-lived perennial found only in Asia.





The genus Nymphaea makes up the water lilies proper, or water nymphs, with 46 species. The common North American white water lily, or pond lily, is Nymphaea odorata. The European white water lily is N. alba. Both species have reddish leaves when young and large fragrant flowers. The leafblades of N. alba have a deep, narrow notch. Other species of Nymphaea have pink, yellow, red, or blue flowers; many kinds are of hybrid origin. The lotus of ancient Egyptian art was usually the blue lotus (N. caerulea). The Egyptian lotus, N. lotus, has toothed leaves and long stalks that rise above the water’s surface to support white flowers that bloom at night and stay open until midday.


The genus Nuphar, with about 10 species distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, includes the common yellow water lily, cow lily, or spatterdock (Nuphar advena) of eastern North America. The yellow water lily has submerged leaves that are thin and translucent and leathery floating leaves.

The largest water lilies are those of the tropical South American genus Victoria, comprising two species of giant water lilies. The leaf margins of both the Amazon, or royal, water lily (V. amazonica, formerly V. regia) and the Santa Cruz water lily (V. cruziana) have upturned edges, giving each thickly veined leaf the appearance of a large, shallow pan 60 to 180 cm (about 2 to 6 feet) across and accounting for its common name, water platter. The fragrant flowers of Victoria have 50 or more petals and are 18 to 46 cm (about 7 to 18 inches) wide. They open white toward evening and shade to pink or reddish two days later before they wither, to be replaced by a large berrylike fruit.

Water lilies provide food for fish and wildlife but sometimes cause drainage problems because of their rapid growth. Many varieties have been developed for ornamental use in garden pools and conservatories. Two aquatic families related to the water lilies are the water shields and the fanworts, making up the family Cabombaceae. Nymphaeaceae and Cabombaceae are members of the water lily order, Nymphaeales.

How to Grow and Care Water Lilies


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The water lily (Nymphaea) has been casting its spell on humans for thousands of years, enchanting even the earliest civilizations. This mysterious beauty rises from the deep, leaves floating serenely on the surface, exquisite blossoms appearing as if by magic. Once the province of grand palaces and public gardens, the water lily is finding its way to the home garden.
Learn more about water lilies.


While water lilies appear delicate, don't let their exotic aura fool you. These flowers are as tough as they are beautiful. Water lilies grow well in any USDA hardiness zone.


Water lilies can be grown in a tub on the patio or in ponds of any size. They grow from tubers planted in pots beneath the water and send up stems with rounded leaves and star-shaped blossoms that float on the surface.


Hardy lilies are dependable and easy to plant -- a good choice for the beginner. Daytime bloomers, they blossom in the morning and close after sunset, lasting three or four days before sinking beneath the surface. The flowers appear from spring to fall, blooming in all colors except blues and purples. Hardy water lilies go dormant in winter and may be left in the water or stored. Tropical water lilies, which bloom in more exotic colors, take a little more care but are well worth the effort. Their flowers are larger and more prolific. Night-blooming varieties have vibrant, almost electric colors. Tropical water lilies require a water temperature above 70 degrees F, and tubers must be removed from the pond in winter.


How to Plant Hardy Water Lilies:

1. Use a container that is wide and shallow. A good size is 12 x 18 inches wide by 6 x 10 inches deep. The tuber, which is similar to the rhizome of an iris, grows horizontally. Containers may or may not have holes. If there are drainage holes, line the pot with burlap to keep the soil in the container. Soil that leaches out can cloud the water in your pond.

2. Use a heavy soil intended for use in the garden, not a fluffy potting soil that will float out of the container. Avoid soil mixes with perlite, vermiculite, or peat for the same reason. Enrich the soil with aquatic fertilizer pellets made especially for the task. Push them into the soil before you plant.

5. Cover the soil with a layer of rock or pea gravel to keep the soil in the pot.

4. Plant the tuber against the side of the pot, with the growing tip pointing upward -- about 45 degrees -- and toward the center of the pot.

6. The planted pot should be lowered into the pond at an angle to allow air to escape. Set the the base of the pot 12 x 18 inches deep. The leaves will float to the surface. If the pond is deeper than 18 inches and doesn't have built-in planting ledges, support the pot.

3. Remove old leaves and thick, fleshy old roots. Leave only emerging leaves and buds and the newer, hairlike roots.


How to Winterize Hardy Water Lilies:


Begin getting your hardy water lilies ready for winter by removing all dead and dying foliage. If the pond freezes solid in your climate or is drained for the winter, remove the lily, pot and all. Store the entire pot by keeping it cool and moist in a plastic bag. If you can't store the whole pot, remove and clean the growing tuber and store it in peat moss at 40 to 50 degrees F.


If the pond doesn't freeze solid, don't remove the pot. Simply lower it to the deepest part of the pond, where water will not freeze.


In spring, bring the pot back to the proper growing level in the pond. If you've dug up and stored the tuber, repot as if it were a new plant.


Tips for Clear Pond Water :



  • Don't overfertilize plants; you'll feed the algae that turn pond water green.

  • Don't overfeed the fish or have too many fish for the size of the pond.

  • Remove decaying vegetation.

  • Make sure 60 percent of the pond is shaded by lily pads or other plants.

  • Keep water well-oxygenated with aerators, fountains, or waterfalls.

  • Don't kill algae with chemical treatments; that will hurt plants, fish, and beneficial bacteria that live in the pond.

Where to Get Water Lilies:

  • Local water-garden-society sales

  • Mail-order catalogs

  • Other gardeners; lilies are easy to divide and propagate for trading

How to Care for Water Lilies & Other Aquatic Plants

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We recommend planting aquatic plants in Fabric Pond Pots or no-hole plastic containers (see the "Plant Supplies" section of the shopping cart) to minimize maintenance. Use a heavy clay loam (not potting soil) or a packaged soil specific for aquatic plants. Using the wrong type of soil can cause numerous problems. Most aquatics require at least 5 hours of direct sunlight for optimum growth. Do not cover the growing point of water lilies with soil or gravel. (You may also find our article on Potting Aquatic Plants; Choosing Soil and Pots helpful.)

Placing Plants in the Pond

Tropical Water Lilies


Day and night blooming- tropical water lilies should be planted in pots at least 10" in diameter (a smaller container will result in a smaller plant). A 10 to 14 inch fabric pot (or 10 x 6 to 12 x 7.3/4 inch plastic pot) should suffice for each lily.  Fill the pot 1/2  full with a loam garden soil and add 2-4 fertilizer tablets, then continue to fill the pot to about 2 inches from the top. The tuber should be set upright with the roots buried gently in the soil. Make sure the tip of the tuber is not buried. Next, add an inch or two of pea gravel or sand in order to prevent the soil from escaping from the container. Remember to keep the gravel away from the crown of the tuber. The plant can now be lowered into the water to a depth of approximately 6 inches over the crown of the water lily. As the plant grows, it can be lowered to a depth of 12 inches. tropical water lilies cannot tolerate cold temperatures and should not be planted until the water temperature reaches at least 70 degrees. Planting too early can cause dormancy and restrict the potential growth of the plant. Tropicals bloom from late spring through early fall, depending on the weather. Fertilizer tablets should be added every 3-4 weeks. (See the "Plant Supplies" section of the shopping cart for aquatic plant fertilizer.) 



Dividing and Repotting Hardy Water Lilies 


Hardy water lilies should be divided every two or three years depending on the plant container size. For the average to large size water lily, a five to seven gallon container is ideal. The best container will be shallow and wide. Small water lilies can be potted in a three to five gallon container.



Hardy Water Lilies 


Hardy water lilies are planted in much the same way as the tropicals using a loam garden soil and 2-3 fertilizer tablets  Hardy lilies grow horizontally across the container so a wide pot is necessary for planting (a 14 or 16inch fabric pot is the best container). The rhizome should be planted at one edge of the container with the rhizome planted at an angle of about 45 degrees with the crown exposed. Top with an inch or two of pea gravel or sand. The plant can be lowered to a depth of 6 inches to begin with, and then lowered to a depth of 12 - 18 inches as the plant grows. Hardy lilies should be planted in early spring and should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks. They bloom from June through September depending on the weather, and become dormant during the colder months. As spring approaches, growth will begin again. (See the "Plant Supplies" section of the shopping cart for aquatic plant fertilizer.)



Begin by removing the soil from the water lily using a water hose to expose the rhizomes. Select the best looking piece with good growth showing and cut to about three inches long, discard the remainder of the plant. Trim away excess roots and any damaged foliage from the selected piece.If the water lily is to remain unpotted for any length of time, keep it in the shade with damp paper towels or newspaper covering the plant.

Prepare the container by filling about three fourths full of aquatic planting soil (clay loam is ideal) and add ten grams of a good fertilizer such as 10-20-10 for every gallon of soil.

Mound some soil against one side of the container and place the rhizome at a 45 degree angle with the cut edge against the pot and the growing point at the level the top of the soil will be. Add more soil to within a couple of inches of the top of the container. Firm the soil in place and add about one inch of pea gravel to cover the soil keeping it from covering the growing point of the plant. Gently add some water to the container and then slowly lower the plant into the pond.

If you place the plant just a few inches under the water for the first few weeks, you will get faster growth. After this, place the plant at the proper growing depth (12 to 18 inches of water over the top of the plant). Fertilize the water lily every month with the same amount of fertilizer during the growing season.

Lotus come in several sizes from dwarf types that will grow in a two or three gallon container to the standards which are better off in a twenty to thirty gallon container. Fill the container with the same soil that you would use for a water lily and fertilize with 5 to 10 grams of tablet fertilizer per gallon of soil. Place the tuber with the cut portion against the edge of the potting container. Place a stone on the tuber to hold it in place and add more soil but do not cover the growing point. Cover only with a couple of inches of water until the plant is growing well and then it can be lowered to several inches of water over the pot.Standard lotus that are planted in too small of a container will not bloom well. After the lotus are well established they can be fertilized every month during the growing season.


The Water Garden sells several types of lotus in our brick and mortar store but do not ship them because there is a large mortality rate. If the growing point is broken during shipping or planting then the plant is likely to die. Water that is too cold when the lotus is potted can also kill the plant.


Lotus are hardy and should come back year after year. 


Lily-like Aquatics
These plants grow similar to water lilies. They are rooted in a pot several inches under the water but the foliage grows to the surface and floats. Pot the same way as tropical water lilies except most are much smaller and only need a one gallon pot or an 8" x 10" fabric pot(see the "Plant Supplies" section of the shopping cart).Use one fertilizer tablet every 4 - 6 weeks. Lower the container to 6 to 12 inches of water over the top of the pot. Some of these are hardy and will winter over, others are tropical and are treated as tropicals.


Shallow Water Plants 
Marginal plants should be planted in individual containers of approximately 10 to 14 inch fabric pots (or 10 x 6 to 12 x 7 3/4 inch plastic pots). The marginal plants which are grown in 2 inch net pots should be planted without removing the net pot so as not to damage the roots. Plant as you would the lilies in a loam garden soil, but when adding fertilizer tablets, use 1 tablet for each gallon of soil. These plants should be fertilized about every 6-8 weeks. Marginal plants should be lowered to a depth of only 2-3 inches. They grow out of the water and are usually found at the water's edge.


These plants require no planting. Simply place them in the water and they will grow. Many floating plants desire tropical temperatures and cannot tolerate a frost.


Underwater Plants 
All ponds should have underwater plants to aid in maintaining clean and pure water. These plants help prevent algae growth. These plants can be potted in one gallon containers with pea gravel to hold them in place or they can be weighted and dropped to the bottom . Completely submerge these plants to a depth of at least 12 inches. 

Videos :

Adding a water lily to your pond

Care of Lilies : Planting Instructions for Water Lily Pond Plants

Care of Lilies : How to Plant Water Lilies in a Pond

Repotting a Hardy Waterlily With Ken Landon

"Waterlily Plantation"| Tutorial Video|Learn How to Plant Waterlily Plant in Pot

Water lily (Nymphaeaceae) growing in a pond

Water Lilies vs Lotus Water Garden Plants, Nymphaea vs Nelumbo

White water lily flower, nymphaea time lapse

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