Tropical water lilies are very easy to grow, and their
blooming season is usually from May lst until a killing frost
in December. They come in a wide variety of colors,
including some varieties which bloom at night. A well grown
plant will have several flowers open every day of its eight
month blooming season, and each flower lasts three days.
SUNLIGHT Water lilies must have a minimum of five
hours direct sunlight in order to bloom heavily. The more
sun, the better.
WATER Lilies require a minimum of six inches of
water over the soil level in the pot; larger lilies can take
8 or 10 inches depth of water; water does not have to be
circulated, and quiet fountains will not harm the
SOIL Any heavy garden soil is
suitable, but no peat moss, bark, or other floating
materials should be used.
FERTILIZER Water lilies must be fed from May lst
through Sept. 1st. Pondtabb pellets, made just for lilies
and pond plants, should be used for lilies - 1 or 2 tablets
every two weeks.
FISH If you have fish in your pond, cover the soil
of your water lily pot with heavy pieces of broken slate or
shingles, so fish cannot dig up plants.
ALGAE Green water is often a problem in full sun
and well fertilized plants; do not use chemicals to control
the algae . . . it will likely kill your lilies. Instead,
encourage a healthy growth of submerged plants like
Anacharis, one bunch per square foot of surface area, which
will help starve out the algae. Some floating hyacinths or
water lettuce will also help, but watch that they do not get
out of control.
MAINTENANCE To keep the pond looking good, remove
yellowing leaves and spent flowers every week. If an
individual lily spreads too much, you can remove the outer
ring of leaves to reduce the overall size of the plant
without affecting flowering. If aphids appear, hose them
into the water each morning to provide food for your fish.
Caterpillars can be picked off by hand.
PESTS There area number of animals which feed on
water lilies, and if any of these are present in sufficient
numbers, they will destroy the plants: ducks, turtles,
nutria, crawfish; Japanese Koi over 9 inches are also
WINTER Tropical water lilies are considered annuals
and are often replaced every spring However, in extremely
mild winters they will often survive and begin to grow again
in April, at which time they should be fertilized and
repotted. Another method is to remove the container to an
area where the temperature is a steady 55 - 60 degrees,
cover with damp sand for the winter, and replant in April.
This is successful about 60% of the time.