Water Lilies - How and When To Divide and
While most of your ponds are slumbering in the dead of winter
right now, we're going to take a look at how and when to
fertilize and divide your water Lilies.
Normally a good time to do this would be in early Spring, once
the pond thaws out and things are starting to warm up a bit -
before your Lilies have started growing back too much.
Dividing water Lilies
Some people would recommend dividing your water Lilies every
year, but I don't think that's practical or necessary for most
people (unless your pond nut like me), but after awhile you WILL
have to divide your lily rhiozome as is outgrows it's current
or planting container.
A good way to determine if your water lily needs dividing is if
it's not blooming or producing nearly as many pads as normal.
What can happen is the root (or
rhiozome) has become so
overgrown that it has essentially run out of room in the pot,
can't effectively absorb nutrients to grow.
Fortunately, it's easy to remedy this problem - and you'll most
likely wind up with several new Lilies to plant, or give away to
The first thing to do is to remove the pot, and dig up the
rhiozome from the pot. Notice how the root has become twisted
and overgrown in this example here.
All you need to do in order to refresh and invigorate the plant,
is to either cut or break off and remove several sections of the
root/rhiozome to create a better root to soil ratio, letting the
root more effectively absorb waterborne nutrients.
As we see in the pictures below, you'll be left with several new
sections or baby lilies that you can then re-plant and grow into
new plants of their own..
In our next article, we'll take a look at how to fertilize your
lilies (new and old) to make sure they're ready for Spring and
Summer, and to make sure they'll keep blooming and growing all
Once fertilized, you're ready to
replant and put back in the
As we can see below, it's a good idea to add some more 'fresh'
soil (never potting soil), which I usually just dig up from the
yard. Adding fresh soil will usually re-energize the plant, and
give it some more room for it's new roots to develop. I
a good 2"-3" of new dirt right on top.
Similarly, with your new Rhiozome cuttings - plant them in a new
container with some fresh soil on the bottom, and then covered
some more fresh dirt (around 1" for new cuttings). You can see
here that I'm using a shallow planter for these, just to get
started. Once they start to grow again, I'll move them to a
deeper pot with more dirt.
I've also added some gravel on top, to keep you fish from
burrowing in the dirt (as koi are known to do), but only a thin
layer of pea gravel -- anything too deep will make it difficult
for the new lily pads to 'push' through.
On my existing lilies - I prefer to use the mesh bags for my
lilies. They seem to allow a better absorption on nutrients from
the pond water and I like the fact that I can cut holes in the
corners, and cable tie them over the dirt - to also keep the koi
from 'burrowing' in the dirt. You can find these at most
nurseries and water garden centers...
Not let's take a look at how to fertilize your water lilies...