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Waterlilies 101

Waterlilies 101

Listed below is some of the basic information about waterlilies and how to grow them.

1.) Hardy Waterlilies

Hardy waterlilies have been found throughout the world in different countries and climates. They are distinguished from other plants by their characteristics. Large, flat, leathery lilypads that float upon the surface of the water with flowers forming and blooming on, or slightly above the surface of the water. They grow horozontally from rhizomes that grow in mud a few feet from the surface of the water. "Eyes" along the rhizome produce new crowns. Hardy waterlilies can withstand cold winters and survive if placed below the freeze line in the winter. Nymphea Odorata was one of the early hardy waterlilies identified in America. Colors of hardy waterlilies range from white, pink, yellow and changeable autumnal. Hardy waterlilies can be stellate shaped or cup shaped. All hardies are day bloomers.

2.) Tropical Waterlilies


Tropical waterlilies are found throughout the world in warmer climates. Tropical waterlilies cannot survive in cold temperatures. They are distinguished from other plants by their large, leathery, toothed or scalloped lilypads that float on the surface of the water, as well as their flowers that form buds and flowers that float on the surface of the water or on stems, slightly above the surface of the water. Tropical waterlilies grow from a single central crown. In colder climates,tropical tubers must be removed from the pond and stored indoors over the winter. Colors include white, pink, yellow, autumnal, purple and green.Tropical waterlilies can be day blooming or night blooming.

3.) Night Blooming Tropical Waterlilies




All Night Blooming Waterlilies are tropicals. Night bloomers come in pinks, reds and whites. The flowers are exquisite and the lilypads on a nightbloomer are green, bronze-green or mahogony and have toothy edges. Most bloom late in the evening around dusk and close the following morning between 9 and 11 am.


4.) Hardy Hybrid Waterlilies

Hardy hybrid waterlilies come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. The most desirable traits are often crafted into the these intersubgeneric hybrids giving us colors that were once impossible to achieve! An example of this would be the new hardy purples that  have been hybridized recently, such as Siam Purple #1, Siam Purple #2, Queen Sirikit and Violicious. Color variations of hybrid hardies are almost endless, from pure- white to creamy- white as in Snowflake, Denver and Albatross,  every shade of pink from the lighest pink to vivid, color intense, hot pink as in Pink Sparkle,  and Fuchsia Pom Pom, hybrid waterlilies. The reds are amazing from light rose- reds to almost black, burgundy- reds and amazing red-reds, as in Manee Red, Black Princess, Perry's Baby Red and Perry's Super Red. The yellows are magnificent in shades of light yellow to the sunnier shades of Sulpherea, Joey Tomacik, Texas Dawn and Chromatella.



5.) Hybrid Tropical Waterlilies



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tropical Hybrid Waterlilies come is beautiful, rich, vivid shades. Some excellent pink hybrids are Hilary, August Seibert, Maroon & Pink and Queen of Siam. Purple Tropical Hybrids include Rhonda Kay, Plum Crazy, Director Moore, Morada Bay, Ultra Violet and Tanzanite. Reds include Bulls Eye, Scarlet Flame, Miami Rose, Tropic Punch and Doris Holt. Yellows include Yellow Dazzler, Ineta Ruth and St. Louis Gold. Whites are Marian Strawn, Crystal, Avalanche and Rhapsody in White. 


Planting Hardy Waterlilies


When planting hardy waterlilies, use heavy loam soil, (top soil and clay mix) if using a granular fertilizer, mix in recommended dosage into the top soil and clay mixture. Use a 2 gallon pot or a wide shallow pot, such as a kitty litter tray. Never use potting soil as it will float right out of the pot.Tamp your container gently to help remove any air trapped in your container. Place your hardy waterlily tuber at about a 30 degree angle on top of the soil with 2/3 of the tuber in the soil and the growing tip protruding above the top of the soil. Gently and slowly, place your container in the pond in a sunny location, 6"-2' beneath the surface of the water. More shallow water for newer plants, deeper depths for established plants. Fertilize monthly with fertilizer spikes, plant tabs or granular fertilizer.


Planting Tropical Waterlilies


When planting Tropical Waterlilies, fill your 2 gallon container or kitty litter tray with heavy loam soil (part top soil-part clay) and the recommended dosage of your slow release granular fertilizer. Fill pot 3/4 of the way and add your tropical waterlily spreading the roots and allowing the crown of the plant to rest evenly with the soil. Never cover the crown, as it needs sunlight for proper growth. Cover the roots with soil and keep the crown exposed. (Some people add a small rock on top of the roots to keep the plant from floating out of the pot, if you do this, remember to remove the rock once the plant is established, never cover the crown of the plant with a rock as you may kill it. Slowly and gently tamp your container to remove any air and place your potted, tropical waterlily 6-30" beneath the surface of the water. The more shallow depth for newer plants, deeper depths for established plants. Fertilize monthly with fertilizer spikes during the growing/blooming season. 






All Waterlilies are heavy feeders. Make sure you fertilize your waterlilies with a slow release granular fertilizer, fertilizer tabs or fertilizer spikes. Your waterlilies should bloom often throughout the summer if they are being fed, are in full sun and if they are in a container that is large enough.  Waterlilies should be divided every couple of years. 



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