to Care for Water Lilies & Other Aquatic Plants
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
Plants in the Pond
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.)
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.)
Dividing and Repotting Hardy
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.
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
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.
(A Porous Fabric Pot is shown at left, these
come in multiple sizes)
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.
are hardy and should come back year after year.
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 small pot.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. 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 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.
Plant Hardiness Zone Map