How to grow water lily

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Country: Pakistan
City: Lahore
Gardening Interests: Climbers, fragrant plants, drought tolerant plants, container plants
Location: Lahore, Pakistan

How to grow water lily

Post by khabbab »

There are not many plants which you can grow in hot climate in full sun whole summer. Water lily is one of them. The flowers are the most beautiful in the flora kingdom and they are easy to grow too.

There are two types of water lilies.
1- Hardy
2- Tropical

Temperature Requirements
Hardy ones can tolerate cold but they lack the exotic colors combinations found in tropical water lilies. In those areas of USA and Europe where winters are cold, hardy water lilies are grown while in mild winter climates, tropical ones are grown. Tropical do not tolerate cool temperatures hence must be put in greenhouse in winter as per micro climate. Direct full sun is required for good blooms. All the day keep in direct full sun for good flowers. In winter, keep it in a green house or at least cover with plastic. In Lahore, i put it under plastic sheet for only one month

Pot Requirements
Note that the tuber of water lily spreads horizontally instead of vertically so depth of pot does not matter, width of pot matters. The roots will spread horizontally side ways.
There are 2 ways to grow water lilies in pots:
1- Grow in a pot and submerge the pot under water either in a pond or in a another large pot filled with water. So that there is at least few inches water above the soil level. For young plants, it can be few inches, for older plants it can be 1 feet, 2 feet or as adjustable. Water lily has the capability of stretching its leaves under water automatically according to water depth. The advantage of this technique is that it is easy to move/shift your plants. The downside is that tuber grows in restricted space.

Although space required by tuber depends on cultivar of water lily but i have grown water lilies even in a small basket and it flowers even there so for 1 or 2 flowers, small space is enough. For more flowers more space.

If you are placing your V-shaped pots inside a large round pot, then you must put around 6 inches of hard soil or gravel on the bottom of the larger pot so that you get an even surface to place your small pots on.Otherwise the pots will fall on each other.

2- The second technique(which i am using) is grow your tubers directly inside the pot and fill this only pot with water. Normally gardeners choose round pot because tuber does not like square pot, it needs to spread its root on its sides which is easy in round pot. so put soil layer at the bottom of the pot. Thickness of soil layer depends on pot size and plant size. Normally 1 feet is enough for a very large container. The point is that the tuber must be between the soil and the bottom of pot. So very large tuber you need thick layer soil. The advantage of this technique is that your tuber has good root space but downside is that to shift to another space you need to shift the whole pot or put the tuber out from soil and then re-pot in another one.

Soil Medium
Say NO to porous or light soil. Only clay soil !!!! The soil which is light and will be dissolved in water will not do the job. No leaf mold, no cow dung manure, nothing else just plain soil.

They are heavy feeders. Give them liquid soluble fertilizer but in half strength. I fertilize my large pot every month 1/3 strength NPK 20-20-20 but i will also try 5-15-45 because the high one in potash should increase the blooms.

Planting tuber
Tuber must be placed inside the soil but not very deep. Just an inch below soil is fine. I have planted just below soil and it is growing good. But do not plant it very deep. Try to plant it on a 45Degree angle as the tuber will grow horizontally although i never tried that. I always plant tuber in the middle of the round pot and i can see the roots on all sides.

Propagation method
If you get tuber that is great. I recently received some tubers from Kew (UK) as gift and they were in vegetation which means they can be dispatched long distances with no problem. Those tubers were in small plastic bag with NO WATER. But the they were moist. Remember, the tuber is very tough and survives drought. But you must keep it moist if dispatching which is not very difficult. Just dip it in water and then wrap it inside plastic. That is all.

The other way is growing from seed which is very easy as well. The seeds need few inches water above them. So fill a pot soil. Then fill it with water. Let the soil settle down. After a day or two when you can see the soil clearly, just drop the seeds on the water. Mostly they will drown themselves, if not make them drown with your hand:). Once they fall on the soil with water above them that is all. After few days they will start sprouting. You can shift them to individual pots after they grow strong.

.....To be continued
Lahore gardening blog
Muhammad Arif Khan
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Joined: April 14th, 2011, 1:01 pm

Re: How to grow water lily

Post by Muhammad Arif Khan »

Do continue
I plan to grow them in a 45 feet diameter fish pond which is three feet deep.
May be I should use large plastic tubs submerged with a layer of stones on top of clay.
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City: Karachi

Re: How to grow water lily

Post by mazhar.qureshi »

Muhammad Arif Khan wrote:Do continue
I plan to grow them in a 45 feet diameter fish pond which is three feet deep.
May be I should use large plastic tubs submerged with a layer of stones on top of clay.
I suggest you research your fish's feedign habits before puttign any plants in your pond.

Do NOT put plants unsheilded in any water body containing Koi or Goldfishes as these fishes love feeding on fresh plants and will rip your plants within minutes. If you want to keep them, then either keep your fish well fed throughout the day, else protect your plants by putting them in a pot then submerging that pot.
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Joined: July 30th, 2012, 4:32 pm
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City: Jhelum

Re: How to grow water lily

Post by hrgpk »

I have water lily plants in pots, which are not submerged in water. They do bloom in hot summers but flowers remain for a couple of days. I planted some plants where our water tank releases excess water. These plants are more stronger greener than their counterparts in dry pots.
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