Water Lilies

Water Lilies - Nymphaea

Water lilies are the jewel of any pond.

The leaves shade the water helping to reduce algae and providing shelter for animals and help protect fish from predators such as herons.

Lilies prefer full sun, if planted in part shade, flowering will be inhibited. They do not like moving or splashing water. They should be planted away from fountains or the fountain should be turned off when not being viewed. If water continually splashes on the leaves the leaves will die back.

Lilies should be planted at least 10cm below the surface to protect the crown from ice. See the individual label for specific variety details as they do vary, but lilies should typically be planted 30 - 100cm below the water surface. If lilies are planted too shallow the sun’s heat will encourage vigorous leaf growth which will reduce flowing or the flowers may be hidden by the leaves. If they are too deep growth will be slowed as the crown will be cooler. Excessive leaf growth can be trimmed, ideally remove the old leaves that are on the pond surface to make space for the new leaves that rise above the surface to settle down.

Lilies can be placed directly in the pond in their mesh basket. However to improve their performance you can plant them into a larger pot. Depending on variety, 10 litre pots will encourage lilies to continue flowering for in excess of five years while 30 litre pots will increase flowering for in excess of 10 years.

The only native lily is Nymphaea alba. However nearly all lilies would look perfectly at home in even a wildlife pond and most other varieties flower much more freely than Nymphaea alba.

Have you got everything you need before you leave?

Marginal plants – provide shelter, a breeding ground and remove nitrates
Oxygenating plants – provide essential oxygen
Floating plants – provide shade, shelter and remove nitrates
Lilies – provide shade & shelter
Aquatic baskets and aquatic soil for the above
Snails – Ramshorns eat algae on the sides of a pond, Trapdoor snails eat algae on the bottom

Be Plant Wise

Please protect our environment. No plants should be disposed of in the wild as even native ones placed in the wrong location may cause environmental damage. Compost them or take them to your local refuse centre. For more information please see Non Native Species Secretariat