How to Stratify Water Lilies


Water lilies are aquatic perennial plants that open beautiful blooms throughout the summer. New plants most often spring up from the tubers rather than seeds of water lilies. The seeds of most species of water lilies have a thick coat that makes it difficult for water to permeate to the seed to start the germination process. Seeds have to go through a scarification and stratification process in order to germinate. Stratification is the process of replicating winter conditions for the seed so that the seed comes out of dormancy when it is time for it to be planted.

Step 1

Chip the side of your seeds with a knife to break the hard seed coat. Rub your file over the area you chipped loose on each seed until you see the white fleshy inside. Be careful to not chip into the fleshy inside with the file.

Step 2

Fill a glass with hot water, but make sure the water is not boiling. Put your seeds in the glass of water for 24 hours. Your seeds will begin to swell when it is time to take them out of the water.

Step 3

Add soil to a plastic sandwich bag so that it equals triple the amount of seeds you have. Press your seeds into the soil mix so that they are covered well.

Step 4

Add just enough water to the soil in the bag to dampen it. Place the bag in the refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 months. Check the soil in the bag each week to make sure it remains damp. Remove the seeds when you are ready to plant them.

Things You'll Need

  • Water lily seeds
  • Knife
  • File
  • Glass of hot water
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic sandwich bag


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Keywords: growing lilies, growing lotus lilies, seed stratification

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.