How to Identify Water Lilies

Most people who have a water garden or pond in the backyard have at least one water lily. The water lily is the queen of the garden and shows her flowers during a long blooming season from spring to late fall. The bloom times are determined by the length of daylight and the temperature of the water. We choose our water lilies depending on our climate and our love of the colors of the water lilies. All water lilies bloom during warm weather and have approximately the same fertilizing and trimming needs. A flower opens each morning and closes each night for about three days, then dies. A new flower is usually on its way before the first one dies. Often up to a dozen flowers can be open at once. Lily pads can live for a month before they need to be trimmed off. The outer ring of pads need to be trimmed monthly. Just pinch the pad off near the pot and put it in the compost heap. Water lilies come in different types, colors, bloom times and hardiness. To identify a particular water lily, there are a few things to look for.


How to Identify Water Lilies

Step 1

Enjoy your water lily. A hardy water lily has a bloom that is within 2-3 inches of the top of the water. All water lily blooms stick up out of the water, but the hardy stays the closest to the top. Usually the hardy water lily has a smaller bloom than the tropical water lily. Hardy water lilies can be found as high as 12,000 feet and endure all types of weather. If you live where the winters are cold, your hardy water lily will survive your winter weather and come back in the spring ready to enjoy for another summer.

Step 2

Smell the aroma of the tropical water lily. We all love tropical water lilies. Their colors are vibrant. Their flowers tower 6-8 inches above the water and move delicately in the slightest breeze. Their fragrance envelops the garden and thrills us all summer long. Tropicals have huge blooms in every possible color. Tropical water lily flowers open every morning and close in late afternoon. Usually before one flower dies after about three days, another is opening, so you are not without a water lily flower during the summer.

Step 3

The day blooming water lily's flowers open each morning just about the time you are leaving for work and close about the time you get home. So you enjoy your day bloomer on weekends.

Step 4

Enjoy water lily blooms all the time. Consider the night bloomer. Even more beautiful than the day bloomer, the night bloomer opens just before twilight. The night bloomer needs to be in at least 5 hours of direct sunlight daily and prefers even more than that, but it rewards the water gardener with luscious blooms nightly, so you don't have to wait until the weekend to enjoy your water lily.

Step 5

Your aquatic nursery can help you pick out the right water lily for your pond. Some are small enough for a small pond. Others are huge and cover the surface of a large pond in a few weeks. Ask before you buy to get the right lily for your pond. If you live where winters are cold, confine your choice to hardy water lilies unless you are willing to buy new ones each spring. Tropical water lilies love hot weather, but will not do well when the temperatures dip below 55 degrees F.

Tips and Warnings

Feed your water lilies an aquatic plant fertilizer at least every two weeks. Remove dead vegetation before it can foul the water. Raccoons and turtles love to eat water lilies. Do not put turtles in your pond. Use a raccoon deterrent if you have raccoons living near you.

Things You'll Need

Water lilies

About this Author

This writer has been at the writing craft for over 50 years from long before computers or even electric typewriters. Now retired from her day job she spends retirement hours writing for online sites.

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