How to Store Water Lilies in Winter


The starry blossoms of water lilies transform a pond from minor accent to garden centerpiece. Water gardeners can find water lilies in almost every size and color, both hardy and tropical. Hardy water lilies, with blossoms floating at water level, can withstand much lower temperatures than tropical varieties, which have blossoms that rise on stems above the water, but all types of water lilies need to be protected from freezing during the winter. A few simple preparations in the fall will ensure you have more beautiful blooms the following summer.

Tropical Water Lilies

Step 1

Remove tropical water lilies from your pond before the first frost. Trim the roots and cut off most of the leaves, leaving only a few main leaves and roots.

Step 2

Repot the trimmed lilies in smaller plastic pots. Use heavy soil designed for water plants.

Step 3

Place the water lily in an aquarium where the lily will be exposed to plenty of light. Keep the water temperature in the aquarium at about 68 degrees.

Step 4

When water temperature has warmed to 70 degrees in the spring, transplant the lilies to larger pots. Feed with fertilizer designed for water lilies and return to the pond.

Hardy Water Lilies

Step 1

Remove the water lilies from the pond after the first frost. Trim off any dead leaves and place the entire pot in a plastic bag.

Step 2

Store the bagged lilies in a dark, cool place where the temperature stays below 50 degrees and above freezing. You may use an old refrigerator, or choose a dark corner of a garage.

Step 3

Check the lilies periodically through the winter to make sure the pots have not dried out. Water as necessary.

Step 4

Return hardy water lilies to the pond when water temperatures reach about 50 degrees.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Tropical lily soil
  • Plastic lily pots
  • Aquarium
  • Plastic bags


  • Overwintering Tropical Water Lilies
  • Overwintering Hardy Water Lilies

Who Can Help

  • Water Gardening
Keywords: hardy water lilies, tropical water lilies, water garden

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.