How to Look After Water Lilies

Overview

Water lilies are a flowering pond plant that creates beauty in the pond along with assisting the water ecosystem. The plant will spread across the surface as it grows and helps keep the algae level down by absorbing green matter in the water. The lilies also offer shade to pond fish during hot summer days. Water lilies are available in tropical and hardy varieties. Hardy lilies are able to grow in the pond all year long, including the winter in most cases. Tropical lilies are sensitive to cold and must be removed during the fall and winter seasons.

Tropical Water Lily Care

Step 1

Plant tropical water lily plants in aquatic plant pots and place in a 15 to 20 quart pond tub once the water has stabilized at 69 degrees F or higher. Make sure the plant tips have 6 to 18 inches of water over top.

Step 2

Use heavy potting soil that is free of compost or manure to plant the lily.

Step 3

Place the lily plants in a pond area that does not have fast-moving or splashing water.

Step 4

Fertilize tropical lily plants two times a month with an aquatic fertilizer. Remove dead or yellow leaves from the plants before they sink to the pond bottom. Trim stems close to the rhizomes as often as possible.

Step 5

Protect tropical lilies from frost. Replace the lilies each spring or move to a greenhouse to over winter as long as the water temperature is maintained at 69 degrees F or higher. Trim the foliage, repot in fresh soil and fertilize through the winter.

Hardy Water Lily Care

Step 1

Plant hardy water lily plants in aquatic plant pots or directly on the pond bottom in early spring once the weather starts warming. Plant the lilies in a pot or pond hole that is 6 to 8 inches deep.

Step 2

Use heavy potting soil that is free of compost or manure to plant the lily. Plant hardy lily seed in a pot that is filled one-third full of soil with the seed placed on top so the tip is just peeking through.

Step 3

Place the lily plants in a pond area that does not have fast-moving or splashing water.

Step 4

Fertilize the hardy lily plants two times a month. Remove dead or yellow leaves from the plants before they sink to the pond bottom. Trim stems close to the rhizomes as often as possible. Stop fertilizing in early fall when growth slows down.

Step 5

Lower the lily containers in winter before the water ices over as the plant will survive if it is below the ice level. Remove lilies in areas where the plants can't be lowered or the ice is too thick. Place the lilies in a pan, cover with a damp cloth and seal in a plastic bag to prevent drying. Keep the lilies in a cool location during the winter season.

Things You'll Need

  • Aquatic plant pots
  • 15 to 20 quart pond
  • Heavy potting soil
  • Greenhouse
  • Aquatic plant fertilizer
  • Pan
  • Damp cloth
  • Plastic bag

References

  • Water Lily, Hardy Water Lilies, Tropical Water Lilies
  • Water Lilies: Care Guide
Keywords: growing water lilies, tropical water lily care, hardy water lily care

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.