Information on Lily Pads


Lily pads add green accents to a water garden. The leaves seem to float freely atop the water, but they are actually attached to the water lily plant's tall stem below the surface.


Don't position your lily pads near a fountain or other water feature that could constantly drench the leaves. Lily pads need to stay as dry as possible on their upper surface to allow the entire plant to breathe.


Hardy water lilies have pads with smooth-edged leaves, while tropical lily pads have serrated edges. Both type of leaves have waxy upper surfaces.


The green lily pad leaves carry out photosynthesis for the water lily plant, providing it with the nutrients it needs to survive and grow.


Lily pads provide oxygen to fish and other aquatic life in a pond or water garden. By limiting the light that reaches the bottom of the pond, they help keep algae from growing.


Plant enough water lilies to allow the pads and flowers to cover half to three-fourths of the pond's surface. You should pot the water lilies before placing them in the water.


  • Extension: Water Lilies for Your Garden
  • Texas A&M Extension: Water Gardening
  • Naturia: Water Lily

Who Can Help

  • Tips for Growing Water Lilies
Keywords: lily pad, water lily, hardy, tropical

About this Author

D.M. Cameron was a journalist and editor for wire services, newspapers and magazines for more than 20 years. In addition to editing and ghost-writing non-fiction books, Cameron now writes for several websites and trade journals. Cameron's degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State.