With their broad, round, floating leaves and large, beautiful, multi-petaled flowers, water lilies make a beautiful addition to any pond or water garden and are relatively easy to propagate from seed. You can make crosses of water lily flowers yourself to try to create a new hybrid, or collect seeds that develop naturally without any assistance. Whether tropical or hardy water lilies, germinating and growing them from seeds follows the same procedure.
Collecting Water Lily Seeds
Place a plastic bag around a water lily seed pod and use a twist tie to hold loosely it in place.
Watch for the seed pod to rupture, releasing the seeds into the bag. They will float to the top of the water in the bag.
Collect the bag by cutting of the pod below the bag. Open the bag and pour the contents into a small bucket filled with water.
Examine the seeds and dispose of any that are white, tan or red. These are not viable. Save and separate any seeds that appear gray, green or black.
Keep the seeds in the bucket for a few days to allow the vegetative material surrounding the seeds to fall away and settle on the bottom of the bucket.
Remove the seeds from the bucket. Dry them on paper towels. These seeds can be germinated immediately after drying, or can be stored in the refrigerator for future use. Store seeds from hardy water lilies in water to maintain viability.
Planting Water Lily Seeds
Fill a water tight one-gallon container 1/4 way with soil. Pack the soil down and carefully add water to the brim, trying to disturb the soil as little as possible.
Distribute several seeds evenly across the soil. Cover the seeds with a layer of white sand to anchor them to the soil and provide a bright backdrop for examining for growth.
Watch for growth. When the seedlings have produced several small floating leaves, carefully remove them from the container and pot them individually.
Place the individual pots in a shallow pond in water that is deep enough to cover the pot completely. Allow these water lily plants to grow out to maturity.