There are about 50 wild species of Water Lilies that grow naturally and come from all corners of the world, from the northern hemisphere to the tropics. It’s those species that have given birth to a spectrum of colored Water Lily hybrids that are readily available to purchase today. This is all thanks to pioneers such as Joseph Bory Latour Marliac, who in the early 19th century, hybridized over 70 varieties of hybrid Water Lilies. For over the last 100 years and even up to this present day, more collectors have dabbled in cross pollination, but the vast majority of this hybridizing has overall been more successfully achieved in the more tropical climates such as, the USA and China.
Tropical Water Lilies
There are now thousands of different types of tropical Water Lily hybrids that have been cultivated in hotter climates, and they all come in different sizes. Some are Day bloomers and prefer to bloom whilst basking in the hot sunshine, whilst others, are Night bloomers and prefer to bloom under the cover of darkness. The Night bloomers are naturally scented as an evolutionary creation to attract any passing night flying insects and moths. Tropical Water Lilies are available in a huge variety of colors including a rather large and impressive range of blues and purple’s. Unfortunately though at present, the hardy varieties are not available in the blues and purples, but there have been a few breakthroughs recently, so this could be on the horizon in the future. Being an avid collector of all varieties of Water Lilies can be rather challenging at times. My nursery (Lilies Water Gardens) is situated in the UK which regrettably, cannot guarantee a good run of sunshine, even throughout the summer months. However, if I were living in a much warmer tropical climate, I’m sure I would by now, have an even more impressive collection.
Hardy Water Lilies
The hardier varieties of Water Lilies are available in a spectacular range of colors, from reds, to pinks, yellows, whites, peaches, creams and all of the shades in between. I’m sure if it were possible to list all the named varieties from all over the world, we would be talking about well over 1000 cultivars. As with the tropical varieties of Water Lily, the hardy varieties also come in all sizes. Some, like Pygmaea Helvola, have minute blooms and leaves the size of a penny that sit on the water surface while others, have scented blooms that can measure up to 20 cm across with 40 cm wide leaves that can stand up to 30 cm out of the water.
Here at Lilies Water Gardens, we have a very large and impressive collection of Water Lilies with over 250 cultivars, making us very proud to be able to say, that we have to date, the biggest collection in the UK. All of these varieties are available to buy on line or from our retail nursery.
We always take great care when choosing our plants and I only stock what I would call, ‘Garden Worthy Plants’. This in essence means, that all the varieties I have carefully collected over the years, have been carefully chosen specifically for, their color, scent, size, flowering season and general overall performance. We also stock smaller varieties of Water Lilies that are ideal for growing in patio tubs and the larger growing varieties for large clay-bottomed ponds and lakes.
Come visit our Nursery on line or in person and be amazed by the variety of Water Lilies and other aquatic plants and flowers we have to offer throughout the season. We are sure to find the one that’s just right for you.
To see over 100 articles on all aspects of water gardening and the wildlife fresh water attracts, please visit our website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk