Why Won’t my Water Lily Produce Flowers?

Why Wont my Water Lily Produce Flowers?

People often ask me,  why wont my water lily produce flowers? This is a question that I am frequently asked, but the good news is, it’s a question that can be easily answered.  By going through the check lists below you should find an answer that will rectify any problem you may have, thus resulting in plenty of beautiful Water Lily blooms all summer long.


Pot Bound Problem

Water Lilies grow from tubers/rhizomes.  These rhizomes need free growing space in order to flower.  In a natural clay-bottomed pond, this is not a problem as the rhizomes will have endless space to spread just under the clay bottom of the pond or lake.  However, in man-made preformed or lined ponds, we tend to grow Water lilies in Aquatic Baskets that come in all sizes to suit any size Water lily rhizome.  If your Water Lily out-grows the Aquatic Basket it will usually stop flowering in the end. This is due to the rhizome being compressed/restricted against the inside of the basket, and a tell-tale sign is a distorted shaped basket.


Divide and re-plant the growing end tubers/rhizomes every 2 or 3 years. Simply cut about 2 inches of the growing end or 6 inches growing end depending on Water Lilies size. Re-plant with the cut end pressing against the side of a Round Basket or the corner of a Square Basket.  This may seem strange as it appears we are only planting into a small corner of the Basket, but it does actually make sense as the Water Lily will then have plenty of room in which to branch out and grow.

Lack of Nutrients

Established natural and man-made ponds have plenty of nutrients in the form of rich silt that has built up over the years from decaying dead leaves and fish waste.  However, in restored, cleaned-out and new ponds there will be no silt, so therefore, will have no nutrients.


Fish waste/excrement makes an excellent base. This is because it is full of rich nutrients which are an essential ingredient for a good display of Water Lily flowers.  If you have a wildlife pond but don’t have any fish, try adding some aquatic plant food. We have a few different options available to buy at Lilies Water Gardens from our website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk

Lack Of Sunlight Or Too Much Shade

Water Lilies flower best in full sun.  However, you will still get a good display of flowers if the pond is situated in dappled light, or even if the pond is in full shade for just part of the day.  If your pond gets less than five hours of sunlight a day or is in a dark, sheltered position, you may get very few or most likely no flowers at all.


Consider the site and position of your new pond before excavation.  For existing ponds, cut back over-hanging foliage and branches that might be creating too much shade. Always position Water Lilies in the sunniest corner or area of your pond.

Planting or Positioning Too Deep

It is a misunderstood myth that Water Lilies favour deep water.  Whilst certain large growing cultivars will grow happily in five foot of water, the majority of cultivars are best suited to eighteen inches to three foot of water at the most.  But if you grow/position them in even shallower water, they will thrive and flower all summer long,


For best flowering results, position your planted Water Lily Baskets in water that is twelve to eighteen inches deep. This is measured from the top of the basket to the water surface.  Water Lilies growing in deep water will often not produce any flowers, or if they do, the flowers themselves will drown before reaching the surface of the water.


Please visit my website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk to see our full range of over 750 pond plants and water garden plants. We also have all the pond planting accessories required to bring your pond to life all summer long.

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