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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 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 by simply cutting about 2 inches of the growing end or 6 inches growing end depending on Water Lilies size, and 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 as 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 and we have a few different options available to buy at Lilies Water Gardens from our website

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 and always position Water Lilies in the sunniest corner or area of your pond.

Planting or Positioning Too Deep

It is a miss-understood myth that Water Lilies favor 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 and this is measured from the top of the basket, to the water surface.  Water Lilies that are grown 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 to see our full range of over 750 pond plants and water garden plants and all the pond planting accessories required to bring your pond to life all summer long.

Click here to read over 120 informative articles on all aspects of water gardening and the wildlife that fresh water in your garden can attract.