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How to grow Water Lilies for Maximum Blooms

How to grow Water Lilies for Maximum Blooms

We have all seen established Water Lilies in village ponds, parks and gardens displaying dozens of vibrant majestic blooms at any one time throughout the summer months.  By following a few simple steps, we can easily achieve this kind of display in our own back garden ponds too. In other words, we just need to create the perfect growing conditions in which they will thrive. This article is a guide on how to grow water lilies for maximum blooms.

1)  Don’t Cover Your Aquatic Baskets With Large Stones Or Gravel

This is an issue that I have identified many times.  People send me photos of their Water Lilies which they have lovingly covered in a layer of pebbles, with some up to 3 inches across. Otherwise, the issue might be large-sized gravel that is poured on far too thickly. This will seriously  impede the growth of their Water Lily making it a real struggle for it to grow. Only use Aquatic Gravel to discourage inquisitive and playful Koi Carp, or as a decorative finish. I only recommend using 1 cm maximum of 4-6 mm aquatic gravel.

2)  Don’t Plant Your Water Lilies Too Deep

Another mistake people often make is lowering and positioning their planted Water Lily containers far too deep down under the water. For example if the recommended water depth is 30-90 cm, the water depth is the distance between the top of the Aquatic Basket to the water surface. However, if planting  into a natural clay bottomed pond, we calculate from the substrate to the water surface.  All that considered, Water Lilies will always grow faster and display more blooms in shallower water. This is due to the fact that shallower water is warmer and lighter, so a water depth of 30 cm will give much better results.

3)  Don’t Let Your Water Lilies Become Pot-Bound

This is not a issue when planting straight into natural clay bottomed ponds. In contrast, baskets will eventually restrict the growth spread.  A tell-tale sign of pot-bound Water Lilies is when the basket becomes distorted or the Water Lilies have stopped flowering altogether.  Water Lilies dislike intensely having their rhizomes trapped or constricted. It is therefore a good idea to divide and re-pot your Water Lilies every few years or even plant on into larger containers.  A handy hint is to plant the Water Lily rhizome in the corner of the aquatic basket with the growing tip growing inwards. This allows plenty of container surface area for your Water Lily in which to grow and spread.

4)  Feed Your Water Lilies

In a natural pond Water Lilies grow in rich black silt that is high in nutrients and made up from decaying aquatic foliage, fish and water fowl waste and dead and decaying pond life.  However, in a man-made pond, there is often a lack of sufficient nutrients to promote healthy Water Lily growth.  If you have lots of fish in the pond, your Water Lilies will get nutrients from the fish waste. On the other hand, if you don’t have any fish, then it is important to feed your Water Lilies with Aquatic Plant Food. Click here to see our range of Aquatic Plant Foods.

5) Always Line Your Aquatic Baskets With Hessian Or Cloth Liners

This is another issue I frequently encounter.  I often get enquiries asking me why a Water Lily is not growing or flowering.  Often an image of their planted Water Lily will be sufficient enough for me to answer the question. I have seen images of Water Lilies with 60-90 percent of their rhizome and roots exposed! This is because the aquatic soil has washed out of the baskets due to water movement.  Water is always moving: even if you don’t have a pump or any fish, the water molecules will move anyway due to temperature changes. Moreover, Aquatic Baskets have holes in and will let the Aquatic Soil slowly seep out. My advice is to always line the baskets with hessian or cloth liners.

6)  Correct Planting Method

I have read many articles and information in books stating that Water Lily rhizomes should be planted with the growing tips exposed slightly above the aquatic soil.  This information seems to be quite misleading, as there are 5 basic types of Water Lily rhizomes that are differently shaped.  Water Lilies send out their roots from the stem joints where the stems and rhizome join.  Always make sure the base of the leaf stems are planted below soil level!  It is essential to make sure that you bury the whole growing tip 2-4 cm below soil level and then you can’t go far wrong.  Some rhizomes actually like to be planted upright and some almost flat. However, for best results, I recommend that you plant at a 45 degree angle.

So now you have all the information you need on how to grow water lilies for maximum blooms.

Please visit my website to see my full range of over 250 Water Lilies and all the planting accessories required to keep your Water Lilies flowering throughout the summer.