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. This kind of display is easily achievable in our own back garden ponds too by simply following a few simple steps so you too can create the perfect growing conditions in which they will thrive in.
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 or, large sized gravel that is poured on far too thickly without the person realising that it will seriously impede the growth of their Water Lily making it a real struggle for it to grow. Aquatic Gravel should only be used 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 there is a recommended water depth of 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, it’s calculated from the substrate to the water surface. All that considered, Water Lilies will always grow faster and display more blooms in water that is more shallow. Shallow 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, but in baskets, the growth spread will become restricted. 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, so always 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 as 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 fed from the fish waste, but 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 my why is my Water Lily not growing or flowering. Often an image of their planted Water Lily will be sufficient enough for me to answer the question. Some of the images I have seen are Water Lilies that have 60-90 percent of its rhizome and roots exposed because the aquatic soil has been washed out of the baskets due to the movement of water. Water is always moving in some way or other and even if you don’t have a pump or any fish, the water molecules will move anyway due to the waters temperature change. My advise is, if you are planting into Aquatic Baskets, it is always essential that you line the baskets with hessian or cloth liners as Aquatic Baskets have holes in and will let the Aquatic Soil slowly seep out.
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 miss-leading 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. It is therefore, an important factor to 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, though for best results, I recommend that you plant at a 45 degree angle.
Please visit my website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk 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.