Friday, July 23, 2010

Why are my water lilies brown?

Hi, I have a koi pond and my water lilies are turning brown. My koi are doing very well. My water is very clear. I use Barley in my pond. Can you give me some advice.

Thank you, Mike R.

Hi Mike

Lilies grow best in water that is 18"-30" deep. If planted in water that is too shallow the leaves will dry out. In the correct water depth and during the growing season, water lily leaves will turn brown and then will produce new leaves again. Lilies do go dormant in the fall and then come back again in when the weather warms in the spring time.

Lilies need to be fertilized in the spring and summer. In order to produce new leaf growth and flowers, lilies need to be fertilized once per month with 2 good quality fertilizer tabs throughout the season. If the wrong fertilizer is used or if fertilizer is used incorrectly this will burn the leaves and the entire plant.

There are not any pests that can turn the leaves a brown color. The most common pest is the garden slug and snail. This is evident by the nibble marks on the leaves. Koi will also munch on the water lily pads, but I do not think this is why the leaves are brown.

Try taking your lilies out of the water to make sure they are not rotting for some reason. This is evident by a pungent smell. If this is the case then repotting is needed.

Garden Blessings, :-) GAiL

Please visit my website!


Shon And Sedona said...

A bit off subject, but you are one beautiful pond plant girl Gail.

Reed said...


I am having a similar problem. I am new to lillies (although my parents in cold European climate grew them without any worries and one would think i would get some idea from them..)..

My new lilly came with rather large leaves, however, the leaves that regrow are smaller and smaller before they rot away. Not sure what the problem could be. It is about 30-40 cm deep in a wine barrell with a liner, got few fish in there that are doing well. Gets about 2 hours of direct sun and about 6 of filtered sun most of days.There is a little bit of algae in the pond, but not a huge amount. What could be the problem??

Thanks for any adivce!!

David Wayman said...

Started water Lillie's in a bucket some leaves turned brown due to not enough water I'm guessing , should I trim brown leaves before I put in pond , then ferterize ?