The Pond Plant Girl Store
Water Lily Planting Instructions
Water Lily is easier to grow than most may think. An important rule to remember before planting any aquatic plants is that large fish (such as koi) and turtles will destroy your plants and eat them down to a nub. Therefore, water lily and other pond plants must be protected from destructive pond life. Water depth may be 18 inches to 5 feet deep. The prime depth for water lily is 2 feet deep. For best flowers, full sunshine is a must.
Natural Earthen Ponds: If planting in a natural earthen pond straight into the ground under the water, pot your lily in a biodegradable container, such as a cow pot. See www.cowpots.com . The water level should never go below 18” deep. So, if planting in a natural earthen pond, be certain to plant at a level where the water will still be deep in the summertime. Pot your lily and simply drop it into the water. Even if the water is 5 feet deep, the lily will continue to grow until it reaches the water surface.
Container Ponds and Water Gardens
Pot your water lily in a 1 or 2 gallon no-holes container. Place aquatic fertilizer at the bottom of the container and fill container with loam. The crown of the lily may be slightly exposed. Tropical Water Lily must be planted at the edge of the pot with the growing tip pointing toward the center of the pot. A slight 45° is recommended (slight angle) but is not an exact science. So, do not worry about exact measurements. Hardy lily may be planted at the center of the pot. If you are not sure if you have tropical or hardy, a good rule is to plant your lily tuber at the edge of the pot like a tropical water lily.
Over Wintering Tropical Water LilyIf you are in a cold region where your pond freezes solid, it is best to over winter your tropical water lily indoors. Here is a link from my water garden expert and friend that will help you succeed: http://www.oregonaquatics.com/Overwintering%20tropical%20lilies.pdf
Potting LoamA perfect recipe for potting loam is 1 part decomposed granite (DG) and 1 part bagged steer manure. Keep in mind that water lily are big feeders. However, too much fertilizer or too much steer manure and the lily plant will expel the unneeded nutrients in the water; which may cause added algae growth. DG can be purchased at any sand and gravel yard. I do not recommend purchasing bagged aquatic plant medium. It is far too expensive and is also too light weight and will make a mess. If you do not have access to DG, I am happy to ship it to you at cost in a flat rate mailer.
Growing Large Lilies
To produce large lily plants and large flowers you must have a pond that is at least 3 feet deep. Use a dark colored 20 gallon Rubbermaid tub (such as black or dark blue). Place a generous amount of fertilizer at the bottom of the container. Fill with potting loam and carefully sink down inside the pond. The pot will be very heavy. So, you will need 2 or 3 people to help sink a large potted lily.