Planting water lilies in ponds is a great way to decorate your site. They are unpretentious in care and delight the eyes of the hosts and their guests all summer long. Let’s find out how to grow water lilies in a pond and what this beautiful plant needs.
Water lilies have many unique adaptations that allow them to grow in ponds and other wetlands. These include several characteristics of roots and leaves. Water lily stems, that connect floating leaves to roots fixed to the bottom, are usually longer than necessary for the floating leaves to reach the surface of the water. This extra length allows the plant to quickly and easily adapt to fluctuating water levels.
How Do Water Lilies Reproduce
Water lily propagates vegetatively by rhizomes, less often by seeds (with the help of fish that shake the plant upon contact).
How to Care for Water Lilies
One water lily bud usually blooms for three days. On average, up to six buds can bloom simultaneously on one water lily. The flowers of most water lilies open early in the morning and close with the last rays of the sun. If you want water lilies blooming around the clock, we recommend planting night water lilies at the same time as ordinary ones. For the full flowering, at least a six-hour sunny day is needed.
How to Fertilize Water Lilies
Usually, the water lily “wakes up” in mid-May. Leaves appear first on the surface of the water. It is at this time that it is worth carrying out the first feeding of the plant. This plant is very demanding on the composition of the pond water – it must be “living” water with a high content of trace elements. For feeding, you should buy special tablets for aquatic plants, which are usually used for feeding plants in aquariums. One tablet would be enough for one feeding procedure. In this case, you should crush the tablet directly into the ground, and not just throw it into the water. You can also try to make homemade fertilizer for water lilies, which is rich in nitrogen and potassium, which saturate the flower with maximum brightness and contrast.
Such procedures should be carried out at least once a month. It should be remembered that such feeding actively affects not only the growth of the plants but also seaweed, so you need to select the dosage of fertilizers carefully. In autumn, when the sunny time of the day is reduced, the flowers bloom extremely reluctantly, and their buds, as a rule, are smaller. At this time, feeding the plant should be stopped. This would allow it to hibernate in time.
How to Propagate Water Lilies
The easiest way to get another water lily is to divide the rhizome into 2 or more pieces. The breeding procedure is best done in the spring after wintering or during the next transplant. To do this, you need to remove the rhizome from the container and divide it into several parts so that each has 2-3 buds and several thin roots. The seedlings should be placed in separate containers and placed in a pond in shallow water, and as they grow, transferred to the desired depth. You can also grow a plant from seeds.
How to Grow Water Lilies from Seed
Water lily seeds are similar in appearance to coffee beans, but they are somewhat larger. Check the seeds for damage before planting. Only a whole and not expired seed can turn into a plant. As for the shelf life – water lily seeds can be stored for up to 5 years. For germination, it is enough to place the seeds in a transparent container with settled water, pouring a two-centimeter layer of sand on the bottom. The sand should cover them. Use soft water, preferably not from the mains as it causes irreparable harm to the still immature plant. Place your container in a warm and well-lit place.
Following all these rules, you would be able to observe the first leaves in 5-7 days. The leaves of the plant should always be on the surface of the water. Therefore, when your flower grows up, you should transplant it into a deeper container. If you have several seedlings, then each should have its container.
The best time to move plants to a permanent reservoir is the end of May.
How to Propagate Water Lilies from Leaves
Such a propagation by flowers and leaves is called viviparous propagation and you can do it in your pond if you have the right variety. Cultivars capable of viviparous reproduction include N. lotus, N. micrantha, N. “August Koch”, N. “Bluebird”, N. “Charles Thomas”, and many other different types of day-old or hardy water lilies. To do this, you need to look for unusual growths on the plants. These should be small knots, indicating that the sprout is growing and that it is time to start breeding. There is no need to wait until the sprout will have roots or a stem.
Carefully remove the entire water lily with a sprout with a knife. Fill the large tub with water and place the plant into it.
How to Plant Water Lily
The rhizomes of water lilies do not grow in height, but in width, therefore, for planting, you need to choose wide containers made of materials that do not rot or oxidize under the influence of water. The best option is pots, containers, baskets made of plastic or stainless steel. Containers with a height of 15-25 cm (5-10 in) are best suited, the diameter can be any (within reasonable limits).
For growing water lilies, experts advise using not mesh baskets, but pots and boxes without holes. A closed container would prevent nutrients from leaching out of the soil and help prolong the vegetation of plants. Do not be afraid that the substrate and rhizome can “suffocate” in a continuous container. The main root of the flower is located on the surface of the soil, so its decay is excluded.
The Best Soil for Water Lilies
For quality growth, water lilies need good soil. When compiling a substrate, it is recommended to use garden soil enriched with humus or rotted manure. It is also recommended to add clay or peat, but not more than 1/3 of the total volume of the mixture. For active growth and abundant flowering, experienced gardeners advise placing any mineral fertilizer on the bottom of the container.
How Deep to Plant Water Lily
Both large artificial reservoirs and small pools are suitable for planting these plants. Home ponds often have a multi-stage bottom, which allows containers with aquatic plants to be installed at the required depth.
The best depth for water lilies is 40-60 cm (18-24 inches) from the top of the container to the surface of the water. When planting a new water lily in a pond, if the water temperature is at least 65 °F, try placing the plant closer to the surface of the water, leaving only about 15-30 cm (6-12 inches) above the top of the container. How to plant water lilies in a deep pond? Well, the maximum depth you can place the water lilies at is 100-150 cm (3-5 feet). At a deeper level, the plant may die. To raise the plant higher, you can place the pot on top of the stones.
How to Transplant Water Lilies
Remove the pot from the pond in the evening or early morning when the plant is not in direct sunlight. Gently remove the root ball of the water lily and cut off a third or half of the soil, being careful not to damage the root system. Transplant the water-lily into a wider container so that the crown of the plant is at the same height as before it was removed from the previous pot. Cover the area around the roots with potting soil and water thoroughly until completely soaked. Watering the soil before placing the plant pot in the pond would help prevent dry soil particles from floating to the surface. Place it in the pond at the same depth as the plant was previously.
Do Water Lilies Die Off in Winter?
The hardest part about growing water lilies is preserving them during the winter. But hardy water lilies can withstand the winter with dignity. Plants can remain in their places in winter if they are at a depth of 0.5 m (20 in) or more, and the reservoir is large and does not freeze to the bottom. If the reservoir can freeze to the bottom and is drained for the winter, then the containers with water lilies should be moved to a cool, dark, non-freezing place. Water lilies wake up in the spring when the water starts to warm up. At this time, the plant that hibernated outside the reservoir must be returned to its place
Can Water Lilies Grow without Soil?
This question is of interest to many who are afraid to pollute the pond. In general, water lilies can grow without soil, such as in gravel, rocks, or sand. But they must be fertilized every month with an aquatic fertilizer. Unfortunately, they probably would not thrive as well as they could in soil.
Tip: deciding to start breeding water lilies, do not plant more than half of the reservoir with plants. Each densely growing group of water lilies should be of the same variety. If there is a desire to see a kind of color mix in the pond, then divide the multicolored plantings into zones and near each of them leave a section of water area. The charm of these plants is unique. Moreover, water lilies do not need much to survive and delight you with their beautiful flowering. Is this not a reason to settle it in your pond and enjoy the aesthetic view?
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