The Beauty of Water Lilies

This Friday’s meme or blog carnival is actually 2.  It is Fertilizer Friday and I am also submitting this post for the monthly carnival “How To Find Great Plants (HtFGP)” hosted by Appalachian Feet.  Gardeners post about their favorite ornamental or edible plant that they would recommend to others the last Friday of the month.  The posts are collected and then reposted the following Monday in a unique format.

When we decided to put a pond into our new garden 6 years ago, I knew it would have to have water lilies.  After all my favorite paintings from the time I was young have always been Claude Monet’s paintings of water lilies.  Since you have to be hardy to live in my garden,  I only planted hardy water lilies.  I don’t have time or luck lifting bulbs or plants to overwinter here in my zone 5 garden.  So you better like frigid temps and winter snow.

I found hardy water lilies fairly easy to plant.  I bought a fabric pot, pond planting medium and fertilizer for pond plants as well as the water lilies all online.  There are a number of good online sites for pond supplies and plants.  Aquascape was great for finding the planting supplies I needed.  And I found many plant suppliers online too; if you can find a local grower that is even better.

Once I assembled the plant in the fabric pot and secured the top folds with gravel, it was lowered into the pond.  Hardy lilies like to be in the deep parts of the pond at least a foot down.  Mine are at a couple of feet down. I planted mine that deep so they were below the freeze line and would over winter easily since we let the pond freeze over; but it does not freeze completely.

You are supposed to plant water lilies in early spring and fertilize every month or so; not to mention dividing them.  Well mine were planted in early summer; I used a slow release fertilizer once in 5 years and they have never been divided.  As you can see from the photos, they are doing fine so they really are not a fussy plant.

They do however require a fair amount of sunlight; at least 5-6 hours a day.  The flowers open as the later morning light brightens and close as the sun starts to sink low in late afternoon or on a cloudy day.  And alas the blooms only last a few days.  Water lilies also prefer still water, but the yellow one is situated right in front of the water fall.  It took longer to establish, but it is doing fine now because there isn’t a swift current.

Their beauty is not just in the flower, but the foliage.  The leaves of the pink water lily come out in this reddish-purple hue, and when they mature to green in warmer temps, their underside retains this coloring.  My yellow water lily sometimes has speckled leaves.  And if aphids show up, you just push the lily and pad under water to wash them off and let the frogs feast.

They are beautiful in fall too when the pond begins to get frost and the leaves change color, they too put on a spectacular show in the dark still pond water.

 

31 comments

  1. Elephant's Eye says:

    Ours are pink. Sat in two large baby baths waiting to go back in the pond, when he has finished relining it. We are getting there. In the meantime, those water-lilies are flourishing and blooming!

    Show us those fabric pots one day? Ours are in plastic baskets, which simply split as the roots push thru …

  2. Alistair says:

    Here in Scotland I have tried water lilies. The leaves developed well but the flower buds never opened. I found that it was because the pond was situated in a spot which didn’t get enough sunshine, (as you have pointed out.)

  3. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens says:

    Donna, Your water lilies are beautiful, and I especially like the frogs that come with them. You dispel the common thinking that they are difficult to grow. Too bad there is no sun at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. Have you ever seen the water lily display at Longwood Gardens? It is amazing. Carolyn

  4. Autumn Belle says:

    Your water lilies are gorgeous. Do they attract dragonflies? I love the way they open in the morning, closes by sundown and the same flower open again the next morning. What other flower does that but the water lily?

  5. p3chandan says:

    I love the painting of waterlilies in Monets too. Your water lilies are so gorgeous, havent seen the yellow coloured ones here. Mine were light blue originally then it turned white after that.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks…Yes they can take over in a small space and I do have to watch them and keep them controlled. I have toyed with having the even more gorgeous tropical style but no room in my small pond for both…

  6. Cat says:

    Waterlilies have added so much magic to my garden. My Colorado waterlily bloomed up until mid December! I enjoyed your post – great information too.

  7. Pond Pumps says:

    The leaves are well developed, but the buds did not open. I thought it was because the pond was located in an area that has not had enough sun as you pointed out.

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