The classic beauty of the waterlily brings a hint of the tropics to backyard gardens. These easy-to-grow aquatic bloomers can be raised in containers without drainage holes or small ponds.
Waterlilies come in an array of colors, from pale white, cream, and yellow to the more vibrant pinks, blues, and purples. Hardy waterlily pads are pea-green, round, and are thick – almost rubber-like.
A few great choices are the native, white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata), which is stunning and has a wonderful fragrance. The hardy pink waterlily ‘Pink Beauty’ (also known as ‘Fabiola’) can often have multiple blooms at once. The yellow hardy waterlily ‘Texas Dawn’ has a light, lemon fragrance, long blooming season, and can take a touch of shade.
Waterlilies are sun lovers. Five hours of direct sun is the minimum they need for them to flower.
Plant your waterlily tubers in a pot using regular clay garden soil. You don’t have to plant the tubers deep, but you should cover the surface of the soil with pebbles or pea gravel. This will help keep the soil from dispersing in the water as you submerge the pots between one to two feet below the water’s surface level.
Waterlilies prefer growing in still water and don’t like to be constantly splashed, so keep them away from waterfalls or spraying fountains.
Waterlilies are heavy feeders, so you should fertilize them regularly, using a fertilizer tablet made for aquatic plants. Do this at the time of planting, and once a month thereafter throughout the growing season.
Tropical waterlilies do not winter over here in the Mid-Atlantic and need to be brought in. Whereas, hardy waterlilies can stay in your water garden through the cold months. I cut mine back after the first frost and push its pot to the deepest section of my small pond.
Hardy Waterlily: You Can Grow That!
The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
It was shot and edited by intern Alexandra Marquez.
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