Water Lilies – A Touch of Romance in the Garden
Water lilies are one of nature’s marvels. All they need to thrive is water and sunlight. There are two types of water lily; hardy and tropical. When hardy water lilies bloom, the flower sits right on top of the water, while the flower of the tropical water lily is on a stem that rises above the water.
Hardy water lilies can withstand quite severe frosts if they are planted about 35 cm or more below the surface of the water. The number of blooms they have is directly related to the hours of sunshine the plant receives. They need at least half a day of sunshine to bloom successfully.
When planting water lilies, don’t plant directly into the bottom of the pond, but into a wide, shallow dish. The benefits of doing this are that you will be able to give the rhizome the nutrients it needs without affecting the water quality of the pond. And you will also be able to lift and divide each one, without risking the loss of your favorite.
If they are all planted hodge-podge in the bottom of the pond the roots- which grow laterally – will become entangled. This makes it very difficult to remove the overgrown ones without the risk of losing some. It is also very messy.
With a pot, all you need to do is lift up the pot and work on it out of the water, and then replace it happy in the knowledge that you have not accidentally thrown out the roots of your favorite. Choose a pot that is about 12 cm high and 30 cm wide. Place three slow-release fertilizer tablets in the bottom of the pot and fill it three parts with a good loam that is not sandy.
Make a hole slightly off-center to plant the rhizome and make sure you pad the soil down quite hard over the top of it. Then fill the container to the top with washed sand. This will help to keep the nutrients from washing out and keep your pond water clear.
When adding water lilies to your pond, you need to allow at least half a square meter of water surface for each water lily. If you crowd them, they will not grow well and your fish will be unhealthy due to lack of sunlight. Water lilies will increase, so should be divided every two years.
Water lilies will flower from November to March in southern states; longer in the north. You can get white, pinks, apricot, lemon, yellow and even vivid red flowers in water lilies, so there should be something to suit every taste.
Its a matter of taste, but what I do like is to create a magical atmosphere by adding a little light. One or two solar powered lights that illuminate the leaves and flowers indirectly. Dawn on a late summer morning is especially beautiful, especially when the warm water forms a little haze over the water.