Tropical Water Lilies (Nymphaea)
Tropical Water Lilies are a magnificent addition to any size water garden. They hold their fragrant blossoms high out of the water, are available in a number of brilliant colors, and can have several exquisite blooms at a time. The flowers stay open later in the day than the hardy water lilies and they also bloom later into the season. Tropical lilies can easily be distinguished from hardy water lilies in that the leaves are serrated or jagged. Tropical lilies come in day blooming and night blooming varieties. The day blooming varieties open several hours after sunrise and stay open until several hours before sunset. Some varieties of tropical water lilies are viviparous (growing plantlets on their leaves) which indicates they are more cold tolerant and will continue to bloom through fall in colder climates. The night blooming varieties will open an hour or two before sunset and remain open as late as noon on a cloudy day. For best performance plant tropical water lilies in at least a 2 gallon or larger plant container with a generous amount of heavy garden soil. Even the heaviest clay soils will work fine with the addition of a little sand and fertilizer. Fertilize monthly to reach maximum blooming potential. Depth should be maintained between 6" and 18" when first transplanted and then once established can be grown from 12" to 30" depending on the variety. Water temperatures should be at least 60 degrees before planting tropical water lilies in your water garden.
Planting Tropical Water Lilies:
It is best to plant tropical water lilies in a heavy clay garden soil. Light weight organic compost or potting mix will float out of the container and not keep your water lily planted. The crown of the water lily (the growing end) should be placed towards the center of the planting container. DO NOT cover the crown of the water lily with soil or gravel. Doing so may kill your water lily. Fertilize your water lily monthly with highland fertilizer tablets or yearly with Laguna Fertilizer Spikes during growing months for best results. For planting depth see individual water lily descriptions.