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Well Fed Waterlilies…

Well Fed Waterlilies…

How do your waterlilies perform? Most comercially available new varieties of waterlilies are pretty good bloomers, as are many old ones. Many tropical waterlilies will have an enormous amount of blooms when properly planted.

1. Do you have the right size container?A two gallon container is pretty standard for medium water gardens but most lilies would like more space. Hardy lilies like a lot of horizontal room, consider a 12-20″ across if you don’t want to re-pot them every year, it does not need to be deep, something the size of a sturdy dishpan is great or a black colored kitty litter pan will last a couple years. A tropical waterlily can enjoy a pot 3-20 gallons in size. Lots of soil and fertilizer to boot.  Let us take a look at a few plants,

a new variety available for the first time in 2011 is Ken Landon’s ‘Rhapsody In White” (video below) Tim Davis sent me a tuber last summer after I fell in love with it at the International Waterlily Collection and is now probably my favorite star waterlily (flavovirens hybrid). It is very cold tolerant, possibly more so than some viviparous tropical waterlilies and can survive winters with ice on the pond. Chocolate pads surround a bouquet of wonderful white flowers standing high above the surface. Six blooms per day is not uncommon and plant 2 or more in a large container and you can have over a dozen flowers each morning.

Click on Video below to Play in HD

2. During the growing season waterlilies need fertilizer (and please plant them in SOIL). Though you can plant these plants in kitty litter trays don’t buy overpriced cat litter sold as aquatic plant medium (black kitty litter trays are preferable but after 2 weeks any dark color will be hidden by the pond film). Real soil, a heavy clay/topsoil or loam is perfect (potting soil is light and will float, avoid that as it is disaster).  If you add a good fertilizer like Ken Landon’s waterlily fertilizer or osmocote 180 day granulars (or both) to the soil you may not have to fertilze again all season. In the south where growing season are longer you can start with granular and add pond tabs the second half of the season if your fertilizer begins to run out.

In June 2010 I visited Nelson’s Water Garden in Texas where you can see how big lilypads and flowers actually can get when you feed them, this is Foxfire which had been growing in the pond for a couple months. Mike Swize puts his hand on a pad to show the relationship in size. Note I also grew fozfire and kept with less fertilzier in a smaller pot can keept the plant blooming just as much but stays about 1/3rd the size of this giant.

Click on Video below to Play in HD

3. Sunshine and warm weather. Waterlilies actively grow when water temps are in the mid to high 60s and like lots of direct sunlight. Full shade is not helpful for blooming even on shade tolerant plants. Planting your plants when its still early is not great either. Cold water can make tropical waterlilies go to sleep. Just because it was 82 degrees yesterday does not make it good planting weather if the bottom of your pond is 55. You want low temps to be nothing below 55 or so for 2 weeks straight before getting the plants in the pond from actively growing in waters elsewhere. You can plant dormant plants in water as cool as 45 just dont expect them to grow much until warmer weather.

Here is a look at hardy Helvola after a few week in the sun in a 20″ wide container. Each flower is only about 2″ across as this is a hardy dwarf waterlily.

Click on Video below to Play in HD

All three of the waterlilies shown are available at www.PondMegastore.com

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