Taking Care of Water Lilies

water lily plant

A Lovely Way to Add an Attractive Touch

Water lilies are a lovely way to add an attractive touch to your water garden or pond. They easily give shelter and shade to any fish in your pond, while reducing algae, acting as a natural water filter, and oxygenating the existing water in the pond.

Tropical Water Lilies

Tropical water lilies can either bloom in the day time, opening in mid morning and closing up in late afternoon, or they can be a night blooming variety, opening at dusk and then staying open throughout the night. Tropical lilies are well suited for warm zones, hardiness of Zone 5 and higher; Calgary is a Zone 3 and is only suited for hardier varieties of water lilies that are non-tropical.

Nymphaea Alba

These hardier water lilies are extremely popular in ponds, and they usually can be purchased in peach, pink, yellow, red, and white. If you choose them for your pond, place them at a depth one to two feet beneath the surface of the water. Once the leaves have reached the surface, put organic plant fertilizer pellets into the pots and you’ll be able to enjoy bigger blooms and more leaves. Your water lilies will need at least six full hours of sun per day. The flowers typically bloom in the morning, closing sometime in mid afternoon. Hardy water lilies only bloom during the day, unlike their tropical counterparts.

two pink water lilies

The best pond plants are often found at your local garden center, as they’ll be acclimated to your local temperatures. You may be able to find high quality lilies at the garden center, or at a pet store that offers pond accessories or aquarium plants.

How to Overwinter Your Water Lilies

Water lilies are perennials, and they’ll be content in a pond as long as the water is deep enough that their roots won’t freeze solid. If your pond typically freezes solid in the winter, remove the lilies from the pond when temperatures drop in the fall. There are multiple methods for overwintering your lilies, one of the easiest methods is for me to wrap the lily, along with the container, in a black bag and keep it stored at a cool temperature where it can stay damp and comfortable through the winter.

An alternate method is to remove the plant from the pot and wrap the tuber in leaves or moist peat, then store the entire thing in a cool dark environment until the weather warms up in the spring. Lilies will go dormant when put in dark cold storage, and then when you return them to their normal pond environment in the spring, they’ll return to their normal happy selves.