Water Lilies: Plant That Needs Space

On many a local pond, water lilies cover at least part of the surface and magically attract the eye with their bright colors. They are incredibly diverse in terms of flowers, leaves, and size. There is the right type for every pond. But how do you settle the “Queen of the Pond” in your garden at home?

Think About It Beforehand

Even before buying such a floating plant, you should be aware of the space required. It is not only about the depth of the pond, but also about the growth behavior of the plant and the surface that the water lily is supposed to cover. It must be taken into account here that it sometimes takes away the light from other (sub) aquatic plants and therefore plan exactly which species should be placed where. There are alternatives to all circumstances: There are species that can cope with 30cm water depth and those that need at least one meter of water to unfold and then cover up to 2m² of water. The right location is also important: the different species differ greatly here. Most want a bright and warm location where they can enjoy five to six hours of sunshine a day. Other varieties (significantly less) also thrive in light shade and bloom despite little sunlight. There are even species for the deep shade, such as the “yellow pond rose”.

Plant Water Lilies

There are also a few things to consider when planting: The easiest way to plant water lilies is in large wire baskets. These can easily be removed from the garden pond for maintenance work. The size should be chosen so that the water lily can develop for a few years. However, it should then be repotted regularly over time so that it can develop fully. For small varieties, containers with a capacity of five liters are sufficient, while large ones can easily reach up to 30 liters. The actual planting then looks like this: The basket is filled with substrate, i.e. soil. This soil should have a high proportion of clay, around 30% is ideal. So the earth does not float up as soon as the basket comes into the water. It should also be rich in nutrients so that you don’t have to fertilize. The water lily is then planted in this soil and the basket goes into the water. You have to proceed slowly here. If you want to plant water lilies without a basket, you don’t have to spread soil throughout the pond; a planting mound of approx. 20 cm high, which is bordered by stones, is completely sufficient.

When the time is right, there are two variants: When planting in the spring and summer months (May to July) you have to gradually increase the water level of the pond or gradually place the mesh basket in deeper water: This enables the water lilies to keep up with their growth rate. The planting depth should – depending on the type and size – be between 20cm and 2m.

Planting in autumn (September until shortly before freezing) is easier: Here you don’t have to deepen it step by step, as the plant does not have any flowers. So it can be put into deep water immediately. Since the water lilies usually bloom from May to September, you have to wait a bit before you can enjoy the splendor of your newly planted protégés.

What Else Needs to Be Considered

You should never take a water lily from the wild: some species are under nature protection and the plants can also contain pathogens and pests, which you then bring into the pond. If the plant grows too much once in place, and also devours the light that other plants need, then it can be moderately cleared and pruned. However, if this process is repeated, you have to think about getting a smaller species. You should also take action if you find rotting leaves and rhizomes. It is best to remove these before planting.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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