NYMPHAEA – WATER LILIES
Claude Monet’s water lily paintings probably fostered a hope that one day I would have a lily pond in my garden. However I never imagined that there would be such a variety of water lilies! A pond adds magic to a garden and this is enhanced by the gorgeous round floating leaves and beautiful blooms. Each flower lasts around four days with a succession of flowers opening sequentially throughout summer. Few other plants can match their long flowering season and variety of colours, from pristine white through peach, yellow, red, magenta, pink, purple and blue. Naturally the bees love them!
Water lilies help keep a pond healthy; the shade they provide helps shelter fish and keep the water looking clear by preventing algae from growing. Algae however is an ongoing problem with water gardens.
Water lilies can also be grown in large containers or tubs.
Hardy water lilies are the first plants of the season. The flowers open in the morning and close after sunset, usually lasting three or four days before sinking back beneath the surface. The flowers appear from spring to autumn and go dormant in the winter. These rhizomes can be left in the water in winter.
Tropical water lilies are more striking – they have longer stems, which look even more exotic when in bloom. Their flowers are larger and more prolific. They also include the night blooming varieties which bloom from mid-afternoon to late morning. Tropical water lilies need a water temperature above 20°C. The tubers can / should be taken out of the water in winter.
Water lilies require a minimum depth of at least 15cm (up to one metre) of water above the growing tip of the plant, as well as six hours of direct sunlight to sustain maximum growth and flowering. All water lilies go dormant in winter.
Once you have purchased your water lilies it is good practice to pop them into bigger pots. This will increase the size of both the leaves and the blooms. Use a good soil mixture which consists of 3 parts sifted garden soil to 1 part well-rotted cow manure. Add 1/8 cup of bone meal per 5 litres of soil mix.
It is important to feed regularly - they are heavy feeders. I use an organic fertilizer. Once a month we make an opening in the side of the pot with a probe and add about one Tablespoon of organic fertilizer.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WATER LILIES ARE SOLD OUT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - POSSIBLY OCTOBER 2021.