Pink Water Lily in a Pond

How to Plant Water Lilies in a Pond in 6 Easy Steps

Everybody would love to have their own water lily pond, but many fear the efforts they should make with planting. These flowers are truly magnificent, and they bring a special air to a relaxing garden with a coy pond. So how do you plant water lilies in a pond? Even though it’s not a hard task to learn how to plant them, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to.

Where Will You Plant Them?

The first thing you should think about before buying the water lilies is the place where you will plant them. All these varieties enjoy having a sunny location and can thrive in shallow waters. In fact, shallow waters are the place where they can grow faster and stronger, as well as produce more flowers. Moreover, it is better if the water is warmer.

So how do you plant water lilies in a pond? Foremost, you should keep in mind some important details. For example, you should know that hardy water lilies are very frost hardy, so they can survive cold winters, even if the temperatures will drop as much as -20 degrees. Meanwhile, they are easy to grow, as you will see in the following easy steps on how to plant water lilies.

When and How Do You Plan Water Lilies in a Pond?

You can start planting bare rooted water lilies starting with March, all the way to the end of July. The lilies that are planted in spring should begin to bloom by June or July, if you offer them the right conditions. If you want to know how do you plant water lilies in a pond the right way, then you should pay attention to these periods.

Basic Requirements

Before deciding if you want to plant them or not, you should know that these plants have some basic requirements. As such, they only need a good share of aquatic plant food 1-2 times a year. Every few years, you will have to repot them. The process might need to be repeated more often in case the pot you have been using right from the start is too small. If you notice that the water lily is growing too fast, then you should think about replacing the pot sooner than you expected. Being aware of the basic requirements is essential to any guide on planting water lilies in a pond.

How Do You Plant Water Lilies in a Pond?

There are 6 easy steps which you need to follow to plant your own water lilies. You don’t need to be an expert to grow some beautiful pond plants which you’ll be proud of in a couple of months. Moreover, you can use the lilies to create some unusual landscape ideas if you’re willing to test your creativity!

Step 1: Choose a Container

Choosing a container is indeed an easy job, but you should still pay attention to a couple of details. The adequate size is 12 x 18 inches in width and 6 x 10 inches in depth for growing water lilies in pots. Remember that the tuber, which resembles the rhizome of an iris, develops in a horizontal manner. It is not compulsory for the container to have holes. If you do choose it to have some drainage holes, it’s a good idea to use burlap for lining the pot. In this way, you will be able to keep the soil in the container. This is an important step, since the soil that gets out of your container will cloud the water that grows in your pond, which will ruin the beautiful aspect of a water lily pond.

There is no rule saying how many rhizomes you should plant at one time, despite having other indications on planting water lilies in a pond correctly. However, the best idea is to plant just one lily in a 4-litre container, if you have a small pond. Alternatively, if you prefer going for a faster display of color, you can plant 10 lilies in a large container.

Step 2: Choose the Soil

The best soil which you should keep in mind when getting information on how do you plant water lilies is the heavy one. Go for the one that is used in the garden, not a fluffy type, since the latter has the tendency of floating outside the container, thus clouding the water in the pond again. The general recommendation is to avoid soil mixes with peat, vermiculite or perlite, exactly for the same reason.

You can also enrich the soil with special aquatic fertilizer pellets. They are made exactly for this purpose and it’s easy to use them: simply place them into the soil before planting the water lily. Keep in mind that you may need hessian or cloth liners to prevent the soil from eroding. Aquatic soil and top gravel are also useful, because they will help you protect your lily from foraging fish, for instance, plus they will add some weight, as well as stability, to the container. Moreover, the top gravel has a nice aesthetic effect.

Important! If you have fish in the water garden, keep in mind that water lilies shouldn’t be potted in regular potting soil. The regular kind contains lots of organic material, which eventually rots and fouls the water. Besides, if you want to know how do you plant water lilies in a pond correctly, you should remove any other organic material that eventually rots. Organic material represents a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria, as well as pathogens. It might even add some excess nutrients that nourish the algae blooms. Remember that prevention is much easier than going around treating sick or even dying fish later.

Step 3: Remove Old Leaves and Old Roots

Ideally, you should leave only the emerging leaves and buds, together with the newer roots that look somewhat like hair. In this way, you will make sure that the plant is clean and that there are no unnecessary things in your pot.

Step 4: Plant the Lily

Now is the time to plant it! Place the tuber against the side of the pot. The growing tip should be pointing upwards at an angle of about 45 degrees, heading towards the center of the pot. Remember that most rhizomes come without any roots and these will start sprouting just below the shoots and stalks. However, they still need to be below the soil level. The upright types of water lilies need to be planted with the rhizomes under the soil level, while the shoots remain above.

If you are not sure about it, you should push the lily down 1-2 inches below the soil. Thus you will make sure that they manage to grow secure and strong.

Step 5: Cover the Soil

The next step to do is to cover up the soil with a layer of gravel. Whether you choose to use rock or pea gravel, they are both equally good. You can also use regular sand. They will help the soil from floating away when you are ready to move to the next step, which is submerging the container. One inch of gravel should be more than enough.

Step 6. Lower the Pot

The pot with the plant should be lowered into the pond at a certain angle. It is necessary for you to angle it, as well as do it slowly so that any air bubbles that are trapped inside could escape. The base of the pot should be planted 12 x 18 inches deep so that the leaves can float to the surface. If you have a pond that is deeper than 18 inches, without any built-in planting ledges, then you should consider supporting the pot. But how do you plant water lilies in a pond that is deeper? There is a simple trick you should use for this: add a pile of rocks underneath it so that it could stay higher than the bottom.

You can also use this short clip that illustrates the above steps:

How Do You Plant Water Lilies in a Pond and How Do You Take Care of Them?

Once you managed to plant them, you will be happy to know that it’s extremely easy to take care of water lilies, as compared to other pond plants. So how do you pland water lilies ina pond and how do you take care of them? The main thing you should know is that you need to divide the plants every 3-4 years. This action helps them rejuvenate, plus you will prevent them from spreading around into areas you don’t want them to.

Winterizing Hardy Water Lilies

An important part of taking care of the water lilies for winter is removing the dead and dying foliage. If you live in an area where the entire pond freezes solid, you should remove the lily completely, together with the pot. The pot has to be stored in a plastic bag so that it can stay cool and moist. If you choose not to store the entire pot, then remove and clean the tuber that is growing and move it in peat moss. The temperature should be around 40 or 50 degrees F.

If your pond will not freeze solid, then the simplest way to get around how to plant water lilies in a pond is not to remove the pot. Just lower it to the deeper parts of the pond, where the water will not freeze at all. When spring comes, just take the pot back to the normal growing level. In case you have dug up and stored away the tuber, repot it by following the same 6 steps presented above.

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Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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