Nymphaea- Water Lily

This water plant obviously appeals to people’s imagination, for everyone wants a water lily in his pond. Fortunately this presents no problem.


The large hybrids require a water depth of between 60 and 100 cm, but there are numerous hybrids which are satisfied with less; the minimum is approximately 20 cm. For profuse flowering a sunny situation is essential. If too much foliage is developed it is advisable to thin the plants out from time to time.


The rhizomes may grow to enormous size. Initially water lilies are usually planted in a plastic basket or a box, filled with a mixture of clay and humus; they are inserted slantwise. To prevent the clay rising to the surface, the soil is covered with a layer of river sand and the whole is lowered into the pond. A piece of iron or stone will anchor it down. After a few years the root-stock will probably grow well outside the basket, but that need not worry us. Ensure that it cannot freeze up.


Old rhizomes can be divided in spring; each of the sections must bear at least one shoot.

Nymphaea alba, the native white water lily: water depth 1-2 m; extremely vigorous, too much so for a small pond. ‘Rosea’ has crimson flowers, in ‘Rubra’ they are rose red. Nymphaea hybrids: The most popular. The following are suitable for small ponds with a depth of 30-50 cm: ‘Aurora’, orange yellow, shading to dark red; ‘Froebelii’, a dwarf form with star-shaped crimson flowers; ‘Pygmaea Alba’, dwarf form with white flowers; ‘Rose Are’, bright pink; ‘Sioux’, copper coloured with a red margin. For larger ponds with a depth of at least 60 cm: ‘Colonel A. J. Welch’, deep yellow; ‘Colossea’, orange pink; ‘Marliacea Albida’, fragrant white flowers; ‘Marliacea Chromatella’, pale-yellow flowers and brown-blotched leaves; and ‘Rene Gerard’, double flowers, crimson with yellow.

For very large ponds: ‘Escarboucle’, large, dark red flowers; ‘Gladstonia’, large white flowers; and ‘Vir-ginalis’, also with large white flowers.

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