Water lilies highlight water features | News, Sports, Jobs

I have spent the last 40 years growing water lilies. They are beautiful, easy to grow and maintain, and give a lot of pleasure to my pond, as well as my water troughs.

You see, I love water features, koi and Japanese gardens, so these amazing plants are a perfect addition.

I get the rhizomes that I can plant myself. These can range from inexpensive to very expensive depending on where you buy them, what type you buy, and exactly what you are looking for.

There are “baskets” you can buy to plant them. They look like a small laundry basket with holes in the sides, but I use plastic pots. You should invest in fertilizer tablets as they are big eaters.

So now plant. The pot should have about an inch level of fine gravel to fill in the holes a bit. Then take some wet heavy clay (yes, clay. They love it) and fill the pot half full. Place the rhizome with the eye up (similar to a potato) but lying horizontally. Cover up to 2 inches below the top of the pot and tamp down. Insert your finger and insert a tablet. Cover and put 2 inches of fine gravel over everything, making sure ALL the clay is well covered.

Slowly submerge the pot in a rain barrel or other water (not city water). It will bubble slowly, but no clay should come out except for a dirty look on the water. The small gravel retains the clay, as well as the rhizome.

You are now ready to place your water lily in your element.

The feature (as I explained in my pond presentation) can be a tub to a large pond and everything in between. It can be a large bowl or a container. Be creative.

Your water lily needs six to eight hours of sunlight a day. This means that whatever you have placed your lily, it should be only 1-2 feet deep in the water. If in a pond or koi pond, you will need steps or risers to place the pot in that optimal spot for best growth. I use crates, well-dried cement blocks – anything that will be sturdy.

Two types of water lilies are hardy and overwinter as long as they don’t freeze. The other tropical is zone 10 and will not survive past summer.

Plant, collect faded leaves and buds and enjoy.

To learn more about these beautiful plants, visit http://go.osu.edu/waterlillies.

SOURCES: University of Florida, UFIFAS extension, user-friendly landscaping program; Texas A&M, Aquilife Extension, “Water Lilies”; University of Missouri, Integrated Pest Management, “Water Lilies: Easier Than You Think.”

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