How to Plant Water Lilies

Grow dazzling flowers in a sunny garden spot with this step-by-step guide 

Containers with Water Lilies Are a Focal Point

Containers with Water Lilies Are a Focal Point

A glazed ceramic pot can be turned into a stunning container for beautiful white water lilies as a focal point.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

  • water lily
  • aquatic plant basket with fine-meshed sides
  • loam or loam-based compost
  • pea gravel
  • watering can or garden hose
  • bricks

Step 1: Choose an Aquatic Plant Basket With Fine-Meshed Sides

Fill Aquatic basket with Layer of Loam Soil

Fill Aquatic basket with Layer of Loam Soil

Hardy water lily tubers grow horizontally, so choose a shallow, wide container. One water lily will fit comfortably in a pot that is 12 to 18 inches wide and 6 to 10 inches deep. Choose a basket with fine mesh sides. Center the lily in aquatic basket.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Add a layer of good loam or loam-based compost. Carefully remove the water lily from its original container, and position it in the center of the aquatic basket.

Step 2: Fill Basket With Loam-Based or Aquatic Compost

Fill Basket with Loam Based Aquatic Compost

Fill Basket with Loam Based Aquatic Compost

Pot the water lily in topsoil or other loamy aquatic soil. Avoid potting soil or mixes with components that float easily, such as perlite, vermiculite, and peat. Wipe leaves and spray with water to prevent them from drying out.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pat the compost gently to compact it. Wipe the leaves with a cloth to remove any duckweed or algae, and spray with water to prevent drying out.

Step 3: Stabilize Soil Surface by Covering With Layer of Pea Gravel

Use Pea Size Gravel to Stabilize Aquatic Soil

Use Pea Size Gravel to Stabilize Aquatic Soil

Cover the soil with a layer of rock or pea gravel to keep the soil in the pot.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

First rinse the gravel in water several times to remove dust and impurities.

Step 4: Place Basket in Pond

Float Water Lilies on Surface of Pond

Float Water Lilies on Surface of Pond

Water lilies need to be set so the base of the pot is 12 to 18 inches below surface, allowing leaves to float to surface. If the pond is deeper than that, support pot on bricks so plant is growing at proper level. As plant grows, bricks can be removed.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Raise it up on bricks if the water lily’s leaves do not reach the surface of your pond or container. The bricks can be removed as the stems grow.

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