Ponds and Water Gardening forum: Water lilies in Alaska?

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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 5, 2016 9:31 AM CST
I so wish I could grow water lilies. I know part of it is that I don't plant them well. Pots are not big enough or have the right soil. I have a 33 gallon garbage can half full of plain garden soil that I was using to plant mine in. Then got derailed into using pea gravel since I make such a mess out of introducing the pots to the pond. Need to put them in a large sterlite container to settle down and get the soil really wet, THEN put it in the pond. Also a problem in that my pond has a very uneven floor and setting up cinder blocks for the pots to sit on is a problem. I don't think I can just sit the pots on the bottom as the plants would have to grow at least 18" to get to the surface. Stupid question, but wouldn't they 'drown' without CO2 access? It would surely be easier than trying to set up stands.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
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psa
Aug 5, 2016 1:31 PM CST

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I think mine are under 18-24" of water in that pond now. Between the circular water flow I've set up and the all of the fish movement I figure the gases move around all right. I weigh the tops of the pots down with large rocks, but otherwise plant them all similar to what I described above, with leaner or richer soil sometimes depending on the plant. I always put them in nursery tanks for a couple weeks after potting, though, to let them root in well and elongate their leaves to the level of water in the target pond. Small poly stock tanks are good for this.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 5, 2016 4:33 PM CST
So when you originally pot them up you put them under 18-14" of water and let them grow to the surface?
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
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psa
Aug 5, 2016 6:21 PM CST

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No, I put them at whatever depth the existing leaves are, or just a few inches in the case of seedlings or dormant tubers. Then I gradually raise the level of the water over the period of a week or so until it's as high as the target location. The leaves will stretch an inch or two each day, especially the young ones, and new leaves will rise to wherever the surface is, so it doesn't take too long. This is where having them in a stock tank that I can add a bit of water to each day comes in handy.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 6, 2016 11:20 AM CST
Thumbs up Now I get it. I have some sterlite tubs I could use but they aren't deep enough. I would love to just have the pots on the floor of the pond although keeping them from sliding on the slippery pond liner might be a brick. Perhaps a 1x 6 flat cinder block would keep it in place. That should work. So I need to find something deep enough to grow them to the required height to place in the pond. Plus then I can make sure they are fertilized well before placing. Once they are in the pond I couldn't put the plant tabs in them. So I guess I would use the spikes that (theoretically) last all summer.

Hmmm. Since I get my lilies from Texas Water Lilies and historically ask for them to be shipped the end of April when I can get them in the pond. I could put the container in the garage where I 'greenhouse' my other startups and have them growing under lights in the warmth for a month or so before they could go outside. Might be a shock to them as the water in the pond is still pretty cool, maybe 55-60 if I am lucky by May 1 or so. Plus our last frost day is May 31.

A 33 gallon garbage can wouldn't work very well unless I had some bright spot lights directly over the can. Being deep in the can to start with, angled lights wouldn't work.

Thanks for all the ideas. I may get some lilies yet. Well, I have had a few over the years. And I will definitely go back to using soil not gravel. They will be well 'moistened' after their stint in the container so no worries about mucking up my pond when they go in.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Aug 6, 2016 7:52 PM CST
Oberon, We have one nice nursery here in the county that grows water lilies in a pond. I've noticed that they overwinter theirs in fairly shallow plastic tubs in a shady spot. Obviously, outdoors wouldn't work for you, but I'm not sure you would even need lights.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Aug 7, 2016 12:26 AM CST
Carol, I would think that the plants which arrive in spring would need light to photosynthesize and grow. Being dormant in the winter in another story but point taken.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Aug 7, 2016 2:10 PM CST
As is yours. Ha ha, I guess I was just assuming that the thaw came with the sun in spring. That shows how long I've lived in Ca. *Blush*
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
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psa
Aug 8, 2016 2:37 PM CST

Moderator

Seems like it should be possible with lights and a touch of warmth. Also, have you tried the water lilies that are native to the higher latitudes of North America?
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 9, 2016 8:49 AM CST
I don't know what areas they are native to but I always order hardy lilies from Texas Water Lilies. That is the only source I have for lilies. Suggestions of other vendors would be appreciated.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
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psa
Aug 10, 2016 1:29 PM CST

Moderator

N. odorata is particularly tough and adaptable in northern areas (and considered a nuisance in Washington State), and N. tetragona, the pygmy waterlily, while small, actually grows naturally in many parts of Alaska. The first one is at Texas Waterlilies, but the second is more challenging to find. It's easier to locate some of its cultivars, such as Joanne Pring and Grandiflora, but I don't know if those cultivars are as tough as the original.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Aug 10, 2016 4:49 PM CST
thanks Paul. I really appreciate the suggestions and will contact TWL about N. odorata. I may have missed it since I was focusing on smaller plants as my pond surface is only about 18x20 and 2 to 3.5' deep
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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