Water lily - Knowledgebase Question

Kimbolton, OH (Zone 6A)
Question by jbmcneilly
April 27, 2007
I got my first water lily a few weeks ago. It is a hardy variety. The root has a cut end and the other end has a few white spourts or roots. I can't tell what they are for sure. I'm not sure what end goes in the dirt. Can you help tell me how to plant this water lily. I have a basket with garden soil and the top two inches I have pea gravel. Just not sure which end goes where. Also is the root to be cover with water? Thanks


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Answer from NGA
April 27, 2007

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Water lilies are purchased as tubers, which resemble the rhizome of an iris. These tubers grow horizontally, so the planting basket for a water lily should be at least 12? to 18? wide. If the basket you choose has drainage holes, line the basket with burlap to prevent soil from escaping through the holes when the basket is submerged.

Select a heavy soil mix, such as garden or topsoil, rather than a light potting mix that is likely to float out of the container. Water lilies are heavy feeders, and will not bloom unless they receive proper nutrition. Pressing several fertilizer tablets designed for water plants into the soil before planting will ensure a steady supply of nutrients for the entire growing season.

Before planting, examine the tuber and remove any old leaves or thick, fleshy roots, leaving only new buds and thin, new root growth. Plant by laying the tuber in the center of the basket that's half to two-thirds filled with soil, then spread a layer of pea gravel or stone around the plant to keep the soil in the basket as it is submerged.

Submerge the basket slowly, holding it at an angle to allow for air to escape. Water lilies should be placed at a depth of about 18?, but specific depth and spacing requirements vary greatly by variety, so be sure to check the plant tags when you purchase your plants to be sure you are selecting a variety that works for your space.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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