Water Lilies: Easy to grow on terrace in plastic tub or cemented pot – Details and care tips

Water Lilies: Easy to grow on terrace in plastic tub or cemented pot – Details and care tips
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Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

They are plants that grow in still waters like ponds, streams etc. Also, can be grown in plastic tub or cemented pot. The roots are attached to the soil. They have attractive flowers that resemble that of the lotus. They are called the jewels of the pond.

Quick Details of Water Lilies

Other Common NamesWater lilies
TypeFlowering ornamental plant.
MaintenanceLow
FloweringLate spring
LightBright direct light
WaterIts an aquatic plant
TemperatureSome varieties can survive the harsh climate
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatEurope, North Africa, Australia.
ToxicityNo
Common DiseasesMostly resistant to diseases
Scientific nameNymphaea, Nuphar,Victoria,Euryale spp

Overview of Water Lilies

The waterlilies are aquatic perennial or annual rhizomatous plants that belong to the family of Nymphaeaceae. There are almost 70 species and they vary depending on the number of petals, the shape of the leaf etc.

The leaves of water lilies are large and called as the lily pads. It acts as a barrier between the predators and the animals present inside the pond. The plants develop from an underwater stem that is attached to the soil. The stalk of the leaves grows and comes above the surface of the water.

A single flower is present at the tip of each stalk. The flowers are cup shaped and have different colours like cream, pink, red, orange, purple. Some flowers open in the morning while the others open in the evening. The waterlilies produce fruits which look like a nut. The seeds present inside the fruits sink down when the fruits open producing new plants.

The large leaves present on the surface of the water provides shade, thus protecting the fishes from harsh sunlight.

The waterlilies can be broadly classified into two:

Hardie: That grows in cold climates. They have an ability to withstand harsh winters as far as their roots are buried inside the soil.

Tropical: These plants are present in the warmer regions. They cannot survive cold winters .The plants should be shifted indoors or to warmer places during winters.

Special feature:

The water lily holds a special place in the sangam literature and it is considered as a symbol of grief and separation. White water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh and blue water lily is the national flower of Sri Lanka.

The leaf stalks contain swollen tissues that help the leaves to float above the water surface. These swollen tissues are usually filled with air.

Usage and Advantage of Water Lilies

  • They are grown in ponds as an ornamental plant.
  • They provide shade to the fishes in the pond.
  • Some species of water lilies have medicinal properties. The bulb is used as a medicine.
  • It is used in treating diarrhea.

General Care for Water Lilies

Soil: The water lilies prefer heavy clay or loamy soil. a regular potting mixture shouldn’t be used as the chemical components present in them can encourage the growth of bacteria and algae. The top layer of the soil can be covered using gravel to prevent the floating of the soil particles.

Water: They are aquatic and grow in water.

Light: The plant prefers direct bright sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.

Pruning: The plants grow and spread quickly. Pruning can be done to maintain the shape and to avoid the spread of the plants if grown in pot. The flowers of the plants can last for almost a week or two after which they fall off. The debris can cause rot and other fungal diseases. The flowers can be pruned once they fully bloom. Division of the plants can be done after every three to four years to have a healthy plant.

Fertilizer: The plants can be fed with any liquid fertilizer that are specific for aquatic plants. The fertilizers can be added once a month during the blooming season.

Pests and other problems for Water Lilies

 some of the common diseases are:

Crown rot: The leaves and the stems turn yellow, they wither.

Black spot: The roots turn black and there is an emission of a foul smell from the plant.

Water lily spot: The leaves develop dark spots, turn brown, curl up and die.

Control: In case of infection in the leaf, the leaves can be cut out from the rhizome, the plants should be uprooted and checked for any infection. The affected parts of the plants should be removed. in case of severe infection the plants should be removed from the rest to prevent the spread of the disease.

Propagation of Water Lilies

Water lilies can be propagated in several ways. The lilies produce seeds that can be buried inside the soil to develop into a new plant.

In some cases, the plants produce a small plant that is attached to the leaf of the mature plants. These plantlets can be detached and planted to grow into a new plant.

The plants can also be propagated by division. The mature plants can be uprooted. The rhizomes with a new shoot growth away from the main plant are removed and can be planted on the surface of the soil to develop into a new plant.

Bud cutting can also be done to propagate the plants. The lilies with tuberous roots produce shoots. These can be cut out and planted on to the soil to develop into a new plant.

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