How to grow and care for water lilies: Stun­ning ad­di­tions to ponds

The Herald - The Herald Magazine - - Outdoors: Gardening -

ASK many gar­den­ers who have ponds which plant they en­joy most, and they are likely to extol the virtues of the water lily, with its stun­ning flow­ers and huge pal­mate leaves.

What’s more, there are so many types for vir­tu­ally ev­ery size of water fea­ture, from an old wooden bar­rel to a huge pond. The beau­ti­ful flow­ers bloom from early sum­mer un­til Septem­ber, and many of them have a light fra­grance. What they all need, though, is sun.

Gemma Neech, for­mal or­na­men­tal team leader at RHS Gar­den Wis­ley, of­fers a guide to these water-lov­ing plants...

CON­DI­TIONS THEY NEED

Water lilies are rhi­zoma­tous aquatic peren­ni­als that like to grow in rel­a­tively still water in full sun, flow­er­ing in sum­mer. In the wild, water lilies can be found grow­ing in both trop­i­cal and tem­per­ate cli­mates.

They have leaves vary­ing in size, from small to gi­gan­tic, up to 3m in di­am­e­ter – these gi­ants (Vic­to­ria Ama­zon­ica) grow in the trop­ics and are not hardy in the UK, but they are very im­pres­sive.

CHOOS­ING AND BUY­ING

If grow­ing water lilies in the

UK, it is best to choose a hardy cul­ti­var from a spe­cial­ist aquatic sup­plier, and choose a cul­ti­var suited to the size of your pond or lake, as some are more vig­or­ous than oth­ers.

The best time to buy and plant is late win­ter or early spring, around Fe­bru­ary or March. As with buy­ing any plant, make sure water lilies have a healthy crown and there are signs of new shoots and leaves emerg­ing.

MAIN­TE­NANCE AND CARE

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