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QNO-SHOW BLOOMS My waterlily had one flower two years ago. Since then it’s had lots of lush leaves but no flowers. It gets all-day sun on a north-facing sheltered balcony. I may have overfed it. What should I do to get it to bloom? RICHARD BRUNTON, AUCKLAND
AHow disappointing. Here are some suggestions to pinpoint the possible reasons for the lack of flowers.
Firstly there may be issues with the hardy waterlily variety being too big for the container you have available.
Secondly, though your plant looks healthy, the leaves are overly green which could be the variety or might mean excess nitrogen in the water.
It may be overgrown. Look at the rhizome (for hardy waterlily varieties) or the tuber (for tropical varieties). If the basket is bursting at the seams with root growth and new plants, it needs a repot.
Alternatively, with tropical waterlilies, the original tuber may have become overgrown with new plantlets which produce new tubers each season. If they aren’t repotted or removed, the plant can then become overgrown.
Your waterlily appears to be a hardy variety, so you can use the pictorial repotting instructions on our website glenbogal.co.nz for some help.
The container can also be an issue. Waterlilies require large amounts of food from the nutrients in the water, decomposing matter in a pond or soil-based tablets or seasonal spikes. Waterlilies need to be grown in aquatic baskets so the roots can grow outside of the basket. Solid-sided containers are not recommended as they inhibit the access to food and root growth.
In a container like this, the ability to replicate a natural biological pond is limited. Our branded tablets and seasonal spikes are recommended for ponds as excess food can be used by other aquatic plants.
In a container where plants have minimal space and limited access to natural nutrients, we suggest aquatic plant food for the soil and Eco Pond Aquatic Plant Food Plus, a liquid feed providing micronutrients for leaf growth as well as increased blooms. A weekly dose provides all the food required by the waterlily or other aquatic plant. Included in the Plant Food Plus is extract of barley straw, a natural ecologically friendly algae control to reduce and control all forms of algae growth.
Information on these and other products can be seen on our website.