Saturday, 2 July 2011

Keeping Tropical Water Lillies

Tips on keeping water lillies from field botanist Diane Lucas:

Peak flowering is the dry season (up north), and the best environment is a still, permanent water source.

Waterlily ponds need to be at least 35 to 60 centimetres deep and have a surface area of at least 1 square metre, for a good carbon and oxygen exchange between the air and water. They should be self-regulating and never need cleaning if you have the right balance of plants and fish.

To keep the water healthy, plant two oxygenating plants, like grasses or reeds, to one waterlily.

Plant waterlily root stock in a large pot of almost pure compost. They're very hungry plants. Cover the soil with about 5 centimetres of gravel. That's to stop yabbies and fish digging and uprooting the plant. It also stops the soil discolouring the water.

Fertilise three times a year with fertiliser tablets. Wrap them in a cloth and bury under the soil. Don’t put them straight into the pond because they'll poison the fish.

Waterlilies like full sun, but a combination of full sun and dappled shade for part of the day is best. Direct sun will increase evaporation.

Water lillies carry cultural significance for Indigenous peoples including being a great food source.

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