In the spring and summer, your water lilies grace the pond with the beauty of their leaves and their blooms. Tropical water lilies adore the summertime temperatures. However, as the season turns towards fall and into winter, you need to plan to safeguard the health of these lilies.
What is a Tropical Water Lily?
Tropical water lilies (Nymphea spp) grow in warm parts of the world. They have more exotic colors than the hardy water lilies and come in shades of blue, purple and green as well as red and yellow.
Needs of Tropical Water Lilies
At the summer solstice in June, light levels start to decline. This means that tropical water lilies start to enter into a more dormant state, but very gradually. The heat of summer keeps them alive. When fall comes with its cooler days, it contributes to the need these flowers have to become dormant. If left on the pond during the late fall, the tropical water lilies will die.
Caring for Tropical Water Lilies in the Fall and Winter
Stop fertilizing the water lilies in the middle of September so that they will put more energy into root development than into leaf and flower development.
If you have enough room in your storage area, bring the lily indoors inside its pot. Prune off any very large or damaged leaves. Set up a small pond or aquarium in a warm area of the house and keep the plant in that area until spring comes.
If you do not have a lot of space, remove the water lily and the soil around it. Expose the roots and the tuber. If there are smaller tubers below the plant, remove them gently and place these in moist sand in a container to overwinter. These can become new plants in the spring. Remove leaves from the plant. Put the plant in some moist sand in a jar. The temperature in the room must stay at 60ºF or above.
Even though winter is a dormant season for these tropical water lilies, it is important to change their water or the moist soil so it does not go moldy.
Placing Water Lilies Into the Pond in the Spring
Once outdoor temperatures rise above 60, place the plants in fertilized soil and put them in the pond just below the surface of the water. When the plants begin to grow, plant them where you would like to see them for the season.
Tropical water lilies are a beautiful addition to the spring and summer pond. With proper care, they can also last through the winter season.