Graceful and elegant, water lilies (Nymphaea spp.) are a wonderful addition to any water garden. If your water lily is not hardy to your climate though, you may be wondering how to winterize water lily plants. Even if your water lilies are hardy, you might be wondering what you should do for them to help them make it through winter. Winter care for water lily plants does take a little bit of planning, but is easy to do once you know how. Keep reading to learn more about how to over winter water lilies.
How to Winterize Water Lily Plants
The steps for wintering water lilies starts long before winter actually arrives, regardless of whether you grow hardy or tropical water lilies. In late summer, stop fertilizing your water lilies. This will signal to your water lily plants that it's time to start getting ready for cold weather. A few things will happen after this. First, the water lily will start to grow tubers. This will provide food for them over the winter. Second, they will start to die back and enter dormancy, which slows their systems down and helps keep them safe over winter. The water lilies will typically grow small leaves at this time and their larger leaves will turn yellow and die. Once this occurs, you are ready to take steps for wintering your water lilies.
How to Store Water Lilies Over Winter
Wintering Hardy Water Lilies
For hardy water lilies, the key to how to over winter water lilies well is to move them to the deepest part of your pond. This will insulate them a little from repeated freezing and unfreezing, which will decrease your water lily's chance of surviving the cold.
Wintering Tropical Water Lilies
For tropical water lilies, after the first frost, lift the water lilies from your pond. Check the roots to make sure that the plant has properly formed tubers. Without tubers, it will have a difficult time surviving the winter. After you have lifted your water lilies from the pond, they need to be placed in water. The containers people use to store their water lilies over winter varies. You can use an aquarium with a grow or fluorescent light, a plastic tub under lights, or in a glass or plastic jar placed on a windowsill. Any container where the plants are in water and get eight to twelve hours of light will work. It's best to store your water lilies bare rooted in the water and not in growing pots. Replace the water weekly in containers and keep the water temperature around 70 degrees F. (21 C.). In the spring, when the tubers sprout, replant the water lily in a growing pot and place out into your pond after the last frost date has passed.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007 and built it up to what it is today.
Pantone’s Color Of The Year 2024 Is A Gardener’s Dream – Discover 7 Flowers That Are ‘Peach Fuzz’ Perfection
The global authority on color has spoken, and 'Peach Fuzz' is the shade we'll all be seeking out in the coming year. Find out why this gorgeous pinky orange deserves a place in your garden, and be inspired by our top flower picks
By Melanie Griffiths Published
15 Garden Trends To Avoid in 2024: Experts Warn Against These Outdated Designs
Garden trends come and go. We asked gardening experts to share the outdated trends that should be retired – and what you can do instead.
By Melanie Griffiths Last updated
Growing The Victoria Amazonica Giant Water Lily
Read about the fascinating Amazonica water lily named for Queen Victoria, whose leaves can stretch as wide as 6 feet.
By Teo Spengler Last updated
Water Lily Problems – Water Lily Pests And Diseases
Even with good care, water lily pests and diseases may become an issue. These are the most common issues and what to do about them.
By Mary Ellen Ellis Published
Red Water Lily Leaves: Reasons A Water Lily Has Red Leaves
What if your water lily has red leaves? The answer is usually simple, and the health of the plant isn’t affected. Learn about red leaves on water lilies here.
By Mary H. Dyer Last updated
Water Lily Weed Control: Learn About Water Lily Management In Ponds
Aquatic plants, such as the water lily, serve many purposes. In addition to creating oxygen, aquatic plants provide necessary habitat for wildlife. However, controlling water lilies (and other plants) is especially important when plant cover becomes too thick. Learn more here.
By Tonya Barnett Last updated
Care Of Water Lilies: Growing Water Lilies And Water Lily Care
Water lilies are the perfect finishing touches for a garden pool or pond. Plants growing in a pond help keep the water clean and aerated, so you?ll spend less time on pond maintenance. Get growing info here.
By Jackie Carroll Last updated