How to Grow Lily Pads


Water lilies are floating flowers that come in pink, red, white, blue, and yellow colors. The flowers sit on top of a wide green leaf, or pad. Underneath the surface of the water, the stem of the water lily anchors the lily pad to the bottom of the lake or pond. They are widely used in aquatic gardens, often serving as the centerpiece, according to the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

  • Heavy potting soil with a high clay content
  • Plastic flower pot or tray 15 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep
  • 10 g fertilizer pellets
  • Trowel
  • Water lily rhizome
  • Gravel
  1. Moisten the water lily rhizome while you prepare to plant it. Water lilies dry out easily and must be kept moist.

  2. Fill a flower pot or tray with potting soil to within an inch of the top. Insert 10 gram fertilizer pellets two to four inches into the soil around the edge of the flower pot. Use the number recommended by the fertilizer pellets’ manufacturer.

  3. Dig a hole in the soil with the trowel, large enough for the water lily rhizome. Dig the hole about three inches down. Insert the rhizome, which is the bundle the roots grow out of, into the hole. Place the rhizome down almost horizontally, with the buds at the highest point.

  4. Fill in the hole and press the soil down around the rhizome. Cover the potting soil with an inch of gravel. The gravel will hold the soil in the container even under water.

  5. Place the grow box into your decorative pond or aquatic garden. If the body of water is smaller than 50 square feet and 18 inches of depth, then you will need to add a filtration system for your lily’s health. The rhizome will put out shoots that grow up to the surface of the water, where it will form a lily pad.

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