The Magic of Water Lilies
July’s flower is the beautiful water lily. There has always been something magical about water lilies and they have been painted, famously by Monet, written about and photographed extensively. The mystique that surrounds them is due in part to their ability to grow in mud and muck and yet their flowers and leaves float effortlessly on the top of the water, quite an amazing task. Nature is full of miracles and the Water lily captures our imaginations because its ability to thrive in difficult environments is miraculous.
Water lilies are part of the Nymphaeceae family of aquatic flowering plants and they can be found in freshwater environments in tropical climates worldwide. There are about seventy known species of water lily and for such an exotic plant they are surprisingly easy to grow in any water feature that you have in your garden. Growing these lovelies will add grace and beauty to your backyard but bear in mind there are two types of water lily one is the tropical variety and they need the water temperature to be at 70 degrees for them to survive. But there is a hardy variety and they happily live in cooler climates, they only bloom during the day unlike their tropical cousins that bloom both day and night.
So here is how to grow hardy lilies and achieve great success:
1.Plant the lilies in a basket with ample space for growth, about twelve to twenty inches is a good size space. Ensure that the soil does not run out if the basket has drainage holes by lining it with landscape fabric or simply a piece of burlap.
2.You need to use a heavy topsoil for planting as potting mix is not dense enough to stay put when the basket is placed beneath the water’s surface.
3. You must fertilize the soil or the water lilies will not thrive, use a fertilizer that is specifically for made for flowering aquatic plants.
4. Cover the top of the soil with gravel or pebbles to keep the soil in place taking care not to damage the lily tuber. Point the end of the lily tuber towards the center of the basket.
Put the basket in the water carefully and submerge it to about 18 inches, the usual requirement for most lilies.
In the fall remove the basket from the pond if you live in a colder climate and cover the water lilies and store them over the winter season. In the spring get rid of any dead leaves and re-submerge the basket for another season of beauty.
So add an air of mystique and magic to your water garden by planting some water lilies, they are true aquatic beauties.