Water lilies display large, shield-like green leaves and showy, fragrant flowers that are available in a variety of colours. A popular aquatic pond plant, water lilies bloom mainly during spring and summer but can remain lively year-round in warm areas.
Two water lily categories exist -- hardy and tropical. Tropical varieties are larger in size overall; flowers vary in shape and are more fragrant and colourful than hardy.
Water lilies are preferably planted in pots or can be placed directly into the soil base of the pond.
Water lilies require approximately five to six hours of direct sunlight, calm water, rich soil (fertiliser optional), proper water depth and pruning to flourish. Hardy varieties bloom in May, once water temperature reaches approximately 15C and become dormant in September. Tropical varieties last throughout the year, consist of both day and night bloomers and need consistent warm temperatures near the 80C mark and so won't grow outdoors in the UK in unheated ponds.
The actual flower appears for just three to five days. The hardy plant will return each year unless your pond freezes solid during the winter.
Remove dead or damaged leaves during the blooming season to help the plant's health and appearance. Hardy water lilies can be harvested in the autumn, properly kept indoors and replanted the following spring, if desired.