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Why do the leaves of water lilies emerge above the water surface?

leaves of water lilies emerge

In summer it may happen that the leaves of water lilies emerge above the water surface instead of remaining flat on it.

This can happen in these circumstances (one or more points at the same time):

  • the plant is not placed at the right depth,
  • the water lily variety is too vigorous for the shallow depth of the pond,
  • it is planted in a too small basket,
  • it has already used up all the available space and there are many rhizomes overlapping each other (bursting basket),
  • not enough sun,
  • too much fertilizer (which makes the plant too vigorous).

In general, to avoid this phenomenon you should choose plants of a size compatible with the available space, both surface and depth.

In any case, there are water lilies that are more or less prone to this phenomenon. In fact, there are some large plants that never produce emerging leaves even if they are placed only 30 cm deep, and then there are small plants that tend to produce emerging leaves even if they are placed 40 cm deep. As always there are exceptions to the rule!

A negative consequence of this situation is that flowering decreases (so many overlapping leaves take light away from the plant).

The possible solutions are (in order from the quickest to the most complex):

  • cutting off some of the leaves;
  • extracting some rhizomes from the basket to free space;
  • dividing and repotting the plant.

You can find more detailed information on how to grow water lilies and obtain a balanced pond in the Guide to Growing Aquatic Plants and in this free Video Course!


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