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Why is my water lily not growing?

water lily growing

If you are wondering why your water lily is not growing, first of all water lilies need fairly friable field soil to root well and they need fertilizer to grow.

If the soil is hard as stone, and not fertile, the water lily will take much longer to grow. In any case, you should put 5 tablets of Osmocote fertilizer near the rhizome of the water lily.

The combination of good soil + slow-release fertilizer allows the water lily to grow quickly. If both fertilizer or good soil are lacking, it will clearly struggle.

Water lilies do not root in gravel or water. It sounds unbelievable, but I know that some people try to plant water lilies in gravel (???) or throw the rhizome randomly on the water (???).

Also make sure that you have planted the rhizome correctly or that it has not been moved around by the fish, because if the vegetative tip is out of the ground, the water lily cannot take root in the soil. Whether the long and old trunk of the rhizome is well buried does not matter at all. In fact, new roots always spring up under the vegetative tip.

The rhizome must be placed horizontally with the tip (where the leaves sprout) flush with the soil.

Another crucial aspect is that water lilies (and all other aquatic plants) need direct sun in order to vegetate properly. If your water lily is not growing, it may not be getting enough direct sun.

Another issue is the available space and thus the light. In fact, if you place a small water lily next to other very large plants, it is possible that it will not get the necessary light.

Water lilies need at least half a day of direct sun in order to vegetate and flower.

Full sun all the day long = excellent vegetation and flowering,

Full sun for half a day = good vegetation and good flowering,

Less than half a day of sun = stunted vegetation and few flowers.

Having said that, water lilies need a stable temperature to vegetate and flower.

In winter, water lilies do not grow.

In early spring, they only produce submerged leaves that do not reach the surface.

When the temperature reaches 20 degrees, the leaves start to emerge at the surface.

When the temperature reaches 25 degrees, flowering begins.

In autumn, water lilies do not grow and remain still waiting for the following spring.

In addition, if by chance you place the water lily in a pond with a continuous supply of spring water, the water will never reach the right temperature and it will not grow and/or flower.

If it is midsummer and your water lily does not grow, you can add a little more Osmocote fertilizer and then wait. The only side effect of the fertilizer is that the water lilies will produce larger leaves and flowers!

The fertilizer should be placed close to the tip of the vegetating rhizome. If you place the fertilizer far away from the vegetative tip or only on the old trunk of the rhizome, it is completely useless.

Last but not least, in midsummer make sure that the water lilies are not overgrown by submerged plants, as these plants can take light away from the water lilies.

If you have doubts as to whether you have planted the water lily correctly, or in order to stimulate it to grow, you can at any time take it out and replant it again in a new basket, with new soil and new fertilizer.

In this case, when you pull it out, cut off the old parts of the rhizome and keep only the 10 cm attached to the vegetative tip. If there are several tips, remove each one of them from the old parts of the rhizome, so that new plants can be generated.

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


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