Growing The Water Lily and Water Plants

The water lily is the most famous and beloved water plant for decorating ponds. Certainly, there is no surprise that they come in a stunning and awesomely diverse size and colour. Some species, such as the pygmy, need only 250 millimetres of water. Larger ones may demand more or around 1/2 metre. Their colours vary on the spectrum from whites, pinks, reds, oranges, golds, and purples.


Botanists have divided water lilies into two groups by their ideal growing climate, including and limited to temperate and subtropical types.


We find the first group of water lilies in, surprise surprise, temperate climates. They thrive during summer but become dormant (back to bulbs) during winter to withstand the water’s inevitable ice phase. Temperate water lily species, like the Nymphaea tetragona or the ‘pygmy’, carry their cup-like blossoms almost out of the pond floor. The Temperates flower early summer-time as the days pass as the extended solar exposure induces flowering.


We find the second group in hot-summer regions, so any in Australia too hot for the temperate variety. Unlike the former group, the water temperature governs the flowering. Because of this, they flower their out-of-the water flower later on but will keep doing so even as water temperatures moderate.

single water lily
Water lily flowers


The size of the habitat can vary to your pleasure, as long as the water is still or slow-moving as that is what water lilies need to grow. You can make them a potted plant, which is standard for decoration. Like a rose, a cactus, or any other plant, you can feed, care for, divide, move, and repot – though do remember that they are specifically water plants.

Potting and Re-potting

Feed or repot your water lilies at the dawn of each summer or spring for the best budding and blossoming. Water lilies have a big ‘stomach’ and require enough fertiliser for their entire growing phase.

The following is practically the default list of directions for potting water plants. Note: some may need fewer or additional steps, depending on the species’ quirks.

  1. Remove the dirt at the roots gently, and if unavoidable, part them with a fine blade.
  2. Line the container with old newspapers or equivalent material to stop the soil from running off into the pond.
  3. Pack 2/3s of the pot with a mixture of heavy loam*. Then around a tablespoon of fertiliser of your choice or use the water plant food from our store.
  4. Plant the plant and root the roots on the soil.
  5. Top the bottom off, and leave the growing tips sticking out of the soil layer.
  6. Note: if they require feeding but not repotting, give a teaspoon of fertiliser mix and insert it into the container surrounding the roots.


You can follow the similar steps as with any other similar flora, adjust the water depth to suit the plant, and you’re good to go.


* Heavy loam is clay loam or soil with clay. It’s neither sand, potting mix, nor even compost-enriched earth. Water lilies – and aquatic plants in general – require a hard to dig medium to latch on to, which heavy loam or any pre-packaged water plant media provide.


A ‘fin-tastic’ addition to a dam or pond that follows the maxim of ‘form follows function. The fish would free the water from insects or their larvae that nibble away at plants (aphids) or attack humans (mosquitoes), as well as breathing life into the water body. However, avoid any carp (Koi or Giant Goldfish), as they won’t hesitate to eat or uproot your hydrophytes.

Contact us

If any of the steps, tips, or explanations failed to make sense to you, please feel free to contact us to clear things up.

Blooming lotus flower or water lily flower
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