Thursday, July 26, 2007


This is probably my favorite waterlily of all the ones we grow. The color in the picture looks a little light to me, but it is a lovely rich peach color and just blooms and blooms and blooms. It had been eaten by a snapping turtle last year and wasn't too happy, so this year it got it's own pond and has responded wonderfully. It is a full sized water lily and so needs room to grow, but is perfectly hardy. Unlike most of the non-tropical ones, it holds it's blossoms up in the air just like the tropical waterlilies do. Although they need space to spread out, they don't need a really deep pond. In zone 6 at least, and farther south, 30" of water is plenty. The crown of the plant needs 6-12 inches of water over it. We fertilize with fruit tree spikes once a year in the spring. Our waterlilies are planted in large, flat pots that remind me of miniature kiddie wading pools that are about 2 feet across, but only about 8 inches deep. You can just let them loose in the pond, but pond gardening is easier if they are in pots. We can rearrange them and even take them out if we need to make repairs to the pond liner - something we would have a really hard time with if the plants were growing in the muck at the bottom of the pond.
If you don't have the space for a large pond, this little lovely is Tetragona alba. It will happily grow in a large tub on the deck or as one of several miniatures in a small pond. the flowers are silver dollar sized and prolific. It is the first to open in the morning and the last to close at night. Though tiny and delicate, it is every bit as hardy as it's larger cousins. If you're planning a pond project, just remember that koi and waterlilies are not good companions. Unless the waterlilies are caged, the koi will have them for lunch. Goldfish are fine and won't bother them at all, but koi are hard on plants. Snapping turtles will also eat waterlilies, and they should be caged if snapping turtles are a potential problem in your area. Both miniatures and full sized waterlilies come in a rainbow of colors, though blue is only available in tropical ones. We kept a small tropical in the greenhouse over the winter and put it back out this spring. It lives in a old fashioned bathtub. It had to get a screen over the top because the deer wanted to eat it. No one ever said that gardening wasn't an adventure!

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