How to Grow Water Lilies

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Things You'll Need

  • 12 to 18 inch basket

  • Burlap

  • Topsoil

  • Pea gravel

  • Fertilizer spikes

  • Plastic

How to Grow Water Lilies. Underwater plants not only add color and beauty to a pond, but they help prevent algae growth as well. Water lilies are one of the more popular aquatic plants as they are fairly easy to grow. When choosing lilies, keep in mind there are two basic types. Tropical water lilies bloom day and night, but need water temperatures over 70 degrees. Hardy lilies, which only bloom during the day, thrive in just about any environment. So for most water gardeners, hardy lilies are the best choice.


Step 1

Choose a 12 to 18 inch wide basket for planting your lilies. If it has drain holes in the bottom, line it with burlap so the dirt doesn't come out when you lower the basket into the water.

Step 2

Fill the basket three quarters full with a heavy soil mix, like topsoil. The light potting mix you use for indoor plants will float out of the basket when it's submerged.

Step 3

Press several fertilizer spikes into the dirt in various places to help feed the lilies through the growing season. Water lilies won't bloom without a heavy dose of fertilizer so be sure you use a type made specifically for flowering aquatic plants.


Step 4

Place the lily tuber near the edge of the basket with the growing end pointed into the center of the container. Then cover it by filling the rest of the basket with a thick layer of pea gravel. This will keep the dirt in the basket once it's lowered into the water.

Step 5

Submerse the basket carefully and slowly into the water holding it at a bit of an angle. This will help air escape while it's being lowered. Most lilies should be planted at a depth of 18 inches, but check the growing requirements for your particular species to be safe.


Step 6

Pull the lilies out of the pond, basket and all, in the late fall if they're located in an area where the pond will freeze over winter. Wrap them up in plastic and store in a cool place over the winter. When spring comes, pull off dead leaves, fertilize and place back in the pond.


Water lilies should be divided every couple of years depending on the container size. The smaller it is the more frequently it's required.