What should I do when I receive my waterlily plant?

Remove any dry or rotten leaves. Do not be alarmed if the leaves have blackened, as fresh new leaves will sprout in a few days. Blackening of leaves is a common occurrence as the plant has been out of water during transit. We recommend that you plant your waterlily immediately on receipt to reduce stress on the plant. If you are unable to plant your waterlily immediately, you may float the entire plant (including roots and leaves) in a bucket of water and place it in shade. Cover it with a damp newspaper to help retain moisture. Note that this is only an interim solution, you will need to plant your waterlily no later than 24 hours from receipt.


What are the different methods of planting a water lily?

There are two methods of planting a water lily. Direct method and pond planter method. Under the direct method, the water lily is planted directly into the pond. Whereas under the pond planter method, the water lily is first planted into a container, which is then placed into a larger pond. Both methods work well and have their owns set of advantages. The direct method is usually sufficient for home gardens. This method offers more room for the water lily of grow and therefore does not require frequent re-potting. The pond planter method is recommended for large ponds and water bodies. You may choose any one of these methods based on your personal preference.

What kind of container should I use to grow my lilies?

You will need a pond made out of plastic or cement. Plastic and cement are excellent at retaining heat, which is essential for water lilies to thrive. Water lilies do well in ponds that are wide and shallow. The ideal size for a water lily pond is one that is around 2 feet wide and 15 inches deep. In general, containers of this dimension are easy to find at your local garden store. While there are no restrictions on the width of the pond, it’s important that you keep in mind that water lilies do not enjoy ponds that are very deep. Therefore restrict the depth of your pond to 15 inches. Check your pond for drainage holes and ensure that they are properly sealed.

Example of a plastic pond – 2 feet wide and around 15 inches deep

How do I plant my water lily?

In order to plant your water lily you will need a pond (see previous FAQ for more details), heavy top soil (red or black), either fresh cow dung or vermicompost to provide nourishment to the plant and NPK fertilizer (power or pellet form.) If you choose to follow the pond planter method, you will also need a planter that is around 12 inches wide and 8-10 inches deep.

To begin planting your water lily, fill the pond with 1 to 2 inches of either fresh cow dung or vermicompost. Water lilies need plenty of nourishment, starting off with a base of fresh cow dung or vermicompost provides nourishment to the plant and assists with flower production.

Next, fill the pond with about 5 inches of top soil and push in NPK fertilizer pellets or mix about a tea spoonful of NPK into the soil.


Using your fingers, tightly pack the soil. Next, hollow out a hole that is about 1-1.5 inches deep at the center of the pond and place your water lily. Spread the roots of the plant and close the hole with soil. Compress to ensure the plant stays in place. Ensure that the crown of the plant (that is the growing tip or the point from where the new leaves or buds emerge) is not covered by soil.


You may add a layer of sand to help keep the water clear.


Now carefully fill the pond up to the brim with water without disturbing the soil surface. You may use a plastic sheet to avoid disturbing the soil. Your water lily is now fully planted.


Allow your water lily 24-48 hours to settle.

The steps involved in planting under the pond planter method are similar to those described above. In case of the pond planter method, you will plant your lily in the planter (instead of directly in the pond) and then lower the planter into your pond.


Where should I place my lily pond?

Place your pond in an area that receives a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight and you will have gorgeous blooms all year round. Sunlight is essential for water lilies, insufficient sunlight will cause your plant to slowly deteriorate and eventually perish.

How frequently should I refill my pond?

The water level in your pond will drop by a few inches due to evaporation. Gently fill the pond to the brim with a few liters of water every two or three days. Avoid disturbing the soil.

How do I keep my pond clean?

Maintaining a water lily pond is very simple and easy. Periodically remove old leaves and spent blooms by cutting them about 2 inches from the surface of the soil to give your pond a neat appearance. Algae and shells are a part of any water garden. Every 10 days, you may run your hand on the inner wall of the pond to remove any algae. Hand pick and discard any shells that may appear.

Should I add fish to my pond?

You may add a pair of guppy fish to the pond, but do not feed the fish as they eat algae and help keep the pond clean. You may also drop an anacharis plant (available at local aquarium stores) for clear water. Remember to prune the anacharis periodically to ensure it does not overtake your pond.

Do water gardens attract mosquitoes?

There are several tips and tricks for killing mosquitoes and ensuring that they are not breeding off your water garden. Adding guppy fish to the pond solves the problem almost instantaneously. Guppy fish aggressively consume mosquito larvae and algae and will keep your pond clean and mosquito free.

May I plant multiple varieties of water lily in the same pond?

Never grow more than one water lily plant in a single container. If you have a large pond you may use the pond planter method to grow a separate plant in each planter. As a thumb rule, remember that water lilies can share the same water, but never the same soil.

What are the different kinds of water lilies?

There are two kinds of water lilies – Hardy water lilies and Tropical water lilies. Tropical water lilies grow from tubers, bear star shaped flowers and are prolific bloomers. Hardy water lilies grow out of rhizomes and bear cup shaped flowers. Though certain hardys do not bloom as profusely as tropicals the flower structure of hardys make them true show stoppers. Both hardys and tropicals are fragrant, come in a full range of colours and are a joy to own and grow.

Which varieties are suitable for someone new to water gardening?

Those new to water gardening are often overwhelmed by the range of varieties available. The colour and variety you choose is purely matter of personal preference as both Hardys and Tropicals are very easy to grow and simple to maintain. Although not a fixed and definitive rule, we generally recommend that those new to water gardening start by growing a tropical water lily. This is because Tropicals tend to bloom profusely and will keep the grower motivated. If you plan to start your water gardening journey with two plants, we recommend that you try growing one Hardy and one Tropical.

What should I do when I receive my lotus rhizome?

You will need to float the rhizome in a tub of water. Lotus rhizomes may only be planted after a few leaves appear. This usually takes between 1-3 weeks. Be sure to place the tub in a location where it receives full sunlight.

Rhizome floating in water:

Rhizome ready to plant after few leaves have sprouted:

What kind of container should I use for growing lotus?

You will need a pond made out of plastic, cement or fiber. These are excellent at retaining heat, which is essential for you lotus to thrive. The ideal size of the pond is as follows:

For large cultivars – Minimum 20-24 inches wide, 12-18 inches deep

For medium cultivars – Minimum 12-18 inches wide, 10-12 inches deep

For small cultivars – Minimum 10-12 inches wide, 8-10 inches deep

If you are unsure about the size of the cultivar that you have purchased, please contact us and we can assist you further.

What type of soil is suitable for planting a lotus?

Lotus must be planted in clayey soil only. No other soil is suitable. Combine 5 parts soil with 1 part vermicompost, add water and mix well. Fill little more than half of the container in which you plan to plant the lotus with the soil mixture. Let it rest for a week prior to planting.


When do I plant my lotus rhizome and how?

As mentioned above, prior to planting, you will need to float your rhizome in water for a week or more until it has sprouted leaves. Then fill little more than half the height of the container with the soil and manure mix as  described in the questions above. Make a trench around the same length and width of the rhizome with the growing tips facing the sky and gently cover the rhizome with a layer of soil. Next add 3 to 4 inches of water. Slowly increase the water level as the plant grows.


What fertilizer should I use on my lotus plant?

When it come to applying fertilizer to your lotus plant you have a few options:

  1. You may push 2-3 NPK fertilizer tablets into the soil every 20 days. These are easily available at any garden store.
  2. Alternatively, you can wrap 1 teaspoon* of water soluble NPK in newspaper and push into the soil once a month. In the case of large cultivars you will need to apply 2 teaspoons, for medium and small cultivars 1 teaspoon is sufficient.

In addition to applying fertilizer, once a month take 1/4 teaspoon of Indophil M45 fungicide, mix in water and then add it to the pond water.

How long will it take for my lotus to bloom?

This is dependent on the cultivar you choose as well as the care you provide the plant with. In general from the time of planting the rhizome you can expect to see the first bloom between 1-3 months. If you have questions about the specific cultivar and how soon they typically bloom please contact us and we can share more details.