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How to Plant Lily Pads in a Pond (Care & Grow Guide)

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If you're serious about making your pond more pleasing to the eyes, then hardy Water Lilies (Nymphaea) are the perfect addition!

Aside from the great aesthetic values of the colorful flowers and floating green pads, planting water lilies can also keep your pond healthy. Pond fish and other wildlife stay sheltered under the shade of the plants, and they block out sunlight that fuels algae growth helping to keep pond water clean and clear.

Hardy water lilies can survive in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 11 and are considered perennial plants. However, this depends on the specific cultivar and species.

For instance, the hardy North American species can survive in the colder zones during winter, but the tropical species cannot and must be lifted into an indoor space.

How to Plant Lily Pads in a Pond (Care & Grow Guide)
Live Water Lilies Rhizomes (Tubers) | Pre-Grown Hardy Lilies

Live Water Lilies Rhizomes (Tubers) | Pre-Grown Hardy Lilies

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Lily Pad Quick Look

Common Names

Water lily, waterlilies, pond lily

Plant Type

Floating plant

Light Requirements

Full Sun to Partial Sun

Hardiness Zones

USDA 4-11

Bloom

Spring to Frost

Grow Up To

Varies

Flower Color

A range of colors including orange, pink, red, white, yellow, purple, blue

How To Plant Lily Pads In A Pond

The first step in planting lily pads in your pond is to get the right materials. These include aquatic plant fertilizer, planting media, and a planting tub.

Planting Instructions

  • Start by filling the planting pot with clay-based planting material and clay/soil mix – 2 inches each.
  • Introduce a 3-4 inch layer of aquatic planting media on top.
  • The tuber is best planted in a horizontal position, such that you have the base root end positioned near the tub wall, while the growing tip is pointing upwards and towards the center. When placing the tuber into the soil, ensure that the depth is just enough to anchor the tuber while keeping the growing tip above the planting media.
  • You may place a light layer of rock or gravel on top of the planting media (this is optional).
  • Finally, transfer the planting container into your pond or water garden, with the water surface level at 3-6 inches above the stem’s growing tip.

Lily Pad Care Guide

It is recommended that you trim or prune the leaves and flowers of the lily pads when they turn yellow or brown. Remove all the trimmed parts completely from the water to minimize any excess organic material in your pond. Your water lily will keep growing all season long with regular fertilization.

For winter care, trim your water lilies that are in planting containers or plant shelves down to 1-2 inches and lower them into deeper water.

If you have submerged your water lily plants for winter, be sure to bring them back up immediately once the ice has thawed and before there is any growth. You may leave your lily pads as-is during winter if you are in zones 6 and warmer.

Tip: If lily pads start to take over your pond, check out our guide on how to get rid of lily pads in a pond naturally.

Live Water Lilies Rhizomes (Tubers) | Pre-Grown Hardy Lilies

Live Water Lilies Rhizomes (Tubers) | Pre-Grown Hardy Lilies

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Can you plant lily pads in a pond?

Yes, lily pads make a great addition to a pond! To plant, fill the planting tub with 4 inches of soil/clay mix and then 3-4 inches of aquatic planting media. Place the tuber in it horizontally and lower it into the pond with the water surface level 3-6 inches above the stem’s growing tip.

See the planting instructions above for a more detailed explanation.

Are lily pads bad for ponds?

Lily pads can be a great addition to your pond when planted in moderation. Pond animals, including koi and other pond fish, enjoy adequate shelter from the plants. Likewise, they block sunlight from hitting the pond, thus preventing algae growth.

Do lily pads die in winter?

No, they do not. Hardy water lilies can survive outdoors during winter in hardiness zones 4-11. However, if you are in colder areas, it is recommended that you trim the plants down and submerge them in deep water. You should bring them back up immediately after the ice has completely thawed and before any plant growth.  You can leave your water lilies as-is if you are in zones 6 and warmer.