Nymphaea x daubenyana: Water Lily

If you wish to establish a paludarium or own a large pool and are looking for suitable plants to put there you will generally not be satisfied with mere foliage plants but will look for species with attractive flowers, ending up with those whose flowers are the loveliest of all — the tropical water lilies.

The hybrid, derived from the crossing of Nymphaea micrantha (syn. N. vivipara) and N. coerulea, is perhaps the most suitable for small pools. If it is provided with little nourishment and kept in shallow water then its leaves will remain small, only about 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, and the flowers, barely 3 to 5 cm (VU to 2 in) across, will give great pleasure.

Water lilies are very demanding plants as regards food and need many nutrients for full development. The compost should be composed of good loam, compost and sand and to this should be added both organic and inorganic fertilizers. Some well-rotted cow manure may also be put on the bottom of the container in which the rhizome is put after being overwintered in a cool spot in mud or in a plastic bag filled with deep damp moss. The container should not be too small — big enough for a sufficient supply of nutrients for the entire growing season.

This applies chiefly to the larger species, which can be used if you have a large heated pool indoors or in a greenhouse. The available choice is a wide one, two of the best being Nymphaea capensis zan-zibarensis ‘Bagdad’ with numerous blue-violet flowers about 15 cm (6 in) across; and N. colorata from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, which bears a profusion of pale blue flowers, or its cultivars and hybrids.

The water for all the species and cultivars should be at a temperature of about 25°C (77°F), which in small paludariums may be provided with a standard heating element used in aquariums.

Water lilies may be propagated from seed, which must be fresh, or (in the case of cultivars where the seeds would not come true) by cutting up the strong rhizome. The hybrid is viviparous, in other words, young plantlets grow from adventitious buds on mature leaves.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nymphaea x daubenyana: Water Lily

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