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A field of Chromatella marliacea lilies.

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon 

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Algae Growth on Water Lilies... New pond, and ponder       5/19/17
Greetings, Crew!
It's Fuzzi here, again, with a question I can't find answered on WWM, or anywhere on the web, so I decided to ask!
I installed a 100 gallon preformed pond this April, adding water on April 16th, then adding filtration a week later, on April 23rd.
<So; just a month back>
I'm running a 330gph submersible pump, a skimmer with basket and filter pad, and the waterfall is full of floating plants doing their best to filter out the less-than-clear water, see photos. It is not noticeably green until you collect some in a jar, when a slight yellow/green coloration is evident.
<Happens... a sign of life... not to worry>

Since I added filtration, I have been steadily adding plants in pots, as well as floating plants (water lettuce and hyacinth), and then two hardy water lilies about two weeks ago. The weather has remained cool until recently.
No fish have been added.
I noticed that the water lilies have a green slimy algae-type of growth on their stems and under the pads (see photo).
<See this>
The water tests as uncycled, high (above 7.6) pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates as zero.
<Uncycled... these should be some nitrogen present>
I believe the algae growth is due to new pond syndrome, but would love your input:
1. If the algae growth is part of new pond syndrome, will it pass once the water cycles?
2. Will it hurt the water lilies?
<It will not>
3. If it will hurt the water lilies, what can I do about it?
<Patience at this point. Your pond may well "green out" for a while... best to shade a good part of it>>
The lilies are planted in clay dirt in plastic baskets, with paper lining the inside and pea gravel on top to keep the dirt from leeching out. Each lily has one fertilizer stick shoved down deep in the pot, on the side away from the rhizome.
Thanks for your advice and thoughts on the algae situation.
Fuzzi (Lor)
<Don't get desperate and chemically treat... algicides are toxic; directly and in their effects
. Bob Fenner>

Deer Vs, Water Lily     3/18/17
Greeting WetWebMedia Crew, I'm currently moving to a new property and am transporting a fairly water lily collection over. I've been told by previous owner they have a fair amount of axis deer moving thru property.
Do have any predictions on how the water lilies will fair. The house actually has 2 in-ground ponds and I'm moving some above ground stock tanks over. Do you think the deer will be very attracted to the water lilies or do they have a chance of co-existing without netting and/or fencing?
Thank You
<Mmm; Axis deer will eat water lilies. Whether yours are attractive to this particular bunch though remains to be seen. You'll definitely notice in both cases. Bob Fenner>
Re: Deer Vs, Water Lily      3/19/17
Thank you for reply Bob. I actually dropped off a few stock tanks with water lilies yesterday and wont be back for a few days. I'm hoping once my dogs move onto property they should keep the deer away but in the mean
time, I'm a bit worried. I'll keep you posted with any developments. Thanks for the great site.
<Am with you. Had the local deer eating my Avocado tree leaves... tried the wolf pee product, shiny ornaments... Finally fashioned four by welded wire (for driveways) around them. Then the price of water quadrupled!!! BobF>

Re: Floating islands on dam after killing some waterlilies
Many thanks Bob!
<Welcome. I had many such "mistakes" w/ glyphosate use over the years w/ lilies... due to overspray incidents. Unless yours got a high dose, they should come back. Bob Fenner>

Water Lily vs. Lotus      9/1/15
Greetings Crew, I've noticed my lilies tend to do fairly well but my lotus seems to barely hang on. Do all lotus sleep during the winter months in the tropics
<Yes; as far as I'm aware>
Can you tell the difference in cultivation techniques, mainly in regard to fertilization but any tips would be appreciated. Thanks
<Do you use fertilizer (tabs are best?); I'd feed heavily in Spring and Fall. Bob Fenner>
Re: Water Lily vs. Lotus      9/1/15

Thank you Bob. Yes, I'm using tabs but it seems the lotus shows slight fertilizer burn along edges of pads.
<Burn.... yellow like chlorosis? You may have a deficiency syndrome here.
Does the water have any Fe2 or 3?; What's the pH and hardness measures like?>
The lilies just seem to want to feed and out compete the lotus. Thanks
<I'd have these in different/separate pots/containers. BobF>
Re: Water Lily vs. Lotus      9/1/15

I don't think its a deficiency. It's in a separate planter from the lilies with Bacopa monnieri and the Bacopa is thriving nicely, almost growing aggressively. I'm currently using a complete fert with cal/Mag but will try to switch brands of fert. Can you recommend a good book on water lily/lotus? Thanks Brandon
<I have a few faves (ducks around the other side of his office...); the classic by Perry Slocum comes to mind:
Waterlilies and Lotuses: Species, Cultivars, and New Hybrids

Koi and Water Lilies       8/31/15
Greetings Crew,
I’m revamping my pond and wondering aside from creating a separate grow bed, what are the best ways to prevent my Koi from bothering my lilies.
<A plastic (Naltex is a fave brand) corral to keep them entirely away>
I’m using potted lilies and covering them with rocks, which works to an extent. I don't like the idea of floating rings for ascetic reasons.
<The Naltex poly is a neutral black>
Also what are the best planter boxes for larger lilies or multiply lilies. What are your ideas.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi and Water Lilies; now floating plants for ponds        8/31/15

Thank you Bob. What would be your suggestion on adding floating plants like Azolla, Salvinia or duckweed or should I stick to just lilies?
Thanks again Brandon
<Our business (service) stocked these and other "grasses" as posted on WWM's pond section... again, within floating barriers if there were plant-eating fishes, turtles present. BobF>
Re: Koi and Water Lilies
Thanks for the fast reply. My concern with the smaller floating plants/ferns, it seems I'm always scooping out or getting covered in duckweed and etc. when working in pond. I like the look, just wasn't sure about the maintenance. Thanks
<Most all species of what is sold/considered duckweed are delicious to fishes. Not to worry. B>
Re: Koi and Water Lilies       8/31/15

I can't thank you enough.
<Ah; welcome>

Nymphaeaceae Repotting Question    11/23/14
Greetings Crew,
I was wondering if I could repot some water lilies by simply transferring existing containers (2gal pot) to a larger grow bed, opposed to removing old pots.
<Yes; can be done; though better to re-pot, cut away old/dead parts...>
The lilies are sending out runners thru drain holes in pots. The new grow bed is loaded with fertile soil. Just wondering if the smaller pots will stunt growth or will plants escape from pots just fine?
<I'd remove the Lilies from their existing pots>
Ideally I would like the lilies to grow as large as possible. Thanks for the great site. Aloha Brandon
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tropical water lilies grown indoors     1/16/14
Hi Crew! 
I've been researching growing tropical lilies indoors for some time, and can't find as much info as I'd like.  Perhaps it's just simpler than I'm making it out to be?
<Is indeed. Just add bright light, and bingo!>
Or not reasonably feasible? Or maybe no interest?  Anyway, my intention is to grow a Pygmy tropical lily in a tank branded "aquaplantarium" which is set up with water and air portions so that the lilies can emerge out of the water.
<Have done in a windowsill aquarium... is easy.>
I have a group of Pantodon buchholzi in a 55g tank, they are happy and healthy, but not well presented in such a tank.
<And will jump out of any aquarium without a cover.>
I figure they would do quite well in the "aquaplantarium" with the lily, plus a few other tropical emergent plants (do you have any suggestions?  I was thinking parrots feather?). 
<Pretty much all plants will do well, even better, in an open-topped aquarium or pond. Less so nowadays, but in the 1980s it was standard practise for "Dutch" style planted tanks to be open topped with a large set of lights suspended 30 cm or so above the aquarium. It was necessary then because such high output lights (metal halides for example) were either too big or produced too much heat to be fitted inside a hood. So long as you chose non-jumpy species, e.g., Neons, Angelfish, etc., this approach worked well. Under such conditions many plants will grow above the waterline, and things like Hygrophila look very different went they do this, become the marsh plants they really are, and even produce pretty purple flowers!>
My specific questions are:  what lighting would I need for the lily?
<Something good and strong. Ambient daylight could work if the tank is by a windowsill, but otherwise several strong fluorescent lights or better.>
The tank comes with a strip light with cfl's, maybe four in a row.  Another two strips could be added, I think.
<Likely so.>
Would this be enough for such a high light loving plant?
<Can be. While the "Watts per gallon" measurement has its flaws, it gives a reasonably good indication of where to start from in terms of buying, installing fluorescents. Four T5 tubes running the length of the tank will be a good start. Basically, if the hood/lights were enough for corals, they'd be fine for even the most demanding plants.>
If I had to get a more powerful light, like a metal halide or mercury vapor, is the glass on the top of the tank a problem?
<Yes, too warm, and likely to crack. Do research, buy, use hoods designed specifically for high output lamps.>
Does the bulb need to be open to the air underneath?
<With high output lamps, yes, otherwise overheating is a real risk. Again, research particular hood and lamp combinations. LEDs are cooler, but more expensive.>
I'm not well versed in plant lights, been trying to research it, but am thoroughly confused.  Any help you could offer would be highly
<Hope this helps. Many good books out there!>
Do you know of any articles of growing lilies indoors.
<Nothing specific.>
I'm looking for specifics, how long to cycle the lights each day, what fertilizer to use,  how to coax them to bloom, etc. 
<Do understand they are basically pond plants. Strong water currents tangle up their floating leaves. In aquaria it is traditional to remove these floating leaves, so the submerged leaves are the only ones you see. That's fine for a while, but typically the "bulb" doesn't do well indefinitely like this, so is often replaced every year or so. If you want a pond-like appearance with lily pads and flowers, you'll want a very gentle water current, perhaps even air-powered.>
Thank you for taking time to help,  I appreciate it!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Lily Question    9/15/12
would a 4"w x 3"h pot be large enough to plant a Nymphaea 'Pygmaea helvola' in?
<I'd go w/ something larger... six by... B>
would a 4"w x 3"h pot be large enough to plant a Nymphaea 'Pygmaea ' in?

<Cam, you can try it and be ready to transplant if the root ball gets too big. Basically, you have to make sure the roots don't get choked, just like a plant in the soil.
Read this report on the plant from University of Florida:
By the way, are you aware of the Arizona Aquatic Plant Association? It was started by Rhonda Wilson, who writes the regular planted tank column in Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine.
The club has a good number of members in both Phoenix and Tucson who are familiar with keeping plants in our harsh climate, and a very active online forum.
- Rick>
Re: Lily Question    9/16/12

would a pot that is 7.5" wide x 5" deep work in a 6 gallon pond that is 16"w x 16"d x 7"h?
<At some point, you just have to bite the bullet and go for it. By the way, 16x16x7 is almost 8 gallons, not 6. Still awfully small for the climate. Maybe keep it indoors during summer and take it outside in late September, using a 25-watt heater in the winter. - Rick>

Worm that is eating my water lily      8/14/12
Many thanks for considering this. My water lily is full of holes and, on inspection, I saw thin white worms (almost invisible) on both pad surfaces.
I also noticed them crawling around the edges of the pond close to the surface of my half-barrel pond. They appear to hide in the gaps between the boards of the barrel. They crawl surprisingly quickly.
<Mmm, insect larvae of some sort... are there any adults flying about?>
They are up to 1/4 cm in length. On closer inspection they have forked 'tails' that they appear to paddle with. They have dark heads (possibly red) and a pattern in the same colour on midsection of the upper surface of their white bodies.
I have attached a couple of photos.
I'm very curious to know what they are and what to do to protect my water lilies from being destroyed (over 2/3 of the pads have been eaten).
Many thanks
Mark Allen
<The safest approach is simply to rely on blasting them off early mornings with garden hose/water... and relying on fishes in your system to eat them (platies, American Flagfish, smaller goldfish, Koi)... Up from this are oil (only) sprays like Volck... Search WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Worm that is eating my water lily      8/14/12
I have found it impossible to identify a curious floating entity on my pond. They float around the pond edge, at the base of my reed mace and around the edges of lily pads. They resemble miniature, grey curling leaves.
<Pupae cocoons... after the flies have flown>
On closer inspection they are segmented. When I looked into the pond last night with a torch I was surprised to find white ones floating on the pond (or were they reflecting the light? I'll have to check that one out).
<White ones are newer, still have larvae in them>
I have never seen them change. They crumble or break up if touched.
Perhaps they are clusters of eggs? There is nothing I can find online about these but I have lots of them.
Any ideas?
<Same resp. as last time. BobF>

small pond with water lily leaf damage 5/3/12
Hello! I have a 150 gallon pond in Houston area. We have 10 goldfish and a water lily. There is also a ribbon snake, about 12 inches long. The water lily leaves are torn apart and separated from the plant. I s this the work on the ribbon snake?
<Mmm, doubtful>
This happened last year and we lost the lily. Also, last year we had 40 fish so has the snake been feasting? How do I get rid of him and move him to another pond? Thank you, Fran
<Likely the damage was caused by another predator... a bird, perhaps a mammal... Read here re all:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

water lily leaves 7/18/2010
Dear Sir
Can you please tell me how, ( the process by which), water lily leaves turn back up the right way after my Koi have turned them upside
Thank you
Stan Reed
<Gosh, I don't know... other than to concur w/ you that they indeed do...
IF not flipped all the way over. Is it water tension on the "bottom" surface, and a lack of this on the upper waxy one? Perhaps a quirk/property of the cellulose in the leaves exerting a "this end up" spring tension? Bob Fenner> 

Lilies d'Amour or lilies no more?  9/27/05 We have frontage on a fresh water lake. The lily pads have overtaken the water. We can't swim, boat etc. We've tried pulling them out by hand and with implements but it is evident we are losing the battle. Any ideas? <Mmm, a few... there are chemical herbicides that one can utilize... but these are pretty non-specific... and I don't know what your neighbors might think if you killed their lilies... And there's the issue of legality... where the water might go... irrigation, watering of livestock... There are biological controls, but these might posit the same issues... and then there is/are the manual side... it may come as a "happy surprise" to you to find that there are companies willing to buy your lilies... I would check your phone directories for pond service companies in the region re... and in turn, cast your net further, contact the national pond livestock suppliers (these are listed on WWM)... the cooler weather is upon us... so the lilies will die back... next year? Perhaps a combination scuba training/weed removal classroom....? Bob Fenner>

Water Lily Control Question We have a pond proximately 55 feet by 75 feet, with a depth of approximately one foot around the edges to approximately 7 to 8 feet at the center (it is shaped like a bowl). <How nice!>   We landscaped it with some cat tail on two sides, as well as other pond flowers, and we put a fountain in the center that works from early spring until late fall.   <Okay> Three to four years ago we made a big mistake in planting water lilies on the back/far side of the pond, directly in the ground in the water.  During the first two years the pond looked beautiful with the lilies blooming all summer long in small yellow flowers.  However, last year the water lilies somehow multiplied (perhaps the fountain pump in the center sucked in the seeds and sprayed them out all over) but the lilies spread and covered al of the pond surface area with thick pads of leaves during the summer.  Although this is good for the fish we have in the pond, it gives them shade and food, the pond does not look like what we want it to look like.  You hardly see any water anymore, just the lily pads and leaves. <I see> We try to clean the pond three times during the summer but it I very difficult to do because the water is very deep in the center, it comes above your head, and the only way to clean the pond is to float on a raft and pull out the lilies by hand, which takes a long time and is very hard to do on a hot sunny day. <Have spent MANY hours doing this myself> Do you have any advice for us as to how to put this lily problem under control, perhaps trim or prune them or even destroy them?  Can we use any tools you can think of to cut them 5 to 10 inches under water easily because they come back within a few days and the stem is 6 to 7 feet long under water from the bottom.  Do you know of any company that produces any tools (like weed eaters or grass cutters) that can work under water?  Also, do you know if we don't let them grow above the water and reproduce seeds, would it be possible to prevent them from growing the next season?  Or is there anything you know of (or can direct us to someone who may know) that we can do to put them under control without destroying the life and the fish that are in the pond? <There are gardening hand tools like "Hula Hoes" that can be adapted (longer handles) to cut the lily pad and flower stems near the bottom... and a possibility of diving to hand-remove the tubers... and chemical means (a bit dangerous to all livestock if too much is killed off all at once)... that can be broadcast via sprayer or pellets... even biological control means in some places (triploid carps of a few species)... nothing to just slow down for a season> I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could provide.   Thank you in advance, Blagoj Panovski <Having worked in water feature design, construction, maintenance for several years... I am given to suggest, if the problem is "that bad" that you drain the basin, let dry, and use a power tool (back hoe, skip loader...) to scrape the area clean, start again, with either blind potting the lilies or building berms... likely wire and re-bar, with some concrete/shotcrete... possibly a liner... to control their further expansion. Bob Fenner>

Shade tolerant Water Lilies Are there varieties that will tolerate five hours of a 12 hour sunshine day in the shade? <Yes, most hardies do fine in this arrangement... and a few tropicals... they won't blossom as often or long, but will do so nonetheless> I have a pond with a large old Oak and am told it must go. But I really don't want to lose such an old tree. <Me neither... I would just regularly remove the leaf litter from your oak. This is the real source of possible trouble. Net out the leaves once a week and you should be fine> Do you have any ideas as to where I can find varieties like this? Thanks Bill Richards San Angelo, Texas <Yes. Most all of the mail-order water garden suppliers carry shade-tolerant Nymphaeaceans... Van Ness, Lilypons... use your search engines with the terms: "water garden supplies". Bob Fenner>

Waterlily?  I grow a plant in a pot, which in our country is referred to as 'Waterlily'. I am sure it is not, but I can find neither its Latin name nor its common name.  It has very large roundish leaves and produces one flower a year growing on a long stalk.  Can you please suggest its name?  <Perhaps it is a Nymphaea species... very likely a member of the family Nymphaeaceae... Take a look on the Net with these terms. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon 

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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