Q&A: Water Lilies

Question: Can you suggest some long-blooming plants for my water garden?

Answer: For hardy water lilies, consider the white Nymphaea ‘Virginalis’—one of the first water lilies to come into flower and one of the very last to go dormant in the fall—and the salmon-pink ‘Colorado’.

Two long-blooming, tropical water lilies are  N. ‘Blue Beauty’ and ‘Panama Pacific’. Those bloom during the day. Some good night-blooming tropical water lilies are N. ‘Wood’s White Knight’ and ‘Texas Shell Pink’. Tropical water lilies should begin to flower after three weeks of temperatures over 80 degrees F.

The lotus Nelumbo ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum’ is often the first lotus to start flowering and the last one to stop. Rising above 20-inch-diameter leaves, ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum’ has large double flowers that start out rosy red, change on the second day to pink mixed with yellow and on the third day become creamy yellow-white.

To encourage flowering during the growing season, your water garden should receive at least five to six hours of full sun each day. Fertilize your plants regularly during the summer months to keep them growing and blooming vigorously.

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