Creating a Gorgeous Pond With Water Lilies

A pond is a classic and beautiful accent for your yard. Whether you already have a pond or are planning to create one, you should consider adding features that add decoration and help your pond function better. Water lilies are an especially beneficial addition to your pond, as they add an amazing aesthetic as well as making your pond a healthier environment for fish. You may be surprised by how easy it is to get a pond that looks like it is straight out of a Claude Monet painting. Here's how to get great results from water lilies and other additions to your pond.

Aiding the Health of Your Pond

Water lilies help create a more suitable environment for koi or other creatures you are trying to establish in your pond. Koi fish greatly benefit from having areas to shelter in. Not only do shady spots help keep them cool, but aquatic foliage mimics a natural environment for them. Foliage provides a safe haven for smaller fish and creates a more comfortable habitat for larger ones. Aquatic plants can also help sustain a healthy pond by acting as a natural filtration system for the water by soaking up excess nutrients that cause algae bloom. The added shade also reduces algae growth, keeping everything cleaner in general.

Water lilies are safe for fish and are not generally considered to be poisonous like land-growing lilies. You should be mindful of pets such as dogs as cats though, as some species of water lily may still be toxic when ingested and can pose a risk to curious critters.

Choosing Lilies

Water lilies belong to the genus nymphaea. Many varieties of these beautiful flowers have been cultivated and bred into the varieties you commonly see decorating water gardens, while others occur naturally as they are in the wild. There are 74 known species belonging to the group, nymphaeales, all growing in freshwater. While some species may grow and bloom completely underwater, the classic lily pad that floats on the surface comes in its own array of varieties that range greatly in size and color. Two types of water lilies that are common and tend to do quite well in ponds are known as hardy water lilies and tropical water lilies.

Hardy water lilies have waxy-looking leaves that are tough enough to withstand some currents or even waves. They need some space to spread out, but once they have established themselves they often produce beautiful flowers held high above the water in the spring and summer months. Their blossoms are magnificent, opening up in the daytime hours and closing at night. Tropical lilies tend to be more fragrant and may be slightly more fragile than hardy lilies. They are also slightly different in that they come in both night-blooming and day-blooming varieties. You should keep in mind that tropical lilies tend to take more effort to maintain. They also benefit from warmer water temperatures.

Establishing Lilies

Lilies can be easily planted in the bottom of your pond by placing them in a pot with no holes in the bottom and submerging the pot beneath the water. Keep in mind that fertilizers can be harmful to both lilies and fish, so you should only use plain soil when planting the lilies. You may want to add a layer of gravel to the top of your pot to keep everything better anchored once it has been placed. An alternative option to pots can be planting the lilies directly in pockets at the bottom of your pond. Both of the lilies discussed above can grow well in pond water and can be successfully planted and maintained in many parts of North America.

Lilies benefit from receiving a lot of sun. If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, hardy lilies will noticeably die-off as the weather starts to cool; however, as long as the lower stems and roots are buried well enough to avoid freezing, you should notice quick regrowth in the spring that refills your pond with floating leaves and flowers. If you are growing tropical lilies, you may need to remove the tubers of the lilies in the fall and replant them in the spring in order for them to survive. In warm or temperate areas, lilies may stay alive and thriving all year long. Water lilies do best when planted in ponds that have already been established. If you are curious, you can find more information about how to properly care for them by consulting

Adding Other Accents

Lilies do best in still water, but they can still be used alongside water accents such as gentle water fountains or falls as long as they are planted strategically. Keep in mind that extreme currents or gushing water may stunt the growth of your lilies and cause them to struggle. Avoid trying to plant directly in a current. Lilies generally grow into the space they are planted, making them a good option for both large and small ponds as they self-adjust to fit.

While lilies may be among the most popular aquatic plants for ponds, there are a large variety of other options that you may also consider. While some of these may work alongside lilies, you should ensure that you are not overplanting your pond and causing your plants to outcompete each other. Horsetail reeds and Creeping Jenny may be good options to use around the edges of your pond to add more fullness to the shoreline. You should maintain them and trim them back periodically to prevent them from taking over.

Accenting Your Pond With Lilies

Water lilies are a popular choice for a reason. They help make the pond a better environment for fish while also keeping things clean. They are also a very suitable plant for beginners, especially when the hardy variety is selected. With proper care, most lilies can thrive for many years and continue to beautify your pond with big, bold blooms that pop up during the whole spring and summer. If you've been considering adding plants to your pond, water lilies are a great place to start. Start looking into lilies at to begin growing magnificent flowers.

A Guide To Adding Water Lilies to Your Backyard Pond

Are you doing some summer landscaping? Water features are increasingly popular for creating gorgeous lawns that you'll want to spend hours relaxing in. Many people even add koi ponds as a way to create interest in their space and even have outdoor "pets." Of course, koi fish need the right environment to thrive in, and that means water plants. Hardy water lilies (genus nymphaea) are an excellent choice. They thrive in nearly any environment, create purple-flowered lily pads, and are quite easy to take care of. All you need is a bit of guidance to get started!

Benefits of Adding Water Lilies to Your Pond

Adding water lilies to your koi pond is beneficial for several reasons, and not lease of all is because these floating plants are animal- and fish-friendly. Although typically planted during warmer months, water lilies can live through a wide variety of temperatures and weather patterns, making them a popular choice for all regions of North America. Additionally, because they cover much of the water's surface, lilies are perfect for sheltering your koi from the sun's heat and birds or other natural predators. Finally, the lilies have gorgeous purple flowers that add beauty to your landscape.

How To Plant Water Lilies

Proper planting is essential if you want your water lilies to thrive. Water lilies grow quickly and need to be planted in the largest pot you can find to avoid stunted growth. If you're planting different varieties of the lilies, consider flexible aquatic planters for the best results.

The right soil and fertilizer are just as important as the pots you use. Water lilies prefer heavy soil or pure clay, although a clay topsoil mixture is also acceptable. Avoid pea gravel, which provides a chance for the fertilizer to leach into the pond water and cause algae on the bottom. Use a special aquatic plant fertilizer with a higher amount of phosphorus for rooting and forming buds. Fertilization should occur as soon as you see the first few leaves on the water, usually in the early spring.

The planting process is quite simple. Fill the bottom third of the post with soil, packing it down tightly as you go. Add fertilizer, then place the lily's roots into the bottom of the pot. Position the tuber at the pot's edge and aim the growing tip toward the center of it. Fill in the pot just past three-quarters full with more soil, tightly packing as you go. Top it off with gravel, which prevents fish from getting into the soil and causing cloudy water. Finally, slowly sink the pot into the water until the top is even with the water level. After a couple of minutes, air pockets will escape, at which point you can put the pot into its final position.

Caring for the Lilies in Your Koi Pond

You'll need to provide regular care for your water lilies after you plant them. The most important thing you can do for your plants it to remove any old leaves and roots as needed each season. During spring and summer months, provide fertilizer at least once a month, and use fabric mesh over the top of the pot to keep any exposed roots safe. Keep in mind that your lilies need at least eight hours of sun each day, so ensure you plant them in spots that get plenty of natural light. Finally, remove yellow leaves as needed and cut off older leaves to the tuber before the first frost each winter. When properly cared for, you can keep your water lilies in the pond even during the winter months and rest assured they'll bloom just as beautifully the next season.

How To Keep Koi From Eating Your Water Lilies

One problem you could see if you put water lilies in your koi pond is the tendency for the fish to try to eat them. For this reason, you'll need to take preventative measures. Perhaps the easiest one is to increase the quality of the food you provide and how often you give it to your koi. Purchase a high-quality food that provides the nutrients your current feed may be missing, or if their nutrient take is already good, switch to one with more wheatgerm, which will keep them feeling full for longer. You can also feed them more often, but remember not to give more than they can eat in a five-minute span. Otherwise, they won't eat it and it will settle into the bottom of the pond.

You can also purchase koi plant protectors. These bag-like structures are made of mesh and are open at the top. The weighted bases are narrow, which keeps fish from being able to make their way in to eat the roots of your lilies. The top is still open enough that your lilies can flourish without being fed on.

What To Do if Lilies Become Overgrown

The downside of protecting your water lilies from your koi is that the plants may start to become overcrowded. You'll need to take special measures if this happens. When lilies begin to grow on top of each other, it prevents oxygenation, which can suffocate the plants and even your fish. In fact, if you have koi, at least 30% of your pond should be free of plants altogether. If your plants are too crowded in their pots, you'll need to divide them. However, if you just need to thin the leaves, you can use a sharp set of plant nippers to do it. Cut about one-third of the leaves from each plant, reaching as far under the surface of the water as you can. Start with yellowing ones before moving onto healthier leaves. This method will help your lilies to create even more beautiful blooms for your water garden.

Claude Monet famously painted "The Water Lily Pond" in 1899. Chalily can help you bring that painting to life in your own backyard. Our professionals can answer questions and even help you design, construct, and maintain your lily pond. Contact us today to learn more about our water gardens and how we can help you!

Accent your Koi Pond with Live Aquatic Water Lilies

If you want to set the stage for your backyard to be a perfect, serene oasis, a relaxing koi pond can help give you that peacefulness. With Chalily, we can help you create a tranquil and beautiful pond design that incorporates nature and unique water features. Our advice gives koi pond enthusiasts simple ways to make their ponds more elegant. Consider adding live aquatic water lilies to your koi pond to make it more lush and enjoyable.

Water Lily Facts 

Water lilies make a gorgeous addition to a koi pond. The scientific species name for the water lily is genus nymphaea. They are hardy enough to survive during the fall and winter seasons, giving you enjoyment year after year. In the spring and summer, from May to September, the water lily blooms. There are species in a variety of different colors like yellow, pink, orange, white, purple and blue. Some varieties feature multiple colors and flowers of different shapes and sizes.

If your pond houses several koi fish, water lilies even benefit the aquatic creatures inside. The main bonus the fish get is increased oxygen in the water from the plants. Water plants may also help reduce the amount of algae in the pond and allow it to have a brighter, clearer appearance.

In the height of the summer heat, the water lilies also provide much-needed shade for the pond's inhabitants, keeping them cool and comfortable. Additionally, during the fish breeding season, the water lily's surface is a preferred spot for females to attach their eggs.

Hardy or Tropical

The most common types of water lilies are hardy and tropical varieties. The hardy water lily primarily blooms from the middle of spring to late spring. Its flowers may be peach, orange, pink, white or red. The greenery of this plant features a durable round-shaped leaf that stays on the surface of the water and provides excellent shade to the fish under the surface.

The tropical variety of water lily blooms a little later and for a longer period of time than its hardy cousin. Tropical water lilies also may need warmer water to thrive. Their leaves are pointier than the hardy species and may grow to be larger than the hardy type. 

Night or Day Bloomers   

Besides choosing the type of bloom and color of your water lily, you may also opt for a tropical lily that flowers during the night or the day. Hardy water lilies only bloom during the daylight hours. Tropical water lilies may bloom in the day or at night. Night bloomers usually come in shades of red, pink or white. They may start blooming in the afternoon and close the next morning. The night blooming varieties are also more fragrant than their day counterparts.

Growing Water Lilies

To start growing water lilies, all you need is soil, a container and your favorite water lily tubers. It's best to start growing water lilies outside of the pond and eventually transfer them to the water once they're ready. You can start with a shallow tub or container and plenty of soil to fill it up with.

Before planting the water lilies, you'll need to make sure your container doesn't have drainage holes or is lined with burlap to keep soil from clouding your pond later on. Choose heavy garden soil that doesn't have any toxins that could be harmful to the fish in your pond. When planting the water lilies, make sure you look over the tubers for any debris or dead roots. Cut them away before submerging the tuber into the soil. To keep the soil secure, layer some rock or pea gravel over it.

Transplanting the Lilies

Once you're ready to move your lilies into the pond, you'll transfer the entire container. You'll have to lower the potted plant into the right spot of your pond carefully at an angle. It's best to keep the bottom of the pot about 12 to 18 inches deep. Doing so will allow the leaves and blooms of the water lily to gently float to the surface of the water. If this isn't possible because of the structure of your pond, you may need to build a shallow ledge to house your water lily plants.

Helping the Plants Thrive

Water lilies are at their most beautiful when they are thriving and healthy. There are some easy steps you can take to ensure your plants look great and grow gorgeously. Periodically feed your water lilies with a tablet specifically for water lily varieties. It's best to place the tablet in the plant's soil, which may require you to remove it from the water temporarily. Additionally, some water lilies may grow crowded and expand too much over the surface of your pond. Take time to prune the plant and keep it from getting out of control. Ensure your plant gets plenty of sun and the water temperature is ideal for the species. 

Getting Ready for Winter 

When September hits, it's time to start thinking about how to winterize your water lilies so they survive the next year. If you live in a climate that has your pond freezing over completely, it's best to remove the water lilies and care for them outside of the pond. You can bring your plants inside or keep them in a cool, moist environment. For ponds that don't freeze, keep the plant at the lowest point in the pond where it could get the most insulation. When spring comes around again, repot the water lily in fresh soil.

Enhancing Your Pond 

The beauty of water lilies gives you a way to create a scenic setting straight out of a Claude Monet painting. Picture-perfect lily pads and lush blooms will give your pond a new, brighter look. A pretty pond gives a simple outdoor space some new vitality and interest. Water lilies provide color, greenery and comfort to your garden and your koi fish under the water.

Want more customized tips and advice about making your koi pond beautiful? Send us a message or a request for our help with your pond. We offer garden pond design services that will help you make your dream pond a reality.

Accent your Koi Pond with Live Aquatic Water Lilies

Your koi pond may be a lovely accent to your outdoor space with its colorful fish, and there are a lot of ways you can enhance it. Turning your pond into a water garden is simple if you know which plants will thrive in an aquatic environment. One of the most popular additions to any outdoor pond is a set of water lilies. The famous French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, absolutely adored water lilies and painted them quite frequently, in part because they present a cascade of vibrant colors. Lilies also a layer of protection to shelter your koi fish from the dangers such as inclement weather, stray cats and predatory birds.

Water Lily Basics

All water lily plants are of the genus nymphaea, and you may see them being sold under this name in some stores. Seeds take root in the soil at the bottom of ponds, and most of a water lily's mass is under the surface of the water. The blossom and lily pad open up on the water's surface where it can absorb more sunlight and be pollinated. There is a great deal of variation among water lily species, with some growing as big as 25 square feet and being able to support the weight of a fully grown person, and others being miniature. You can find water lily blossoms that are orange, blue, purple, white, pink, red, yellow and even some that are combinations of these colors.

Hardy Water Lilies vs Tropical Water Lilies

While each species of water lily is unique, the genus nymphaea can be separated into two main groups: hardy and tropical. Tropical water lilies require 80-degree temperatures for at least three weeks to bloom to their full size. These plants are native to tropical regions, but they can do well if you live in a warm part of the country. Tropical water lilies tend to produce a more impressive fragrance, and most of them grow to larger sizes than their hardy cousins. Tropical water lilies can grow blue or purple blossoms, which you will not find with the hardy variety.

While the lily pads of tropical water lilies can take many different shapes, sometimes with jagged or ruffled edges, hardy water lilies all have circular leaves with smooth edges. Hardy lilies can survive through the winter as long as they stay below the pond ice, which is more likely if you have a deeper pond. When spring comes, they will start to bloom as long as the water temperature consistently stays at 60 degrees, and they usually bloom earlier than the tropical variety. A unique aesthetic appeal of hardy lilies is that some are changeable, meaning that they change color over the course of three or four days during which they are blooming.

How to Plant and Maintain Tropical Water Lilies

Be wary that if you live in a region where it snows, tropical lilies are likely to perish after a few touches of frost, even if they remain below the pond ice. You can still keep tropical lilies if you live in such a place, but you will have to make sure to remove the pots from the pond and keep them in a greenhouse when the weather starts to get cold. Planting them in early spring is best, and you can expect them to bloom within four weeks of being planted if you fertilize them once or twice a month. The roots need lots of room to spread, so you'll want to seed in tubs that hold between 15 and 20 quarts.

It is crucial to check the water temperature before you plant tropical water lilies. You must wait for the water to stay at a steady temperature of 69 degrees before submerging the tubs. Failing to do so could throw the lilies into dormancy, preventing them from growing. It can even be fatal to the most delicate varieties.

How to Plant and Maintain Hardy Water Lilies

Hardy water lilies can survive through the winter, but if your pond is shallow, you may need to take them out to save them from the frost. Unlike tropical lilies, which fare better in a greenhouse over the winter, hardy lilies like to be kept in a cool (but not frigid) area, covered with a damp cloth. Hardy lilies produce new leaves throughout the season, and you can help them to grow healthy by occasionally removing leaves that yellow and begin to wilt off. Stop fertilizing early in autumn, and remove two-thirds of the foliage after the first frost.

Smaller varieties can be planted in 9-10 quart pots, but you may expect to use pots of up to 20 quarts, depending on the species you choose. These lilies grow much faster than the tropical ones, and you may start to see blossoms peeking above the water within the first week. The best time to plant them is when the first chill of spring has subsided. Make sure to use pots that have no holes in them.

Setting Up Your Pond for Water Lilies

If you want your lilies to thrive, it is important to monitor the temperature of your pond and keep the water free of contaminants such as animal waste and garbage. Pond filtration and pump devices can help to cycle the water and keep it fresh, which makes your koi fish happier as well. You may also want to explore pond treatment products. Algae can sometimes propagate in a koi pond, and a significant algal bloom can block sunlight from reaching your delicate lilies. You can also find products that dechlorinate the pond water after cleaning, and beneficial bacteria packs to help maintain a healthy, natural ecosystem in your pond.

All of these items, as well as the actual lily seeds, can be found online for your convenience. Our store at Chalily has a wide range of aquatic plants, including oxygenators, floaters, lily likes, lotuses and of course, water lilies. See for yourself what we have available when you browse our online store. Our experts are also happy to consult with you about your pond's specific needs and any other questions you may have.