How to Plant a Waterlily

Waterlilies come in a variety of colors and are easy to grow, making them a favorite choice among water gardeners. If you’d love to try your hand at growing these beauties but don’t have a pond yet, you can grow them in a large water-tight container and place them anywhere in your landscape – although they do best in full sun.

Nymphaea Madame Wilfron Gonnere - Hardy Waterlily


Instructions for Planting Hardy Waterlilies

Before putting your waterlily into the pond or a decorative container, you’ll first need to plant it properly into an aquatic planter. Aquascape offers fabric lily planters that are flexible and porous. They also come with small rope handles for lowering into the pond.

Plant the waterlily in an aquatic planter approximately 14” x 7” in size using a proper aquatic potting media. Pour a generous amount of potting media into the aquatic planter. Place the hardy waterlily rhizome at a slight angle (about 45-degrees) with the cut end deeper in the soil and placed at the edge of pot, with the growing tip projecting 3/4” above the surface of the soil. Waterlilies have voracious appetites and will perform best if well fed so be sure to fertilize them.

You’ll then want to cover the top of the soil with washed gravel or small pebbles so the soil doesn’t escape into the water once you set the aquatic planter into your pond or decorative container. Layer the rock or gravel about ½” thick. It’s helpful if you use black or dark gravel so that it’s not easily visible in the water. Now that your waterlily is properly planted in its aquatic planter, you’re ready to place it into pond.



If you’re putting your lily into a container instead of a pond, choose a decorative container specifically designed for container water gardening such as a Patio Pond. That way, there’s no hole to fill in the bottom of the decorative container and you don’t have to seal the insides to eliminate seepage. Choose a container at least 12 to 15” deep with a diameter of 24 to 36”. Fill the decorative container with water before placing the waterlily in its aquatic planter into the container.

Carefully place the fabric planter with your waterlily into the pond or decorative container, slowly lowering it at an angle while the bubbles escape. Tilting the waterlily in its aquatic planter while lowering it into the water-filled decorative container will avoid turbulence.

A Proper Home

Make sure you give your potted container waterlily a proper home. Waterlilies need a minimum of 6 hours of sun. However, they will perform optimally in an area that receives at least 8-10 hours of direct sun. A few shade-tolerant waterlilies will prosper with as little as 4 hours of sunlight.


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