Nymphaea 

(nim-fay' ee-ah)

Common name: Water Lily

Family: Nymphaeaceae, Water Lily

Height x width: 6-12" x 1-18' spread depending on cultivar

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: floating, alternate, simple, base deeply cut into 2 lobes; on stems from submerged rhizomes either tuberous or stoloniferous

Flowers: floating or held above foliage and water surface; mostly white, yellow, blue, red and variations through summer with each bloom lasting 3-4 days for hardy types and 6-8 days for tropicals, open in either day (diurnal) or night (nocturnal); may be cup or star-shaped; may be fragrant especially the tropicals which are also nice cut

Hardiness: zones 3-9 for hardy cultivars, zone 10 for tropicals

Soil: organic loam

Light: sun, some tolerate part shade ('Dauben' tolerates most shade)

Pests and Problems: leafspots, aphids, leaf mining midge, waterlily leaf cutter, waterlily leaf beetle (none usually serious); waterfowl such as ducks and geese may feed on plants as can large fish, deer and turtles

Landscape habit, uses: water gardens, ponds, water containers (most require more space to spread, 'Ellisiana' and 'Paul Hariot' are suitable for containers of at least 10 gallons of water)

Other interest: genus name from the Greek nymphe meaning water-nymph, refering to its habitat

Other culture:

plant in baskets placed on pond base with 6-18" of still water covering, some cultivars tolerating deeper

use slow-release fertilizer in basket providing low fertility

water pH should be 6.0-7.0

hardy types should survive if sufficient water above plants to keep from freezing, otherwise and for tropicals lift and store indoors in moist sand and cool

tropicals should have a water temperature of 65-70ºF summer and 50ºF winter

temperate species may need dividing every 3rd or 4th year, tropicals more often.

Propagation: division, rhizome cuttings, removal of young plantlets of viviparous types (those that produce attached plantlets), some types by seed

Species:

Most selections are found in commerce as hybrids, with the following two species sometimes seen in U.S. commerce.

colorata--zone 10, native to Tanzania, light blue flowers to 4" across opening in day

odorata-- Fragrant Water Lily, Pond Lily; zones 3-10, native to eastern U.S., white flowers opening in day, fragrant
 
 

Cultivars:

Of the over 100 cultivars currently found in U.S. commerce, the following are the most frequently seen. Group refers to: tropical day-blooming (TD), tropical night-blooming (TN), hardy (H, day blooming).
 
Cultivar group flowers foliage
'Afterglow' TD pink, orange, yellow combined green
'Albert Greenberg' TD rosy yellow strongly speckled
'Attraction' H red dotted white, pink sepals, large large
'Blue Beauty' TD deep blue, gold center, black sepals large, long lobed, wavy 
'Charlene Strawn' H yellow, scented, held high green
'Chromatella' H primrose yellow green
'Comanche' H orange to copper, small, held high purple when young
'Dauben' TD periwinkle blue green speckled
'Director Geo. T. Moore' TD deep violet, gold centers, large small, blotched
'Ellisiana' H claret, small, profuse, early green
'Evelyn Randig' TD magenta-rose, large, fragrant, erect dark green, purple stripes
'General Pershing' TD deep pink, large,fragrant, 1' high large, pink tinted purple
'Gladstone' H snow white, large, thick petals dark red, rounded
'Gloire de Temple-sur-lot' H pink aging white, double large
'Golden West' TD light orange to apricot light green, large, mottled
'Hollandia' H pink, large, double, fragrant green
'James Brydon' H metallic red, large, scented, double large, tinted purple
'Leopardess' TD cobalt blue, scented dark green, brown spots
'Mrs. Geo. H. Pring' TD white, star-shaped, scented large, blotched brown
'Panama Pacific' TD deep plum, gold stamens bronze, red veins
'Paul Hariot' H yellow to bronze red, small, scented mottled
'Pink Beauty' H pink fragrant green
'Pink Perfection' TD rose pink strongly mottled
'Pink Sensation' H pink, star-shaped, held high rounded, large
'Red Flare' TN vivid red, star-shaped, fragrant mahogany
'Rose Arey' H rose pink, large, star-shaped, fragrant tinted red
'Sioux' H yellow to peach to orange-red bronze
'Splendida' H ruby red, orange stamens dull green
'Sunrise' H bright yellow, scented elliptic, brown marked
'Virginalis' H white tinted pink, semi-double tinted purple
'Yellow Dazzler' TD lemon yellow, star-shaped, held high large
       


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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