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Water Lilies

Set your lilies free

Water lilies grow in water up to five feet deep. If your pond is three feet deep, lilies will eventually cover the entire lake. If some of the lake is deeper than five feet, lilies will only grow in the shallow water.

Most storm water ponds are six to nine feet deep. In a lake like this, the lilies will form a charming band around the perimeter. This band of lilies transforms the appearance of a man-made stormwater pond into a more natural looking lake.


Potted or free roaming water lilies

You can control lilies, even in shallow water, by keeping them in containers. This method allows you to fertilize your lilies to produce more blooms as well as control their spread and placement around your lake. Botanical gardens use this technique to create spectacular displays and control lily growth in shallow ponds.


Fragrant water lily


What kinds of water lilies grow here?

Five native lilies thrive here. In addition, many cultivars have been developed in vibrant colors and various sizes of blooms and leaves. All water lilies improve water habitat and add natural appearance to your lake. 


Fish and water lilies

Did you know that fish can get sunburned? They love the shade and cooler water provided by water lily leaves. The underwater ‘forest’ formed by the lily pad ‘canopy’ creates excellent habitat for fish of all sizes.


Native water lilies

Two species of full-sized lilies have always lived in Florida. These are the same lilies you may have seen in many other parts of North America. They are the fragrant water lily and the yellow water lily. The yellow lily is an aggressive grower, spreading across the shallow areas of a lake.


The fragrant water lily, Nymphaea odorata, is usually the best choice for lakes in this area.


Tropical water lilies

These exotic beauties bloom violet, red, purple, tangerine and pink. They often flower more frequently and with bigger blooms than do native lilies. Some of them even bloom at night. These species, mostly cultivated hybrids, are much more expensive and require more care than native species. 


The following web site describes hundreds of aquatic plants:

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants | University of Florida, IFAS (

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