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Lilies are often the focal point of most ponds. They are very hardy. The
larger varieties are planted so that there is 12" to 24" of water over the
top of the pot and the smaller varieties under 6" to 18" of water. The
uniqueness of lilies is their ability for the pads to grow to the top of
the water surface no matter the depth.

Each lily pad (leaf) will only live 3 to 4 weeks, and then it will turn yellow. Just a fact of life with lilies. When the leaves do turn yellow simply reach into the water and cut that leaf away. Do the same for the flower buds when they are done blooming. Do not "tug" on the leaf from the top of the water as you can pull the plant out of the pot.
Keep your plants cleaned of fading foliage and flowers to keep organic matter in the pond to a minimum.

Once each year preferably in the early spring, the lily will need to be divided or moved to a larger pot. The method you choose is your preference. How can you tell if it is time to divide or re-pot? If your lily has smaller than usual leaves and few or no flowers, this is indicative that it needs to be divided or put in a larger pot. I have successfully transplanted and divided lilies until mid August and still had them blooms a couple of weeks later. But early spring before new growth starts or just as it is starting is the most preferred time.

Lilies are heavy feeders and in order to bloom well they should be fertilized once a month with a water plant fertilizer tablet. Use your finger or push a small stick down in the soil to make a hole then push the tablet into the hole and cover the hole back up. Be sure to put the fertilizer near the outside rim of the pot and not near the crown of the plant.

The most common problem with lilies is aphids especially later in the summer.
Simply take a garden hose and spray them off into the water where they will
become fish food.

You can spray the leaves with Pam cooking oil and this will suffocate the aphids.

Malathion can be sprayed right in the pond and it is not harmful to the fish either. As a matter of fact Malathion can be used in the pond to kill Flukes. Make sure that the total Malathion used does not exceed more than 2 cc per 1,000 gallons of pond volume. In other words if your pond is 1,000 gallons you can use up to 2 cc of Malathion in a hose end sprayer or tank type sprayer to kill pond plant parasites. If your pond were only 500 gallons of water you would be able to use only 1 cc of Malathion.

If the pond is at least 18" deep, leave the lilies in the pond for the
winter, as they need to have a cold resting period before they will bloom
again. In the fall after hard frost, simply remove the plant from the pond and
remove all leaves, flowers and buds. Drop it back in the pond in the
deepest part. Do not transplant or divide at this time of the year. Plan
ahead to do this early next spring.


Doc: "What's a crown? Is there any way to screw up the division? Where do I make the cuts?"
Bonnie: The crown of the lily is the center of the plant, the central point where all leaves and flower buds emerge from the center of the plant. This crown, called a rhizome, should be planted so that it is horizontally and not vertically in the pot. Do not place dirt or gravel over the crown when potting.

When transplanting you will see little "plantlets" along the rhizome. Use a sharp knife and cut through the rhizome between two of these little plantlets to make another plant. Use ordinary garden soil. Save your money and don't buy commercially prepared pond soil, as it is too expensive. If you must buy soil, then buy a bag of topsoil and mix it half-and-half with your garden soil. If your outside dirt will grow flowers, lawn and vegetables, it will also grow lilies. Be sure to use pea gravel on top of the soil. This little trick will keep the soil in the pot and out of your pond water. It also discourages fish from "rooting" or digging in the pots.

Doc:  "Should I cut off all the lily leaves in the fall?"
Bonnie:  Once cold weather sets in, and the top growth turns black, carefully pull the lily out of the water and trim all leaves and flower buds with pruners at the soil level. Put the lily back into the deepest part of the pond for the winter months.
Doc:  "Once, I planted a Lily and it did nothing but yellow and die. What
could have been wrong? Are they particular about light, shade, or water
 Bonnie: Well, yellowing could be several things, it may need fertilizer. Use plant fertilizer tablets that are labeled for water plants. Use these once a month.
Tip: If you have dogs that are on monthly heartworm preventative, you should remember to fertilize your pond plants at the same time. I have the little hearts that come with heartworm preventative on my calendar. This is how I remember to do both tasks each month.
Yellowing Lilies: If the crown is planted too deep, the leaves will first yellow and then turn black and die. The rhizome will then rot away. Don't mistake the yellowing of an occasional leaf as a problem. Remember each lily leaf only lasts a few weeks, then it dies.
Yellowing Lilies: Lack of sunlight will cause yellow leaves. Lilies need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Doc: "How can you tell the difference between tropical and hardy lilies?
How does their care differ? If you have to do something in winter with
the Tropical, what would that be?"
Bonnie: Tropical lilies are my favorite. The edges are serrated and are usually thinner than hardy lilies. The pads are much larger than hardy lilies. Tropical lilies tend to be heavy bloomers and the colors are totally awesome. The tuber is round shape from the size of a walnut to the size of an egg. Hardy lily rhizomes are long. They like warm water and should not be put in the pond until the water temperature has reached 70 degrees. They are usually very fragrant. And they like shallow water.


More information about Liles
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