Tropical water lilies are amongst the most highly desired plants for ponds in warmer climates, preferring water temperatures above 24°C. These magnificent plants produce flowers that stand up to 30cm high, out of the pond water. Some of the flower colours range from pinks to reds, whites and yellows, but also some of the richest purples and blues.
Most tropical water lilies flower during the daylight hours, but there are some that flower during the night. See night flowering. The flowers are often perfumed with a hint of vanilla, sometimes ginger or a light citrus. Many varieties show off their real beauty, producing an abundance of flowers, often with multiple flowers blooming at the same time.
The leaves of hardy water lilies tend to have smooth rounded edges, whereas tropical water lilies produce leaves with toothed or scalloped edges. Many tropical water lilies produce coloured leaves that are often streaked with splashes of purples, maroons or browns. Their leaf spread is generally greater than those of the hardy water lilies and so perform better in medium to large ponds (>1.5m).
Can I grow tropical water lilies in colder climates like victoria and tasmania?
The answer is most definitely YES!!!!
At Oz Watergardens we have trialled and successfully grown many varieties of tropical water lilies. There are, no doubt, some varieties that will not survive. We found that out, the hard way. But, we have discovered a number of cold tolerant varieties that do survive the colder conditions and even the ponds freezing over. One of the best performing and most cold tolerant varieties that we have come across is a deep yellow variety called Nymphaea ‘ St. Louis Gold’. This is a prolific flowerer and is great for the smaller ponds.
What if I want varieties of tropical water lilies that are not cold tolerant?
here is also the option of growing some tropical water lilies and replacing them as you would for other garden annuals. Some of the most striking foliage, enticing flowers and beautiful perfumes can still be grown and enjoyed. The plants may not survive the cold of Winter, but the real value comes from the fact that they can potentially produce 4-5 times more flowers than many of the hardy water lilies.
Most people spend more on a bunch of roses that only last a week. For a similar outlay you could enjoy the abundant flowers produced by truly stunning tropical water lilies for 5 or 6 months. What’s more, you can even pick them for a vase inside or place them on your outdoor table setting, when you are entertaining.