How to Care For Hardy & Tropical Water Lilies
Your new water lilies are going to depend on you for food. All rooted water plants require fertilizer occasionally.
To encourage steady growth, it’s best to get on a regular feeding schedule. From May through August, we recommend a monthly feeding with Lilytabs or a similar low-release aquatic fertilizer.
Push fertilizer tablets down a few inches into the soil, or if using a granular product, wrap a small amount in a paper towel and push your homemade fertilizer packet a few inches into the soil.
The amounts needed will vary by plant size, so look on the product label for the right dose. Be careful not to over-fertilize because that can lead to algae growth. One sign that your lilies need fertilizer is if the plants begin to shrink during the growing season. If that happens, it’s time to fertilize as soon as possible.
If fertilizer doesn’t perk up your flagging lily, it could be that the container is too small or the plant is not getting enough light.
No fertilizer is needed after August.
The only other care needed during the spring and summer is to prune off old leaves to keep your plants looking neat. After a year or two in the garden, hardy water lilies can be divided.
Heading Into Winter
Tropicals will not survive our winters, so they need to come inside after the first frost or two if you plan to keep them. See our separate handout for more details on how to overwinter tropical water lilies.
For hardy water lilies, once there’s been a killer frost or two, prune off dead leaves and stems and sink the plant in the deepest part of your garden.