Water Lilies Add Beauty And Ecological Benefits To Ponds

water lilies

Water lilies add beauty and ecological benefits to ponds and have been of cultural and religious significance for thousands of years. Water lilies were depicted in the art of the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and among the images of gods worshiped by the Mayans of Central America. Water lilies have symbolic meaning in Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Considered treasures of Western art French Artist Claude Monet featured water lilies in hundreds of his impressionist paintings.

Due to water lily popularity groups exist such as the International Water Lily & Water Garden Society, which has been holding water lily competitions for decades. The next IWGS water lily competition is scheduled at their annual symposium this year at Naples Botanical Gardens with over 40 hybridizers from nearly a dozen countries expected to show hundreds of varieties. An award at the IWGS competition suggests great value for the new water lily cultivar.

Although water lilies contain a toxic alkaloid, as do elephant ears, it is neutralized when boiled. Known as Shapla in Bangladesh, where water lilies are the national plant, they are enjoyed in curry recipes. Water lilies believed medicinal benefits including regulating insulin levels and promoting liver health are the subject of ongoing investigation.

Water lilies are a food source for wildlife and provide protective cover, help cool water temperatures, and absorb water-polluting nutrients. Organic debris, including fish food, animal, and plant waste, accumulate in ponds and are broken down by nitrifying bacteria making nitrogen available to plants in a process called nitrogen fixation as part of the nitrogen cycle. “Excessive inputs of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) trigger eutrophication of the water bodies, which promotes the undesirable growth of algal bloom and deterioration of the water quality, and aquatic biodiversity,” according to the Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Journal. “Water lily (Nymphaea) is largely used as an ornamental plant for landscaping, and it has been documented that water lily possesses the potentiality in mitigating polluted aquatic environments.” These same scientists documented an increase in dissolved oxygen concentration in the aquatic environment attributable to water lilies. Dissolved oxygen is critical to animal life in ponds and in short supply as pond water temperature increases during the warm months making water lilies a beneficial addition.

Considering lawn and garden fertilization is a source of waterway pollution and fish kills how does one fertilize their precious marginals and water lilies without harming wet pets such as koi and goldfish? Slow-release tablets containing the necessary nutrition for plant growth and increasing bloom potential have been developed. We recommend slow-release PondMax – AquaBloom Aquatic Plant Food for water lily fertilization, which provides nutrients for plant health and flower formation. Simply press the Aquabloom Aquatic Plant Food tablets into the aquatic plant media or soil.

Although there are three genera in the water lily family Nymphaeaceae varieties typically marketed as Hardy & Tropical are of the genus Nymphaea and their hybrids. They reproduce via seeds, tubers, and viviparously. For starting your seeds, tubers, or transplants you’ll want and appropriate aquatic plant media or soil. Potting soil would be inappropriate. We recommend and stock Aquascapes Pond Plant Potting Media. It’s free of peat, compost, fertilizers, and pesticides that could cloud the water and harm animals in your pond. We additionally stock floating planters, which is a popular technique to stabilize the lily tuber and roots within the basking allowing the pad and flower portions of the plant to move about the pond.

We provide a stock of fully developed already blooming hardy and tropical water lilies sourced from Holt Nurseries for your viewing pleasure and purchase at Earth Works Gardens nursery in Jacksonville. Stop in and see them for yourself and take your favorites home.

For all your water gardening needs and comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden, and landscaping needs, contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712 or visit us at the Earth Works Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville. We also build water gardens, provide hardscaping, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions. 

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.