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Why can't i grow water lilies?

north coast nsw, Australia

My partner built a raised concrete pond and painted it with a blue fish friendly pond sealent. Weve had fish it it fine, gold fish and small local river fish. Ive bought many water lilies and potted them up in clay soil like ive read but they always seem to die as if they rotted.The leaves die off and it goes mushy. What would i be doing wrong? Out of about 10 lilies this red one is the only one left and it just stays like this with small leaves. It is winter now though so i don't expect much until spring.

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north coast nsw, Australia

heres when it was 1st done.

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north coast nsw, Australia

had a huge nice lily for a little while.

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north coast nsw, Australia

all these lilies shot new leaves from just bulbs then slowly rotted?

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springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

well are the fish still doing ok? You said you HAD fish, so that made me think you don't still have them?
Could it be something you are washing the deck with? But I would think that too obvious. kinda duh, ya know.
I don't have any idea.

north coast nsw, Australia

No we don't wash the deck, just sweep it. Yeah we have a big cod in it doing great so we don't have the little fish anymore. hehe!

Decatur, GA

My question would be are you planting them according to instructions? The bulbs shouldn't be buried in the clay but more sitting on the top of the soil/clay. You might try something besides clay. A commercial aqua soil or Walmart kitty litter. (do you have WalMart in Australia? Lucky you if you don't)
Also how deep is your pot. It looks close to the water surface. I have had water lilies grow well from as deep as 24 inches. Possibly it gets too hot near the surface of the water.
Those are my guesses. :-)
Good luck.
Helen

north coast nsw, Australia

Yeah i made sure the bulbs were ontop of soil level and just put abit of sand on top. No we don't have walmart in Australia and i can't seem to find a pre made water lily soil. Ive tried the plain kitty litter and now have a few lilies in a dirt, sand mix to see if that works. Its winter now though so i wont know till it warms up.
I think its deep enough. its about crouch height deep, its raised. The lilies i plant grow for a while then the leaves gradually die one at a time and then the bulb rots and thats it. I never though a plant thats ment to grow in water could rot.

Decatur, GA

There must be some combination of environmental factors that isn't facilitating the health of the lilies. Try making some changes with depth, planting material, or supplier. Make the changes one at a time and hopefully some reason will reveal itself to be the problem. Are you adding anything to the water? Do you check the pH?
Good luck. I know you will figure it out.
Helen

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

There are 2 kinds of lilies. Those that are summer and those that are winter hardy. Also, try putting in some other, easier pond plants to see how they do. If you don't have a shelf for marginals, sink some cinder blocks to raise it up and put in some pots. Water hydrangea did well after it warmed up here in Connecticut. When I brought it into the house, it turned to mush.

They are actually "hardy" water lilies and "tropical" water lilies. How cold is your winter weather?

north coast nsw, Australia

Ive had this water plant in there with the one poor lily, have to see what warmer whether brings i supose.

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Deer Park, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi Bree. I used to live in a suburb of Sydney (Abbotsford) and the weather there is ideal for a large assortment of water lillies. Where are you getting these lillies? Are they the right type for your sun exposurer and temperatures? Are you planting it at the right depth? Have you contacted your supplier and told them that your lillies keep rotting and see if they have any recommendations. Do you have the names of the lillies you planted? If I can look them up in my big book of waterlillies I might be able to help you figure this out. Let me know-private Dmail me so I know you posted it. It's summer here in Chicago and I spend most nice days in my garden or working on my pond and hardly look at email.


Linda

north coast nsw, Australia

Yeah ive tried to eliminate all them possibilities but no luck.
Here i go again. Pure sand this time. These aren't going to rot. I think the soil had something to do with it.

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Aiea, HI(Zone 11)

I think I may know what the problem is now... Based on the photos, you definitely have a tropical lily. I think the problem is that the pot you are using is too small. It looks like a 6inch pot? When tropicals get extremely rootbound, they'll shut down and stop growing. What is causing the tubers to rot is the decaying of all the roots that are left in the pot. So when you get the plant, it's nice a good, but once it gets rootbound, it's shutting down leaving you with the tiny little guy you showed in your photo. If you repot that guy and bring it closer to the surface, your plant should perk back up. I would suggest that you use a 2 gallon pot since you have so much space.

Tucson, AZ

hi dahos77 - when is the best time to root prune?

Aiea, HI(Zone 11)

Personally, I do it as long as the plant is growing well. Also, I try not to remove any of the thick and smooth white roots. I only remove those that are shriveled up or the fine hair-like stuff. I find that the plants don't get shocked as much as if you just cut off the bottom portions.

north coast nsw, Australia

Cant grow plants but boy i can grow goldfish. hehe! got these goldfish as the cheapest feeder fish you could buy and there growing so fast in my pond eating the algae that grows on the walls and bottom, they look like there going to burst or there pregnant.

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north coast nsw, Australia

photos don't really do them justice...

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Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Breeindy, you've done a great job. They are next to impossible to photograph. Mine are indoors, and I can't get a good photo.

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Tucson, AZ

dahos77 - i am growing tina in this. this was when she first started. her roots now fill the container and only constrained by the sides of this 18-gal container. that would be lots of root mass lost. i want to put her in a 50-gal pot but will wait until next spring. it thought i'd pot her up in a 10-gal fabric pot so that her roots will not fill out the 50-gal tank eventually. any thoughts?

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Aiea, HI(Zone 11)

I grow most of my water lilies in 8 inch, one gal, or 2 gal pots. I repot every 6 months or so depending on the variety. The tubs of water they are in are no more then 50 gallons. Most I use are 30 gallons. I have at least 2 plants in each container. Most have 3-5 though. To be honest, the loss of root mass isn't that detrimental to the plants. When i repot, I always remove all of the hair-like roots which account for at least 20-30% of the root mass. Then when removing all the old roots and with accidental breakage, you are removing another 10% or so more.

The plant will be in some shock, but in about a month, most are well on their way to being back to their original condition.

I've never used fabric pots, so I'm not sure if there will be any benefit, except for a lot of space to grow. I use smaller pots cause i don't have the space for large plants.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

tucsonP....I have my Tina's in the same bucket you have yours planted in. I did it last year as a temporary holding place while I built my new pond. However, it's doing SO well in there that I may decide to keep it/her(?) in it. It's tripled in size, has at least 4 blooms at a time, every day...and is a beautiful sight on my deck! I'll try to post a pic, I've never seen it healthier!

Tucson, AZ

thanks for the input dahos77. i only have tina. i guess i could just let her spread out into a 50-gal container. i might be asking for trouble though. =) 10-gal would give her about as much lateral room as she has in the 18-gal bucket right now and keep her constrained.

that is good to hear merrymary! do you only have one tina per bucket? i noticed that mine is doing much better this year. i do get crispy pads along the edge because of our drier air. other than that, she is fabulous! do post pics please! =)

Aiea, HI(Zone 11)

I have no space, so this is how I grow my plants :) This is an extreme example as I don't grow all my plants this way, but there are probably 7-8 plants in this one 50 gallon tub ;)

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Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

tucsonP....I started with 2 scrawny little Tina seedlings, and now, one year later, I can't even guess what's in there! Between spreading tubers, leaf sprouts, and seeds from flowers, they're just getting bigger and thicker and blooming wonderfully. I have 2 small goldfish and a plethora of tadpoles in there with them.

Tucson, AZ

i am limited on space, too. i will probably put my 50-gal tub back in to service. it will be nice for tina to spread out more. hmmm...i might be able to add another lily. oh no!!! =)

that sounds fun merrymary. do post a pic when you have time.

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