What is this in my waterlilies?

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I clean out my water containers every Spring. This year I found these odd looking things growing in the pots that my waterlilies are in. Are these baby waterlilies sprouting from seeds? I've never seen this before, but had quite a few of them as you can see. They were growing inside the pot among the roots of one waterlily as seen. And also in the photo you can see a pile of them that I pulled out of other containers.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My heavens. They are definitely lily babies. I have never seen this. usually my tubers just grow long and longer, sprouting little growths along the length. What in the heck are you feeding your lilies??

Athens, PA

Becky

Interesting. Do you divide your waterlilies every year? I haven't done mine in 3 years so I will have to do it this year. Usually I just take a knife and cut into the lily and divide it while it is still in the pot, so I dont' see the bottom part of what is in the pot..... Maybe I should try it your way to see what is there....

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

mstella - LOL! Just a pond tab per pot. They grew a lot this past year and I had too many in a large container. I think the babies are both hardy and tropical babies. I've never seen this either and I had so many of them in this one water container. There were 3 different water lilies in pots in the water container. Maybe it was because the container had them all squished together. It was a chore getting the pots and water lilies (in the pots) out of the water container. Here is a photo of the water container after I removed all the plants and repotted one of the larger waterlilies and placed it back in the water container. I add another waterlily in that same container, so there are two of them in it now. One thing ... it is in a very sunny spot and I had a LOT of blooms last year which were likely pollinated by the bees.

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Carolyn - I divide mine every year when I clean out the water containers. I have two pre-molded black round ponds, but only one pot had babies like that. I am really thinking it is because I probably had too many waterlilies in that water container. This is what my ponds look like now after dividing them and repotting them today. It is a chore, but the plants always seem to do much better and bloom a lot!

This message was edited Mar 15, 2011 8:37 PM

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

In less than a month, the entire black ponds will have the surface of the water completely covered with lily pads. And the water container is the same. Often overflowing with pads! I've never ever seen babies like that down in the pots among the roots of the mature water lilies. It was crazy! I couldn't believe how many there were. They were all tangled up in the roots of the mature water lilies. LOL!

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Athens, PA

Becky

These are my waterlilies from last year. We were fertilizing them and then putting them back into the pond. As you mentioned, it doesn't take long for them to cover the pond with lily pads.

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I have both tropical and hardy water lilies in my water gardens. And I do separate the hardies by cutting them or breaking them off from each other. The tropicals sometimes have babies forming on the leaves, but not last year. Instead I got all these seedlings apparently.

I wasn't sure what the heck those things were! LOL! Thanks for confirming what I suspected! I put all those babies in a bucket of water. Don't know where I am going to grow them all, but I am wondering if any of them produced a cross of two different waterlilies? Who knows, huh?

Can you believe all these babies. How the heck did they grow down in the roots of the mature water lily? Seriously! How could they produce leaves?

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Carolyn - Cool!!! You've got a nice collection of them, too! I don't even know how many I have. But they keep reproducing every year! I keep splitting them and repotting the new ones. I also trim the roots back before adding them in their new pots with a fertilizer tablet added in the cat litter. I use cat litter instead of dirt. It keeps the water cleaner. :-)

This message was edited Mar 15, 2011 8:51 PM

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Holy cow. I have mine in 1-2 gallon pots in my pond. I took about 8 pots out and dumped them to clean them up, take the best tubers and I pitched bunches of tubers. I only have hardy as that is all I can grow up here. Only the one pink color seems to survive. I am trying a hardy lotus this year. probably won't make it through the winter, but should look nice all summer. You have a fortune in plants there.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

By the way, I went and got two bags of that kitty litter you mentioned. Am looking forward to getting the dirt out of my pond. and Carolyn, I finally got smart and put little wire handles on my pots also. Husband got tired of near drowning trying to fish them from the pond each spring. lol. Now he can just hook them with a rake or something

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

LOL! I grow lotus too. But have a hard time getting them to bloom. They produce tons of raised pads, but rarely bloom. I have them in water containers, too! LOL! I love water gardening!

I wonder if all those babies will sprout lily pads and possibly bloom this year? I have never grown one like that. Geez! I have a very shallow bowl on my patio table that has a bunch of baby water lilies in it too! I should probably check them as well. Though they never get big enough to bloom because the bowl is too shallow. LOL! I can't throw any of them out! I love them so much, I can't stand the thought of wasting any of them! Sell them, huh? LOL!

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

My gosh! If I had a large in-ground pond, I wouldn't be able to keep up with all these babies being produced. They'd be invasive! LOL!

Putting wire handles on the pots is a GREAT idea of fishing them out of a large pond! :-)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I would think you would be neck deep in lilies. I don't have lots of blooms, but enough to add to the pond's ambiance. I have little gold fish and a koi or two -- tho I have lots of trouble wintering the koi over. I think there is too little oxygen in the pond over the long winter under a 2' cap of ice. Ya' think? lol

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Yikes - ICE! so there is no way for the fish to come to the surface to get oxygen? Can you add a heater to the pond to keep ice from forming?

Athens, PA

The last time I divided waterlilies, I tried to find homes for them and it was difficult, so they went into the compost pile. This year, I am involved in some of the plant swaps and so I did offer up divisions of waterlilies - a lot of people were interested, so I feel better about dividing them. DH and I ended up with 20 pots of WL because we didn't have the heart to pitch them before.

Here they are flowering.....I did not have as many flowers last year as in previous years. I am hoping it is because they need to be divided.

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Carolyn - Those are beautiful!!! I love the red/pink blooms. I think most of mine are yellow, but not sure.

A thought has crossed my mind ... I was thinking of possibly offering them for sale (cheap!) to help as a fundraiser for a friend in Japan. His family sustained damage to their home and he is now fearing that the insurance company may go bankrupt before he can get any money for the repairs. Even if he does get money from them, they were only willing to pay 50% of the total for the estimated repairs. A lot of folks who know him want to help him. I am wondering if I could sell the water lilies possibly to help his family? Maybe no one would be interested, but then again, they might be if it is a fundraiser for a family in Japan?

Glad you were able to find home for your babies and added more to your pond! :-)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Becky, we run three de-icers but I have never seen the fish come up for air. Too cold anyway out side. they hide out on the bottom or in caves in the rock. I suspect they simply go dormant, go to sleep, then die when they run out of oxygen. The big ones that is. I have had many of the smaller ones survive. Working on a way to introduce oxygen to the bottom with aerators.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Hmmm ... it didn't occur to me that the fish would get so cold that they would forget to go to the surface to get oxygen. Yes! I would think an aerator would be the next step to try. That's too bad as I know the larger Koi are very desirable to have! Poor things!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Indeed. I feel badly. Each summer we name the fish and anxiously look for them in the spring. Been pretty disappointing. May eventually just stick with goldfish. But even they grow quite large in the pond.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Anyway of catching them and keeping them in a large container in a winter protected area such as a barn or garage or shed or greenhouse? Just a thought.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Funny you should ask. I have been talking with a guy in Kentucky from whom I am buying three koi. We have discussed just such a thing (it isn't uncommon in the colder areas). But there isn't enough room in my garage, and no other place to consider. I could keep my car outside all winter, but I just can't do that. After almost 60 years in Alaska, most of it in Fairbanks, with -25F to -55F or colder winters, when I had no garage --- I just can't. Anchorage is much milder, and our weather in general has trended warmer over the state, but it will cycle back. So, we are concentrating on doing all we can to make the pond as healthy as possible. Including building a winter cover to keep snow off the ice, a sunken heater to even raise the water a degree or two, and aerators. I am taking all the gravel from the bottom (stuff hides there and as it rots it takes oxygen from the water), removing my lilies for the winter (I usually cut them down and sink the pots in the deep (4') end to winter. But the pots also remove oxygen no matter how much I trim and clean. Plus they displace a foot of water that the fish need. I have other plants that go in during the summer so if I have to give up the lilies, so be it. I am reading up on how to overwinter them in the garage coldest area, tightly wrapped. Seems like they would rot, but the articles say no. I guess I will find out. My pond would be so dead without my fish.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

mstella - I hope I didn't upset you. I was just making some suggestions. Sounds like you are going above and beyond to try to resolve the issue concerning your adult Koi fish. I know you will find a solution to this challenge! And you will be able to have those big boys in your pond year round without too much worry about them during the winter months. :-) :-)

I don't have fish in my water containers. I wish I could find some fish that would eat mosquito larvae. That would be a solution to one of my biggest problems here. Those mosquito dunks are expensive to buy every month. Grrrr ...

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh, no. I am not even slightly upset. It's nice to talk with other water gardeners about our 'challenges.' I would think there would be some little fish that would live in your smaller gardens and eat larvae. In fact, I swear that I have seen some. However, I don't know that they would be less expensive than the dunks. At least you wouldn't have to feed them. lol

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I think the fish would definitely be cheaper than dunks. I have to buy a package of dunks once a month. At over $10 a pop, I think the fish would be cheaper in the long run and probably more efficient! LOL!

If any one knows the name of pond fish that eat mosquito larvae, please let me know! :-)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I will rumble around and see what I can find - I am thinking Dr.s Foster and smith. brb

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

overview
The beneficial Mosquito Fish can consume large quantities of insect larvae in your pond. Most backyard water garden enthusiasts use this species of Gambusia to control, as its name suggests, mosquitoes. However, this voracious feeder will also consume other insect larvae and algae to benefit your pond in numerous ways. First, the Mosquito Fish helps prevent your pond from becoming a backyard breeding ground for potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes. Secondly, it helps keep your pond beautiful by feeding on algae and hatching insects that can damage pond plants and the overall aesthetics of your pond or water garden.

Native to the backwaters and freshwater ponds of North and Central America, Gambusia sp. is related to the common guppy and very similar in characteristics. The body is long and slender and pale in color. Most Mosquito Fish have a tail of moderate size, void of any coloration. Varieties of Mosquito Fish can be found naturally as far north as Central Illinois and most survive harsh, freezing winters as long as the pond is deep enough and well aerated throughout the cold season. For best care, the Mosquito Fish requires a pond of at least 20 gallons with moderate water temperature and plenty of plants for hiding. If insufficient natural foods are present, supplement their diet with a quality flake food.
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=900+1499+1530&pcatid=1530

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Becky, how big are your containers? I may try that also. Not the little fishies, but having lilies in pots not in my pond.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

mstella - Hey! Thanks so much for that fish name! My larger ponds are I believe 25 gallons. I don't have an aeration system in mine though. They are still water ponds. Which is why I have a mosquito problem. They are too far away from electrical outlets to plug in a pump. :-/

That sounds great! I will look around locally to see if any aquarium shops or pet stores sell them.

You rock! Thank you! :-) :-)

Also, it does make it much easier to clean and divide the water lilies when they are in pots. I just pull the pots out of the water container/pond one at a time and totally remove everything in the pots, divide the plants, and repot with fertilizer tabs half-way down the kitty gravel to keep from leaking out into the pond. It works well for me, but still a lot of work. I think I typically have at least 15-20 water lilies every year before they multiply. But that is not counting the ones in the bowl on my table. There are probably another 10 in there. LOL!

Grand-Falls, NB(Zone 4a)

mstellla, I overwinter my waterlily, in the garage, because my pond is not deep enough. I keep them in their pots and sink them in a container of water. They don't rot............. I also overwinter all my fish in the garage............... What's neat about it, you don't even have to worry about them all winter. No feeding, no cleaning of filter, until it reaches 50F............ That when I start feeding them, because they become more active at that temp................ I run a pump and filter all winter, to circulate the water on top (not directly in the water) of a 35 gal Rubbermaid tub, so as not to disturb the dormant fishes. Never lost a fish yet doing it that way.........It makes a great conversation piece, when people come over.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Becky, I have mosquito fish in one of my ponds, and have also used them in lotus pots. They are very effective and hardy, even in shallow water, and they also breed like crazy. They are available for free here from vector control...you might see if there is a similar program where you live. I actually got mine for free from the local pond store; they were swimming around in with the water plants that I bought, and the owner threw in a couple which rapidly multiplied.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

someone mentioned perhaps the fish forget to come up for air. It is my understanding that the fishes metabolism slows dramatically when temps drop, to the point that they would not have the energy to come up for air? I would assume that even their thinking and reflexes are slowed significantly. When the temps warm and eating resumes, their habits would all return to normal.

Athens, PA

with the fishes bodies in a semi dormant state, their requirements for food and air are also depressed. Couple this with cold water holding more oxygen and warm water, the fish should be able to get enough oxygen without coming up for air. I know my fish do not come up for air and they are overwintered each year out back in the pond.

I don't know about fish in Alaska, however, it seems from what I have seen of the postings from Alaska and some of the colder parts of Canada, there are issues in trying to get koi to live through the winter but not goldfish.

When we had goldfish, the goldfish would come up to the surface of the pond in the winter. The goldfish never seemed as dormant as the koi either....

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Sunny - Thanks for that suggestion! I really want to get some of those fish! I will put some in the Lotus pots too! The mosquitos are really bad in my yard because of all the standing water.

Interesting information about fish going semi-dormant in winter. I don't think I'll ever have to worry about that problem here in Florida. Though my shallow water pots did ice over. I guess I could remove the fish if I know there is a freeze coming.

I have another question that I hope someone can answer...

Above were small roots of baby water lilies (probably from seeds). Can I assume that they are tropical babies?

I ask because today I decided to go ahead and clean out the bowl of water lilies on my patio table. They never bloomed last year to my knowledge because they are dwarfed from being in such a small container. Well, when I started cleaning it out, I found all these pods. And some of the pods had teeny tiny water liles growing out of them. So I am sure the pods will all become water lilies. Are these likely hardies?

I can't believe how many different kinds of baby water lilies I now have. All growing or producing in small pots. I guess when they are over-crowded like that, they make more babies in an effort to pass on for survival?

Here's a photo of some of the babies. Some of the pods and water lilies were so small, like miniature water lilies. I could grow them in a teacup! LOL!

This message was edited Mar 18, 2011 10:11 PM

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Here is the bowl with some of the larger (but still very dwarfed) water lilies. These are hardies and that is why I believe the pods are hardies. I wonder if they will remain dwarfed if I put them in a larger container? I have no idea what color the blooms are supposed to be. They've all been in that bowl for over a year! LOL!

I'm a bad water lily mama cramming them all in together like that in a bowl. :-(

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Well, I did a little research trying to find out what species of water lily these babies are. Much to my surprise ... the pods are actually tropical water lilies and the fat banana roots are hardies. I am now wondering if those banana roots are a wild water lily called N. mexicana. I don't know where I could've gotten a wild water lily. Does anyone have that species growing in their water garden?

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

The photo with the bowl looks like a fancy salad. LOL I can't believe how little and cute they are. The tiny leaves cracked me up!

Maybe you can create a new market for super dwarf water lilies or tea cup water lilies. ;)

I know little about the species. I googled and according to this Wikepedia link, there are 50 species! I have no clue how accurate it is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymphaea

In most cases, critters, flood, winds, etc are responsible for seeds/roots traveling.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Badseed - I , too, was amazed. I've never seen them this small on any of mine before. It was from abuse and neglect of the ones in the bowl. I collected all those little round tubers over a year ago and just dumped them all in the orange bowl, kept the bowl full of water, and rarely fertilized them. Apparently, that is how the growers do it to get more! LOL! Who'd know about that????!!! LOL!

I know there are some rare teacup varieties. So when I saw all the tiniest ones, I had that very thought! So here you can see I put that idea into action. The challenge will be to see if they bloom. None of the ones in the orange bowl bloomed for me last year at all. But the tubers did multiply! LOL!

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Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

It must be so much fun to be able to do that! LOL In my zone, it would never work. It's just crazy to see all those tiny things in containers! I wonder how long they will take to bloom.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

The real question is ... WILL they bloom????

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