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Selecting Waterlilies

Water Lilies are the aristocrat of the water garden pool. They are grouped into Tropical and Hardy varieties. The chart below compares general characteristics of these varieties. Note: Tricker's sends to you a full water lily plant with pads that is ready to show the beauty in your water garden pool all summer long!
Many gardeners prefer hybrid plants that are easy to grow and last a long time with proper care. Several of our water lily hybrids have been developed at our nursery. We were the exclusive distributor of the Pring tropical water lily hybrids when they were introduced years ago. The famous hybridizer M. Marliac's hardy hybrid water lilies are also a good variety to have. The water lily pioneers and many of these select hybrids can be found in the book Tricker's 1101 Water Gardening Questions and Answers.
Tropical Night Blooming Water Lilies
Hardy Water Lilies

Each Water Lily Is Unique

Tricker's "true" hybrids are known for blooming and beauty! Techniques have been developed by Tricker's for the best water lilies sent directly from us to prosper in your water garden pool. The cartoon is from our 1941 mail order catalog.
Introduced 1896
Tricker's water lilies are all grown here at our nurseries and sent directly to you.

Characteristics of Water Lilies

Some years ago England had trials to establish the correct popular red flowered water lily Attraction, hybridized in 1910. They found that there are many versions of this water lily worldwise. You may find either incorrect or mislabeled images of water lilies for sale on the internet.

Tricker's uses experience and experts to propagate, identify and keep the 'true' variety that has adorned water gardens for decades. We strive to have our customers enjoy the varieties as they were meant to be enjoyed. For example, read about Tricker's red flowered popular water lily Gloriosa from the 1920s or other water lilies.

Spreads The size of your pond surface will help to determine what type and how many water lilies to grow. The spread that your water lily plant will reach depends on many factors such as crate size, how packed they are, and frequency of fertilization. In large crates, most water lilies will grow to 2-3 foot spreads. In an extra large crate, your water lilies may spread farther.

There are special "pygmy" water lilies that will spread less than 2-3 feet. These are often selected for tub gardening or for that special place in your water garden pool that needs a water lily in miniature.

Sunlight Requirements Most water lilies require at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day. We have developed some varieties that can still bloom and grow with reduced light such as the tropical water lilies Patricia, Independence', 'Janice', 'Blue Bird', 'Panama Pacific' and other hybridizers such as 'August Koch', and 'Dauben'. All of these varieties you will find in Tricker's on line store! Not only do the mentioned tropical water lilies require less daily light, but they also are known for growing and blooming long into the fall or autumn when all other water lilies are going dormant. Hardy varieties require more sunlight and typically require full (not shaded) sunlight.

Blooming Characteristics If you want more flowers, then tropical water lilies produce more blooms than the hardies.

The tropical water lilies will typically produce a multitude of flowers all summer that stand high above the water surface. The flowers of the hardy variety typically float on the water's surface and prepare for winter by growing a tuber and reduce its blooms as fall approaches.

Many hardy hybrids are very beautiful and produce a wonderful amount of flowers during the year. Growing both the hardy and tropical water lilies can result in a full summer of beautiful water lily blooms.

More details are in 1101 Water Gardening Questions and Answers by Richard Lee.

Do you want huge flowers? Here are 9" flowers that are produced on tropical water lilies! And Sir Galahad will open in the late afternoons when the other water lilies are closing and will still be open the next morning before the day blooming lilies open.

Growth Rates Tropical water lily grows rapidly during the hot summer months.

Hardy water lilies typically will slow in growth if a summer is very hot.

Night blooming water lilies are very aggressive and will typically grow into spectacular blooms.

Blooming Fragrances Tropical water lilies are extremely fragrant and produce a wonderful aroma. Bring the fragrance inside by floating the cut flowers in a bowl of water. The fragrance eminating from the large blossoms is wonderful. If you bring tropical water lily blossoms indoors, the beautiful fragrance may permeate you entire home!

Many hardy water lilies have a slight characteristic odor and are not known for their fragrances. You can enjoy the beauty of cut hardy water lily blossoms indoors by floating them in a bowl of water.

A summer fragrance from your special water garden is perhaps one of the enjoyments of having a water garden pool. If you are able to visit our aquatic greenhouses, you will be able to smell the aroma of thousands of water lilies! A true treat for any avid water gardener!

Fertilizers All water Lilies require routine fertilization to get the plant size indicated in our catalogs. A proven aquatic fertilizer, Tricker's Praefecta, can be mixed into the soil when planting to give your water lilies a good flower foundation and roots. It's highly recommended that the topsoil contains some clay that holds and attracts nutrients. If your soil does not have clay, Tricker's offers a product similar to clay, Aquatic Mineral Transport, AMT to add to the soil at planting.

The water soluble pellet fertilizer, Trico, should be used throughout the season as your water lilies produce more leaves and blossoms. Water lilies will typically go into a dormancy if they are not correctly feed.

Mix Your Water Lilies For Constant Blooms Tropical and hardy day blooming lilies close late afternoon and open in the later part of the morning as the sun becomes more intense. The tropical night blooming water lilies will open late in the day and close early the next morning (depending upon sunlight). So, having a mix of day and night blooming plants is ideal, especially if you work away from home. With a mixture, you'll enjoy your flowering water lilies before going to work in the morning and enjoy them when you come home. If you do not include night blooming water lilies, then you will only enjoy the hardy and tropical day bloomers only on days you are off.

Tricker's offers collection of day and night bloomers to give you 24 hours of blooms to enjoy. At night the spectacular sight in moonlight is indescribable, the flowers appear as a glowing entity. If you never grew a night bloomer, try it today.

How early in spring can tropical water lilies be planted outdoors? That depends on water temperatures (both day and night), the sunlight intensity, and hours of sunlight.

A common mistake is to plant too early in Spring during an above average weather. When the weather returns to normal lower values, as it typically does, the water lilies can either be stunted or die. Tricker's grows and propagates all of our lilies to shipping and transplant size before they are sent to your water garden pool.

You can purchase now and Tricker's Spring Shipping Schedule for each state tries to make sure that they arrive when transplanting for your area is best. If the weather is exceptionally warm a particular year, we'll ship earlier. Plants shipping to southern states will be earlier than to northern states.

Tropical water lilies grow best in water that is at least maintained at 70+ degrees. The best time to plant tropicals outside is around the first week of June in the latitudes of Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City when warmer temperatures stabilize and day light is optimum for growth and blooms. Since the tropical water lily is an extremely fast grower, planting during a warm spell is not worthwhile beacues the normal cooler temperatures may return. Tropical water lilies will bloom later in the year than the hardy water lilies which are preparing for winter.

Consider including tropical water lilies because they will outgrow hardies, create more flowers, include "night bloomers", have unique pad mottling, have a nice blooming fragrance, are available in many colors, and can have large flowers. The hardy varieties have their own traits and beauty as well as easier maintenance.

How late in the year can the water lilies be planted? Tropical water lilies typically will bloom until frost. If you want blooms later in the year try the tropicals because of their constant blooms. In the northern climates, tropical water lilies may bloom until October.

Hardy water lilies can be transplanted until late fall in the northern climates. The hardy varieties are start their dormant period by late summer in the northern states. A hardy planted in the late summer insures that "nature" will stimulate growth. This method ensures that the plant is ready for a full season of growth in your area.

Flower Colors The colors of all water lilies are spectacular. Tropical water lily blooms are in all colors of the rainbow and are known for blue and purple flowers that are not found in the hardy varieties.

Pad Colors and Shape The pads can be a simple monotone green or mottled with the green pads and dark mottling. For example, Leopardess, a well-known and popular tropical water lily, is known for the dark mottling on the pads. In 2014 the William Tricker, Inc. introduced one of the most mottled pads in the industry, Pink Sapphire. The gorgeous pink flowers of Pink Sapphire stand out against the heavily mottled pads.
Water Lily Pad key to above image

1. Smooth or Entire Margin around the Pads. This water lily image is the famous Attraction, a hardy water lily. This smooth margin on the pads are found on most hardy water lilies but is also on many tropical water lilies.

2. Serrated Margin around the Pads. The serrated margin is a toothed margin and is often found in the class of tropical night bloomers such as the shown Antares. See page 1 of this newsletter and read about White Saber Tooth Water Lily, introduced this year, as an outstanding serrated margin water lily.

3. Speckled Mottled Pads. Note the speckles on each pad of the water lily Bagdad.

4. Mahogany Pads. Some pads take on a different color than the standard green, such as Red Flare with a delightful mahogany color with serrated margins.

5. Multiple Colored Pads. A rare pad is found in the pads of Arc-en-Ceil. The pads are all different with hues of pink, white, and green blotches.

6. Mottled Pads. There are many tropical water lilies with a variety of mottled pads, shown is Leopardess water lily.

7. Pink Margin around Pads. A most rare lily is Pink Halo, known for a pink margin around the forest green pads.

8. Strikingly Mottled Pads. Some pads display a great amount of mottling, such as the Pink Sapphire water lily.

9. Wavy Margins. A beautiful green pad with a wavy margin. The pad's margin does not lie totality flat on the surface of the water but will show a ripple-like effect, this pad is well represented by Mrs. C. W. Ward.

Whatever water lily or set of lilies that you purchase, it will certainly bring enjoyment to your outdoor decor that your neighbor's will envy.