Water lilies in garden ponds, that you can grow easily in tropical places like in Kerala as well as other South Indian states.
Water lilies belong to the family Nymphaeceae, in which there are about 60 species. Surprisingly, many of them are ornamental plants, that are having beautiful flowers.
Water lily plants in Kerala
In certain places water lilies may become invasive, if the environments are favourable. In Kerala we enjoy Ambal vasantham, the mass blooming of water lilies in large areas of paddy fields.
( Ambal is the Malayalam word for water lily and vasantham is spring, the blooming season ).
Once the paddy harvesting is over, water lilies grow in abundance, and bloom in a faster way. Normally it lasts for about three to four months, after which the next cultivation starts.
Definitely, it is a wonderful experience to have a ride in a country boat, amidst the blooms that spread all around.
Moreover the plant has got ritual importance, preferably in Buddhism. Truly water lily flowers are the most important offering in Buddhist temples.
The pic below shows water lily flowers offered to a peepal tree in the premises of the Stupa at Saranath. It is the place where Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon, which is sacred to the devotees.
The flowers of most of the water lily plants are night blooming. For this reason, they remain opened only for a few hours in the morning.
There are also fascinating legendary stories, that depicts water lily flower as the wife of the moon.
Water Lily plants a short description
Generally the tuberous base of the plant is attached to the muddy bottom of the water body. The leaves and flowers that develop at the tips of long stalks, float on the surface of water.
Usually the leaves are round in shape, with sizes varying according to the species of plants.
Commonly we can find small varieties with leaves having a diameter of about one inch. At the same time, Victoria Amazonia, the largest water lily plant is having leaves with a diameter of 2-6 feet.
The flowers are really attractive, with petals arranged in rows. Pink, purple, white and yellow water lily flowers are very common.
Berry like fruits that develop from the flowers produce lots of seeds.
Uses of growing water lilies in garden ponds
First of all, we grow water lilies for ornamental purposes. Surely the most beautiful flowers can make our gardens look attractive.
The leaves that spread on the surface of the water, can provide shade. Mainly for the ornamental fish in the ponds.
In addition, different parts of the plant such as flower buds and fruits are edible. In many places people use it for making dishes. For example, makhana, the popped water lily seeds, is a healthy snack. We can use it as a substitute for pop corns.
Also we can use the tubers and fruits as effective remedy for many ailments.
Simple tips for growing water lilies in garden ponds
The easiest way for propagation, is through the rhizomes that we can collect from the mother plants.
Developing saplings through the germination of mature seeds, is another method for propagating the plant.
We can buy saplings of different varieties of the plant from most of the nurseries or garden suppliers.
How to grow the water lilies for garden ponds
For this, we need the following things
- A terracotta pot or container with drainage holes
- Sapling of the plant
- Organic slow release aquatic manure.
- Muddy soil
- River sand or pea gravel
First, fill the container up to the quarter portion with the mixture of soil and manure. Then fix the plant in the middle of it, by adding a little more of the above mixture.
After that, fill the pot with river sand or pea gravel that can prevent leaking of the mud.
Finally, place it deep in the middle of the garden pond, preferably about 10 to 15 inches. Your water lily will start growing, and after a few weeks the leaves begin to appear on the surface of water.
Once the plant is established, blooms begin to appear, that continues year around. If we care it properly, this perennial can do well especially in tropical climates.
If there is no sufficient space for keeping a garden pond, you can buy one. Different types of the compact as well as ready-to-use garden ponds are available in markets.
If you are really passionate, even a plastic bucket can serve the purpose.
You can keep it either in your balconies or places where sunlight reaches for a few hours a day.
Indeed, you can read here the simple tips for making your own garden pond.
Certainly it is essential to remove all the unwanted plant parts to keep the water clean. Likewise you should replant your water lilies at intervals of three to four years.
Definitely should take extreme care if you are keeping fish or any other aquatic living things in the pond. Always remember to use fertilizer, clay soil etc. that are not harmful to them.
Considering the above, try to grow water lilies, to make your garden really awesome.