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Article - Fertilizing Water Lilies

Care and treatment of water lilies

Unfortunately, sunlight is not always enough. Your water lilies will grow, thrive, and bloom much better if you get in the habit of fertilizing them regularly.

The good news is -- It's Easy!

You can either remove your water lilies from the pond to fertilize them, sometimes you can even do it with the plants still in the pond...

I prefer to remove them so I can inspect to see if they are becoming overgrown, and possibly need dividing. This is really the best way, and a good time to kill two birds with one stone.

So, first - remove the pot from the pond. Then drain out any excess water, so you can see the surface of the soil and Rhiozome.

Next, here's a trick I use to fertilize my lilies quickly and easily...
Have a fairly wide tipped flathead screwdriver nearby, and then use it to punch a clear path into the soil and through the existing roots. Then give it a good twisting to hollow our your hole.

You would be surprised how hard it can be to push a fertilizer tab down into a dense root pack - so try this next time and hopefully it is 100% easier!

Now that you have your holes dug - take 3-4 water lily fertilizer tabs out and push them down into the holes with your index finger

That's it, you're done! Then just cover up the holes and top off the plant with some fresh dirt, and you are ready to move on to the next one.  Once you have fertilized all of your lilies, just slowly lower them pack into the pond. Don't just drop the pot back into the pond, as trapped air bubbles can sometimes uproot the lily or some soil... This is especially true new pottings, as the soil has not been properly 'set'. Here's what I do:

Lower the pot into the water, just enough to fill it with water, then raise back up out of the water until you see all the air bubbles disappear. Do this a few more times, until you think you're removed all the air bubbles from the pot - then slowly lower it down into the pond.

There's nothing more frustrating than having a newly potted lily (or any plant) suddenly lift up out of the pot, dumping dirt all over the pond, and having to be repotted.. It's happened to me
more than once..

So that's it for now, in our next article, we'll talk about trimming and pruning water lilies...

Trimming and Pruning Water Lilies