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Article - Trimming Water Lilies

Care and treatment of water lilies

Ok, now we've covered how to divide and fertilize your water lilies... now why don't we take a look at pruning and trimming them to keep them looking their best!

Trimming and pruning your water lilies is important for two reasons..

First, you don't want old, decaying leaves rotting in your pond. Second, trimming old, dying pads stimulates the plant to produce more fresh ones, and third -- it just looks better!

To determine when to prune your water lilies - use your own judgment for the most part. But if you notice a pad that is yellowing, or has begun to decay in any way, or has black spots on it - cut it off.

I also like to 'thin out' my coverage from time to time, and keep my lily pads from overlapping or becoming too crowded. It seems to keep the remaining pads more healthy. Think about it this way, if the root of the plant only has so many nutrients it can absorb and distribute to all of the pads and flowers, it makes sense that with fewer stalks, pads, and flowers to 'share' these nutrients - the remaining ones will be healthier and more vibrant.

You'll be surprised at how many pads you can cut out, and still have a great looking plant (with lots of remaining coverage).  See how many I cut off just the other day, and how nice the lily still looked afterwards.

Lastly, when pruning your lily - just use regular gardening shears, but make sure their sharp enough to give you a clean cut.  I like to cut mine 1-2 feet below the surface of the water, so I don't see the dead stalk in the pond, and to minimize what will die and decay after pruning.

Hope that helps, and that concludes our 'winter' lesson on water lily care.