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October 14, 2011

Monet, Monet - It's Tropical Waterlily Season


I thought that I might share some of the photos that I took last week of the tropical waterlilies that we saw planted in the pools at Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA. Tropical waterlilies are easily hybridized, and many of the varieties that we saw were bred at the gardens, or are available at online water garden retailers. Easy enough to grow, you must meet some basic requirements for these giants, mainly, a large, warm pond of water, which most of us, do not have. There are plenty of dwarf and small growing varieties worth seeking out, as well as hardy forms, but the finest horticultural specimens are these, the night and day blooming forms of tropical waterlilies, or Nymphaea species.

In the foreground, you can see a dwarf, or smaller variety, but the standard tropical Nymphaea in the back, has pads that are about 14 inches in diameter and fragrant blossoms that can be nearly 10 inches wide. Mid October is peak waterlily season, but plants can bloom from June onwards. The water in the pools at Longwood is not as deep as you may think, only 30 inches, but the black dye in the water gives one the illusion that the pools are bottomless.
NIGHT BLOOMING WATERLILIES CAN COME IN AMAZING TROPICAL COLORS, SUCH AS THIS DEEP VIOLET HYBRID THAT NOT ONLY HAS PURPLE FLOWERS, BUT SPECKLED FOLIAGE.


There is no doubt that the stasr of the collection at Longwood are the various crosses of the Giant Water Platters. The large pads are heavily spined, and can reach 7 feet in diameter. This famous cross as well as others from Longwood are sometimes available for home water gardens, if you have the climate and the room. Utopia Aquatic has a few.
THE GIANT WATER PLATTER WAS SUCCESSFULLY HYBRIDIZED AT LONGWOOD GARDENS FROM TWO SOUTH AMERICAN PARENT SPECIES. THESE PLANTS ARE RAISED FROM SEED EVERY YEAR. IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THESE 6 FOOT LEAVES WHERE STARTED FROM SEED SOWN IN FEBRUARY.
 The waterlily display gardens at Longwood were built in 1957, and they feature aquatic plants from all over the world. There are over 100 varieties and species of day and night blooming varieties of waterlilies, lotuses, giant water platters and other plants like bog plants.




a Nelumbo nucifera hybrid.






4 comments :

  1. Stunning! Thank you for the great post!

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  2. It's funny, from the first picture I saw my first thought was "I bet this post is about Longwod". I interned there a few summers ago in these very waterlily pools. It was probably the most fun I've ever had working. Great pictures, they really make me want to go back!

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  3. Hi Matt,

    I have several little ponds in my back yard and one of them has water lilies of the Eve’s Solitare variety. Unfortunately, thinking that this will provide the nutrients they’d love, I introduced koi fish which tend to nibble on the leaves and flower petals. So, they all look serrated. For next year I will definitely separate fish from plant.

    Yours are so perfectly beautiful!

    Hanna

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  4. Beautiful shots! The lily with the name Nelumbo nucifera, must be mislabeled...not a Lotus

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