Water Lily - A must have for any Pond

Water lilies have been coveted by the elite for generations for their unmatched beauty. Now they are accessible for all.

Water lilies are surprisingly durable and low maintenance. If you have any body of water in your yard from the size of a bathtub and up you can plant these lilies once and forget about them for years.

Specifications for growing:

  • Type: Perennial
  • Sun: Full Sun to Shade
  • Soil: If planting in a pond with a liner at the bottom, you can either keep the rootball in a pot, wrapped up in a mesh ball, or just have a few inches of pond muck on the bottom and let it expand freely. I had water lilies for a few years and they covered the entire bottom of the pond with their root system, making removal to clean out the pond difficult.
  • Height: Or Depth in this case. Water lilies can grow at surprising depth, but for the best results they shouldn’t be planted in water deeper than 3 feet.
  • Hardiness: Water Lilies are relatively hardy and have very few pests. In most cases the damage done to Water Lilies is caused by animals outside the pond such as a raccoon or dog. Water Lilies will almost always die off in the winter and return the following spring.

Potential uses:


  • Water lilies aren’t notorious for being the best tasting, but many species of Water Lilies have edible roots. However – There is a species of Tuberous Water Lily that is known to be poisonous . It can be distinguished by its tuberous roots and its flowers have almost zero scent.
  • On the traditional White Water Lily, the fresh leaves and blossoms can be eaten.


The root of the White Water Lily: (Scientific name: Nymphaea Odorata)

Often ground up into a mush and applied externally.

  • Reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Pain reliever
  • Thought to cure scrofula – A form tuberculosis
  • Used for dysentery, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea.
  • Boils
  • Tumors
  • Ulcers (including ulcers in the mouth)

Toxicity to humans or pets:

The water lily family is very large and many look very similar. Many species are not poisonous at all, but some, like the Tuberous Water Lily mentioned above and the Yellow Water Lily are poisonous.

As far as I can tell the White Water Lily is non-toxic to humans and animals, but some caution is advised.


dividing water lilies

Dividing Water Lilies

The White Water Lily spreads by expanding its root system. To propagate simply divide the roots when the plant is dormant. Usually early winter.