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Gardening suggestions for fertilizing containerized water lilies

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: July, 2014, Page 107


Q - Do potted water lilies growing in ponds need fertilizer? If so, what type and how often?

A - When their root systems are contained in pots, water lilies absolutely need to be fertilized, says Master Gardener Paul Holdeman, owner of The Pond Gnome, which specializes in living water garden installations. Aquatic plant growers generally recommend that one to two slow-release fertilizer tablets be pushed into the planting medium next to the growing tip of the lily rhizome. Do this once a year in the spring for healthy lily plants.

To promote prolific blooms all summer, you might want to increase your fertilizing frequency to once a month during the summer growing months. Be careful, however, to avoid excess fertilizer, which also feeds algae and can lead to water-quality problems.

Holdeman suggests another option if your pond has a rock substrate and contains fish (which produce nutrients): Transplant the lilies directly into the substrate. Fertilizing will be unnecessary because roots can take advantage of nutrients found throughout the more natural growing environment
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