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Keeping lily size in check?

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#1 Joshaeus

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:32 AM

'ello all! I am planning to set up a water garden this year and would love it if all the plants heralded from my home state, Maine. Sadly, the two lilies that grow here - Nymphaea odorata and Nuphar Lutea - typically grow far too large for the 28 inch diameter stock tank I am going to be using. Is there any way to keep these plants smaller and more manageable than their normal 6 foot diameter size?

#2 Mrfipp

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  • Runaway Bay, Texas

Posted 18 March 2016 - 09:05 AM

Let me preface this response with "I've zero firsthand experience with this plant" and I'm not claiming to be an expert but I have had success with similar techniques on other plants, not this plant.

In theory, you could remove the leaves repeatedly. Hear me out, I'm not just saying "keep it pruned." (Though that may in fact work...)

In terrestrial plants, when a leaf is removed it is replaced by a second leaf. The second leaf that grows in remains smaller. The third is again smaller. This principle is utilized in bonsai regularly to make small trees and their leaves look properly proportioned so that something small scale looks like it could be a giant.

Here is where a professional botanist would be useful... In theory that could also apply to aquatic plants, and as you remove leaves from the bulb/rhiozome/stem the successive plant growth may be proportional but stunted.

If you have a plant, you may give it a go. You could also google "aquarium plant pruning" and find some helpful sites and blogs I won't link here because that seems to get people fired up...

Good luck, and I'd love to see photos of your project.

There's something fishy about this place...

#3 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
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  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 18 March 2016 - 10:57 AM

I think if you stick with a hardy water lily like the Nymphaea odorata.  Then they are not really as large as you are thinking.  At least they do not have to be that large.  I grow hardy water lily here in Georgia in a 100 gallon stock tank and they do fine.  Every other year or so in the spring, I take the whole plant out of the water.  In many cases the plant has escaped the pot and now forms a mat the whole size of the stock tank floor.  I divide the plant at the various 'crowns' (there are lots of links to doing this on the internet) and re-pot.  I give away or throw away a lot of viable plant material (and I guess that is sad) but it makes the remaining plants grow vigorously and clean the water in the ponds and they bloom better (crowded lily do not bloom, I have learned the hard way).


You can do this and it is actually rather easy.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#4 Irate Mormon

Irate Mormon
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  • Crooked Creek, Mississippi

Posted 20 March 2016 - 10:43 PM

I totally have the answer to your question.  I posted it in the Members Only section :-)

-The member currently known as Irate Mormon

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