How to grow tropical water lilies

Joshaeus

Water hawthorn, Aponogeton Distachyos
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Hi all! This year I want to try to grow tropical water lilies in a container pond; however, the last time I tried that (with a Dauben lily) the roots turned to mush and it died before it could bloom. How do I plant them? What do I subsequently need to do to care for them? And since I live in zone 5, what tropical water lilies can handle water temps into the low 60's at night? (There are no outdoor electrical outlets close enough to heat the water garden). Thanks :)
 
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Hi Joshaeus,
They don't like water temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1Celsius). In fact, if they are subjected to water colder than that, they will bloom wayyyy late in the season (if ever in colder regions) so keep them warm...even at night. I do not know of any tropical water lily that will bloom in temperatures in the low 60's (16-17C). How large is your container? If it is small enough say, like a 30-gallon (114 Liter) porch pond, you can take non-powered steps to reduce heat loss in the spring and fall.
 

Joshaeus

Water hawthorn, Aponogeton Distachyos
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It is a 20 gallon. What can I do to make it warmer?
 
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It is a 20 gallon. What can I do to make it warmer?
Ohhh, only 20 gallons (75L). That's not much volume. Is it buried in the ground or a birdbath sort of arrangement? Without power you can't make it warmer but if dug in the ground, you might be able to hold some of the heat in by covering it with an insulated top at night. But being in zone 5, you more than likely are limited because the weather can go from warm to very cold overnight well into the month of May, even June depending on where you are in zone 5. Is there any way to get power to the container? You might consider a heated waterlily container if power is an option. https://www.amazon.com/Black-River-Nursery-Thermoplanter-Container/dp/B0018LAKOQ
I purchased one of these when this product first came on the market. After using it for a couple of seasons I liked it and wrote a product review on it for an aquatic magazine. It works well if used as advertised. I think it has a small (70watt) heater so it won't keep your lily warm if placed outside on a snowy day. It is quite energy efficient. I used mine both indoors and outdoors. Anyway, just an idea.
 
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