New to Water Lilies - I might have already killed them...


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Hi all, so I ordered 3 hardy water lillies for my garden pond. It's about 1200 gallons and has 7 or so medium sized goldfish and a couple koi. I received the 3 bulbs with leaves growing out of them already about 8 inches long or so. I planted all 3 of them in one square pot at 3 of the corners. The pot is about 12 inches by 12 inches and I think 6 inches deep.
I added the fertilizer tabs and placed in the pond. They have been in the pond for about 3 weeks. Now, all the leaves are brown. On Monday of this week, I pulled the pot out, split the 3 bulbs out among 2 containers (one in one basket and 2 in the other) and replanted them with NO fertilizer tabs. I couldn't find the old fertilizer tabs in the pot I think they must have already dissolved. I placed the pots at a depth of about 12 inches for the one pot and the other at a depth of maybe 20 inches. The one at 20 inches HAD green leaves but they were not yet tall enough to reach the water surface. Now that I look out there, those leaves are now turning brown as well. The pot with the two plants in it at 12 inches is still brown too. Did I kill them somehow or do the leaves always turn brown and then come back or die off and grow new ones or what should I be looking for to know my plants are still alive and healthy?

Did I plant them too deep and kill them? Did I kill them by planting all three bulbs in the same square pot? Did I kill them by over-fertilizing (fertilizer tabs plus the fish waste)?

Thanks in advance!
Bueller
 
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tbendl

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Did you make sure the leaves are uncovered? And what did you plant them in? I have mine planted in oil pans with unscented plain kitty litter with some osmocote mixed in. I was told to make sure all of the leaves that were out were uncovered when potting them.
 
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Hi There! And Welcome! No I don't think you killed them. I have found water lilies to be temperamental on occasion. Sometimes they grow with no problems. Other times they give me problems too. I don't think you killed them by putting them in the same pot, although when they get going they should be in their own pots.

You mentioned you have koi, they could be part of the problem, I think they sometimes eat the baby leaves and give the lilies a bit of a hard time.

Is it possible to just put the bulbs, no soil in some pond water outside of your pond, away from the fish, like in a large tub? I some times just throw my bulbs in a 35 gall guppy pond I have to get them started. Once I see leaves, I put them in a small pot with soil (I find that works best for me). And as long as they get enough sun, they are happy. That said, I am growing one in an indoor fish tank, just because I had a ton of baby plants and decided to give it a try. Its the second time I have done this.

Good luck. I have found that each situation is different, everyone's water is different, everyone's fish is different. So its hard to dish out advice. Sun is the key thing for me.
 
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They may be okay, but time will tell.

A few things.

I would only put one per pot for starters. Depending on type of rhizome growth your particular lilies exhibit, one may fill the entire container in a single season. If they are together they'll compete and the stronger one will win. Also, you want them to have room for their leaves and having them close together puts there leaf spreads right on top of each other.

When you pot them, make sure the top of the rhizome is just above the soil surface. You probably did this, but just a reminder in case not. Plant at a diagonal with the top above the soil and usually start toward one side of the container. Also, round pots are generally better since something that is growing in the pot won't grow into a corner and get sort of stuck (or even jump the pot).

Definitely don't fertilize when they're getting going, but that alone probably isn't enough to kill them unless you had the fertilizer tabs right on in their main root mass. I sometimes add some ozmocote to the soil at the bottom of the pot below where the existing roots reach, but not a lot and usually add fertilizer when the plants really start chugging along.

And the most important thing to remember is that some water lilies will sulk for a bit after replanting and, depending on how they came to you and what kind of shock they went through, having all the existing leaves die off is fairly common. Often the first few new leaves to emerge will be a little funky as well, since there may have been some damage or stress to them before they emerged from the crown. So when you are evaluating them, don't worry as much about what the surface leaves look like that were already out when you received it (or repotted even) - just make sure you see new leaves coming up within a week or 2 of transplanting (even if they are still just coming up and still rolled up and underwater).

If no evidence of new leaves coming from the crown in a few weeks ... then it is time to start worrying.
 
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addy1

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Agree with above, the main thing is to make sure the tuber tip is above the soil, i.e. where the leaves are growing out of. If it is buried that can kill them. I usually put mine 6-8 inches below water surface to give them good sun and warmth to get them going.

I have, at times, put a small tuber in a net bag, added a rock to keep it under water, let it sit until it started growing leaves, then plant it.

I have a real expensive lily (way more than I would pay) that my husband bought for me, leaves are dieing off, but new leaves are coming out. It has been in the pond for around 2-3 weeks now. Give them time to get going. And a round pot is the best I use walmart car oil pans.
 

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