Water lilies come in both hardy and tropical varieties. Grow these beautiful flowers in your pond by purchasing tubers or started water lilies or by starting them from seeds. If you decide to start your tropical water lilies or hardy water lilies by seed, find a mature adult water lily plant to harvest seeds from, and you will need a plastic bag, paper towels, garden soil, a small hand shovel, white sand, and several containers.
Step 1 - Collect Seeds from Water Lilies
Water lilies disperse their seeds in pods. If you are interested in collecting seeds, you must wait until these pods mature. Then place a plastic baggie over the seed pod and loosely secure it to the stem with a twist tie. Allow water to fill the baggie and let the seed pod sink under the surface of the water.
Wait until the seed pod ripens and explodes. When this happens, remove the baggie with the seed pod and seeds from your pond.
Pour out the contents of your baggie into a tub of warm water. You will need to let the seeds ripen further before removing them from the tub. You will know when the seeds are ripe when the floral streamers rot away. The seeds will sink to the bottom of your tub.
Remove the seeds from the tub and divide them into viable and non-viable seeds. The viable seeds will be large and dark, the non-viable seeds will be smaller and light-colored.
Step 2 - Prepare Seeds for Planting
If you are working with tropical water lilies, place your seeds into a paper towel and allow them to dry in your refrigerator. You will keep your seeds in the fridge until you are ready to plant them.
If you are working with hardy water lilies, leave your seeds in water until you are ready to plant them.
Step 3 - Start Your Water Lilies
When you are ready to plant your water lilies, prepare a large planting container for starting your seeds. To do this, add a couple inches of garden soil to the bottom of the container. Then fill the container with warm water. Wait until the sediment has settled to the bottom and then compress the soil.
Sprinkle your collected water lily seeds on the compressed soil and gently press them into the dirt. Finally, cover the seeds with a thin layer of white sand. This step will help you to see when your tropical water lilies or your hardy water lilies sprout.
Step 4 - Transplant Your Water Lily Seedlings
Once your water lilies have sprouted a couple of leaves, they will be ready for transplanting into individual containers. Prepare your new containers by adding a layer of garden soil to the bottom of each pot. Now you are ready for planting water lilies in their own containers.
Plant one water lily in each container. Plant the seedling to the side of the container and cover it up to the top of its root ball with soil. Compress the soil and fill the container with warm water. Then submerge your water lilies in your pond.