To repot a water lily, you will need the following:
1. A pair of heavy duty sizers or hand pruners.
2. Several wide, shallow pots.
3. News papers (if you are using pots with holes in the bottom.
4. Your garden hose with a sprayer nozzle.
5. Plant food tabs.
6. Potting medium, such as clay soil.
7. One nasty, gnarly, overgrown waterlily.
8. Latex gloves (optional)
The waterlily pictured to the right has about 7 new, viable tubers, of
which 3 of them are clearly visible. Pop these tubers off at the base (or
where they connect to the main tuber) and this will be your new dead
end. NOTE: Some varieties of waterlily tubers contain a black dye-like
substance. If you don't want your fingers and hands dyed black, use the
The new tuber looks
The big, fat roots can
be broken off at the
tuber, as they are not
essential for the
growth of the new
Cover the holes in the pots with newspaper so the dirt doesn't sift out and into your pond. You can use a number of things to do
this, like extra underlayment or landscape mesh, but newspaper is easy, abundant, biodegradable, and will not harm your fish.
Add three plant tabs (or one plant tab per gallon size of pot), and cover with potting medium up to about 2" from the top of the
This next part is REALLY important. Set your new tuber with the DEAD END butted right up next to the edge of the pot and the
growing tip pointed towards the center. Since the dead end is, well, dead, there will be no plant growth in that direction. All
of the new plant growth will be horizontially from the growing tip.
the growing tip and top of the tuber exposed, and pack it
down. If you have koi over 10" long, you will probably also
want to cover the exposed potting medium with river rock
or something larger, as large koi like to root around in
things and will uproot your plants if they can.
Lower the plant into your pond at a 45º angle to reduce
disruption of the potting medium due to bubbling.
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First, to get the waterlily out of the existing pot you will
probably have to cut the pot off of the water lily roots (The old
pot is in the picture above in the left hand corner). Next,
remove as much of the existing dirt as possible by spraying it with
a jet of water so you can see how many tubers you actually have.