I saw my first Victoria water lily in a Dublin greenhouse and my second in Pennsylvania.
The first was indoors – the second was outdoors and I confess I fell in love with this plant.
This water lily has massive leaves and fragrant flowers and if you live in the South or have access to a heated pond, this is a plant to covet.
From South America
This is a South American native that requires warm water (80F) and long days to grow and flower. But if you do it right – you too can stand on a single leaf (you really can’t stand on them but a small child may be able to sit on one)
Rather than me rewriting history, here’s a link to the Missouri Botanic Gardens article on the development of the Victoria Water Lily plant. It is a little dry and long but it contains everything you’d ever need to know about the history of the plant.
In short, the two South American species Victoria water lily plants were crossbred at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania to give us the Longwood strain of Victorian water lily. This has the hardiness of one and the huge leaves of the other and is an amazing plant. It also survives nicely in cooler water (65-70F).
Growing Characteristics of the Victoria Water Lily
The individual leaves spread 4 feet across and the plant itself will spread to 40′ wide. The 12-16″ wide flowers open at night and are fragrant. It will require a pot capable of holding approximately 200 gallons of soil for a season’s growth. However, this is not a plant for outdoors in cooler climates where long-season warm water is not available.
The plant is an annual and unless you have a long growing season for the seeds to set and mature, you won’t be able to harvest seed and start the plant again. If you do find yourself the owner of seed, store it in moist sand at about 55F, out of full sun, until you are ready to plant.
It can be started in an aquarium but the length of our northerly seasons is not enough to get it to flower or set seed
It also requires tropical growing light and warm water throughout its growing season to fully grow and produce those magnificent leaves.
Picture of this waterlily in the Dublin Botanic Garden
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