Waterlily Season Has Begun!March 25, 2009
Today I would like to bring you up to date on one of the signature plants of our display, Victoria, commonly referred to as the Giant Water Platter. Few plants have the ability to captivate an audience like this plant. We begin in mid-January with the sowing of seeds. As you can see the seeds are about the size of garden pea.
Germination characteristics vary between them. The Longwood Hybrid has the highest germination percentage at around 80%. The other two species are considerably lower and more sporadic in their germination rates, at 20-30% on average. The first leaf to emerge is filformis, or thread-like, in shape. It is quickly followed by a deltoid or triangular shaped leaf.
It is not until the third leaf that we begin to see the resemblance to a platter. Once we have 1-2 of these floating leaves you can begin to separate and transplant the seedlings into individual pots. At this point fertilizer can be added to soil mix at approximately 1/4 strength.
From this point on we watch the growth and re-pot as needed, keeping the plants from becoming root bound. Other activities that are well under way by this time of year include the sowing of tropical waterlily tubers--we have also just finished dividing most of our marginal plants and are beginning to finalize the planting plans for the pools and marginal beds. So as you can see, the winter months may not seem like an active time from a gardening stand point--but for us it is probably the most crucial time of the year. Look forward to talking with you soon.