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Flowering Habits of Hardy Waterlilies
in the Tropics

Story and Photos by Pairat Songpanich, Thailand
Edited and Translated by Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat, Thailand

The hardy waterlily is a perennial crop originating in temperate and cold climate zones. However, when grown in the tropics, it adapts itself remarkably. Some grow and bloom all year round. Some may rest a very short period if the weather is extremely cold. Others may continue their growth but produce only very few flowers. 

Information shown here reports results of flowering habits of 21 well-known hardy waterlily cultivars grown for three years from 1 December 2000 to 31 December 2003. A rhizome of each cultivar was planted in 46 x 16 cm. (18.1 x 6.3 inch) width and height plastic container filled up with a mixture of paddy clay soil, 2 handfuls of dried cow manure and 2 table spoonfuls of 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer. Each container was put in a 65 x 45 cm. (25.6 x 17.7 inch) width and height cement jar placed in an area to gain full sun during 07.00-17.00 hours.

Maintenance and care were done by keeping the jars filled with water at all times. The whole pedicle and peduncle of old leaves and faded blooms were pinched off. Chemical fertilizer 16-16-16 and 8-24-24, one teaspoonful of each were applied alternately every two weeks for three months, then increased to one and a half spoonfuls of each formula afterward.

Each cultivar was allowed to produce only three shoots. Numbers of bloom produced each month were recorded on a plastic label sticker attached at the jar (see Figure 1).

The studies were located at Nonthaburi Province, Thailand, at latitude 13° 51' 40" North and longitude 100° 31' 35" East. 

Figure 1. Labeling and recording sticker of Nymphaea 'Gloriosa'

Numbers of bloom of each month of each year and of three years were added and averaged for each month of one year. Results included a hole year average are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. A annual average of bloom numbers of 21 hardy waterlily cultivars

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