© RHS/Tim Sandall



Botanical name: Nymphaea

Instantly recognisable, waterlilies are possibly the most sought after of all aquatic plants. There is a vast array to choose from, for ponds large and small, with summer flowers in various colours.


The sumptuous bowl-shaped blooms come in various colours and sizes. They float on the water, or stand just above it, throughout the summer months, surrounded by flat circular leaves.


Hardy waterlilies like a sunny spot in a still pond, with enough space to accommodate their size, whether large, medium or small. They are vigorous plants, so benefit from an annual feed. Tropical waterlilies need warm conditions.


Waterlilies won’t perform well when overcrowded or congested, so give them plenty of space and divide every few years. They dislike flowing water. Tropical waterlilies can’t survive in cold water.

Did you know?

Plants such as waterlilies not only improve the look of a pond, they also improve its health and value to wildlife too. They provide shelter for many types of pondlife and cast shade that deters algae. They should ideally cover about half the surface area.

Growing guide

Waterlilies we recommend

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Useful advice

Aquatic plants: planting

Aquatic plants: planting

Pond care

Pond care

Pond plant propagation

Pond plant propagation

Waterlily invertebrates

Waterlily invertebrates

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