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Waterlilies are the crown jewels of the pool. Just thinking of a garden pond evokes the image of a starry waterlily bloom reflecting in tranquil water or an opalescent flower floating upon it.
There are so many to choose from! Will it be "hardy", charming clusters of beautiful leaves with flowers often floating on the water's surface? Or will it be "tropical", sensational fragrant flowers usually held high above the water? And if tropical, might it be a night bloomer, shimmering in the moonlight?
The variety displayed by waterlilies is amazing, in sizes from the tiny yellow hardy pygmaea 'Helvola' to the giant light blue tropical 'Floyd Wolfarth'. The colors are truly gem-like, as are some of the names, like 'Ruby' and the 'Star of Siam', so like a star sapphire. There are autumn shades like 'Albert Greenberg' and "changeables" like 'Sioux'. There is even 'Green Smoke', a stunning tropical true to its name.
There are green pads and flecked pads and pads mottled with maroon. There are the multicolored pads of 'Arc-En-Ciel' and the pads-that-match-the-flower of the night bloomer 'Red Flare'. There are pointed pads and serrated pads and round pads. There are large ones like those of 'Laura Frase' and those of 'William McLane' that look like bronze-green-gold marble. There are even pads that make new little plantlets, the "viviparous" varieties.
The tropical lilies native to Australia are stunning and unusual in their shapes and sizes. N. gigantea is one of them and, in its various forms, can have flowers 12 inches across and pads up to 2 feet! Some of these can stay open 24 hours for as many as seven days.
Most waterlilies open for three days in succession, closing
at night. Night blooming tropicals open those three days but
from evening to mid-morning. In warmth and health, they can produce
clusters of flowers from a single plant.