Help: Deformed Lily Pads

AndyPondJuly 22, 2014

I built the pond in February and installed 1 bareroot water lily (colorado) with no leaves. I potted the lily (and some marginals) in "topsoil" from home depot with osmocote. The lily put up a new pad every few days until it had about 12 pads with the new replacing the old. It bloomed once a couple weeks ago. The pond gets difuse light during the day and some late afternoon direct sun.

I've since discovered that the topsoil was mostly sand and mulchy organics. I think the organics were rotting and I was afraid it would harm the plants so I repotted all the marginals into clay soils.

However, I left the lily because I didn't want to disturb it and I was hopeful that it might like the organics in the soil.

In the last 2 weeks, I've only gotten 2 new leaves on the lily and they are small and deformed, and a little reddish around the edges (see picture). The other pads are aging and not being replaced by healthy pads.

Does anyone know what's going on here? BTW, earlier today and tonight, I checked the 2 deformed pads and there were no bugs or worms or anything on them. The only fish in the pond are goldfish. There are some sort of common snails in the pond (I didn't put them there) and I've never seen them on the deformed pads. There is 1 new pad on the way up but I suspect it will be small and/or deformed. There is one blossom bud that just appeared on the rhizome. The pond chemistry seems to be good and stable.

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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

I know almost nothing about lilies but do know what you've already learned about the top soil not being right. So I would repot the lily as you did the other plants and I add chunks of Jobe's fruit tree fertilizer spikes.

The only reason I would do this is because it covers a lot of bases. Allows me to check the condition of the rhizome, maybe it's starting to rot in that wrong soil. Maybe switching to the proper soil is the issue. Maybe the nutrients have leached out of the soil, or there's too much rot going on in there and some harmful chemical like ammonia has built up.

Basically I wouldn't know what else to do. If you don't get some good responses here there are forums more specific to water lilies which have people I've always thought knew what they were talking about. I've read the "Water Garden" section at another forum...unfortunately GardenWeb doesn't allow members to mention other forums so I can't direct you further. Forum owners want to keep eyeballs, actual help apparently isn't as important.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:54AM
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PKponder TX(7b)

It was unseasonably cool last week and my lilies slowed down a lot too. The 'deformed' pad with the reddish edges is simply a new pad that hasn't completely unfurled, nothing wrong there. Food (like wbg mentioned) and regular garden soil will nourish the lily more than topsoil, but the heat will help too.

It looks like something is tearing up the pads a bit, are you hearing frogs at night?


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Thank you for the advice. The deformed pads are fully open. They are also a bit thicker than the normal pads. I'll try to update again after the next pad comes up. I suspect I'll be repotting it soon.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:56PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I don't know if you've used any additional fertilizer tabs, but you can injure the leaves, if you accidentally stick the tabs too close to the roots. That has happened to me in the past.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:52AM
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I know you can burn the roots with too much fertilizer. I haven't added any fertilizer since February when I potted the lily with osmocote mostly on the bottom of the container. I suspect that either toxins are building up from the rotting organics and stunting growth or something is attacking the pads underwater before they surface.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:49PM
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