repotting waterlilies. Soil???

tootseug(8)September 15, 2012


I'm repotting my lilies in my rather larger pond. I'm planting in pots. I have lotus containors that I've drilled holes at the bottom, and various other pots with holes at bottom.

Previously I have used garden soil. The problem has been how much it dirties my pond as they grow. I would love to use the aquatic soil because it is cleaner, however, I have so many lilies and pots that it is not cost-effective for me. It would cost me an arm and a leg!

I have access to clay soil from a family member. I can also buy anything I need from my local Forest products company(soil, gravel etc).

I am wondering what product and process you would suggest to minimize the mess in my pond. I always get lots of "muck".



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Forgot to say, I don't have fish at this time. Perhaps in the future, but I have a racoon family on my property.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:10AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

i plant in gravel. there are so many nutrients in the pond to feed the lilies, i find soil unnecessary, personally.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:36AM
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Thanks for your reply. You speak of nutrients in the pond, even w/o fish?? And are you speaking of peagravel or that coarse 3/4" gravel?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:13AM
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joe_09(z7 ny)

i go to hd and buy a bag of 3/4 gravel.use the larger size so the koi wont swallow any stones.i also dont feed my water plants any fertilizer,my water is gin clear.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:35AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I don't think you even need holes in the bottoms of your pots. They can actually grow out of the holes and go where you don't want them to go.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:18PM
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No holes in pots and I use basic clay kitty litter, the cheap stuff from walmart. Works swimmingly :)

I also use 3 gallon dish tubs from walmart to plant them in. $1.99 IIRC

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Forgot to mention walmart sells them in black.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:04PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

have never found a way they won't grow except maybe dry lol. So the ?? becomes what does best. I use oil dri or turface much more stable than litter and is actually cheaper . I find that by using plug ferts I can control the size of both the flowers and the pads Can go from 4 inch to 14 inch flowers standing two feet out of the water. Pads will range from 4 /24 inhces
Those grown unpotted will remain under 6 inches . So take notes and find what works for you?? They are incredibly adaptable!!! gary

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 5:31PM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

I use kitty litter in plastic lined pots, with fert tabs. Lilies are huge!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Shalom - batting and pea gravel and river rock combinaton; use job tomato spikes as fertilizer - this year has been the best ever for the lillies. I grow all my plants in gravel/batting; Iris, Dragon Tail, Verigated Chamelon, pickerl rush, horse tail, impatiens, hosta, marigolds, five star ground cover, several other annulas,plus a couple more aquatic perrenials

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:56PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

NO holes for me and clay garden soil with gravel on top. I have tried pea gravel, kitty litter and Schultz Aquatic Soil and plain old garden dirt has done far better for me with waterlilies. Many more blooms and bigger growth. They struggle for me in gravel.

I do grow everything else in pea gravel though in mesh pots.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Well, I ended up using the clay soil. Since you all said "no" to the holes in the pots, I lined the pots with weed block fabric. Added the clay mixed in a bit of pea gravel, then covered each with about an inch or so of pea gravel. It has turned out well. Easy to add fertilizer tabs and NO escaping silt from the clay because of the pea gravel. Couldn't be happier! Thanks so much for all of your replies!


    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 3:24PM
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My lillies do great in a 50/50 mixture of sand (playbox sand from Home Depot) and topsoil for my lillies. I also push a couple of fertilizer tabs down into the soil to feed them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 1:53PM
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How do you keep the koi from pulling the plants out of their containers? I had beautiful waterliles and the koi pulled them out and ate them. Now my pond water is green with algae.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 10:36PM
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