How to grow water lilies indoors (2023)

Water lilies include dozens of plants belonging to the genuslotusThey are distributed over most of the world, but are native to southern Africa, the northern hemisphere and Australia. Although there are clear differences between the different species,water lilyAll are admired for their beauty. They usually have large drooping leaves and delicate, often colorful flowers.

Water lilies are excellent plants for ponds or other large outdoor water sources. Because they are such beautiful plants, many people wonder if they can be grown indoors for everyday enjoyment. While it is possible to grow water lilies as houseplants, it is very difficult. Ultimately, even if you provide the best growing conditions, you may not be able to get them to bloom. So if you choose to try it, be prepared that your efforts will fail at least as often as they succeed.

common namelotus
botanical nameNymphea
type of plantperennial aquatic flowering plant

How to grow water lilies indoors (1)

How to grow water lilies indoors (2)

How to grow water lilies indoors (3)

Can water lilies be grown indoors?

The key requirements for successfully growing water lilies indoors are the provision of carefully controlled water temperature and quality, as well as adequate lighting. Few plants are more finicky about indoor conditions than water lilies, which is why indoor cultivation is usually only pursued by dedicated enthusiasts. This is not the houseplant for someone looking for an easy-to-grow ornamental houseplant.

There are about 50 species of water lilies and several varieties of these species. While there are several ways to classify water lilies, including their growth habit, they are usually grouped into two groups: hardy water lilies and tropical water lilies..

tropical water lilyThey are strictly warm water plants with large, colorful flowers that grow on stems above the water. Some varieties bloom day and night. Tropical species typically bloom for three to four days at a time, with individual plants ranging from 3 to 12 feet. These are some of the most prized water lilies in the world, but due to their size and exacting temperature needs, they are not suitable for growing indoors.

(Video) How to grow Water Lily in Aquarium| Growing Water Lily Indoor |Bulls Eye Lily| Albert Greenberg Lily

hardy water lilyThey grow in temperate regions, including North America. Their leaves tend to be smaller than tropical water lilies and their flowers float on water. Hardy water lilies have different flower colors than tropical water lilies. In many species, the flowers gradually change color over the few days they open. They are the best choice for growing indoors, as there are some dwarf varieties that do well in manageable sized containers of water.

How to grow water lilies indoors

Sun light

To thrive indoors, water lilies need as much sunlight as possible, if not more. These plants need at least four to eight hours of full direct sunlight each day to thrive.

artificial light source

Unless you're lucky enough to have a sunny or heated greenhouse, the lack of direct sunlight in your home in the winter almost guarantees that you'll need to add extra light for water lilies to thrive. positionlong lightSpray directly on the plants and let them run 12-18 hours a day to provide the equivalent of eight hours of sunlight. You may need to experiment with different types of bulbs and fixtures to get the right lighting.

temperature and humidity

Make sure the water temperature is suitable for the variety of water lily you are growing. Tropical water lilies will die in water temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and most need water temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive.

Hardy water lilies do not have strict water temperature requirements. 68 degrees Fahrenheit, a common indoor winter temperature, works well for hardy water lily leaves, but you need to keep the temperature constant and not allow for cooler nighttime temperatures.

If necessary, consider adding aaquarium heaterKeep the temperature at the ideal level for the water lilies you are growing.


When the tank or water container is short of water, add spring water or distilled water that has reached room temperature to restore the water level to its original state. Ideally, the top of the planter basket should sink at least 12 inches. If you must use tap water, let it sit for at least 24 hours before adding it to allow the dissolved chlorine to evaporate.

the water cycle

andblisterAlso used for fish tanks, it is a good idea for indoor water gardens because it can keep the water breathable and prevent it from going bad and smelly. With proper aeration, you won't need to change the water as often.


Water lilies do best if you add liquid fertilizer or aquatic plant fertilizer granules to the water. When you add extra water to the tank, you should add a small amount of extra fertilizer.

pruning and maintenance

Remove dead leaves as they appear; this will keep the water fresh and prevent stagnation. One of the main disadvantages of growing water lilies indoors is the smell of stagnant water, although cloudy water will not harm the plants. Just change the water every now and then.

container and size

Water lilies like other water garden plants, grown in porous mesh baskets submerged in larger containers of water or ponds. If you want to grow tropical water lilies indoors, the water container should be large. Although estimates vary by species, it's safe to assume that each tropical water lily needs about 36 square feet of water surface to thrive. In practice, this means a 6 x 6 foot body of water. This is not an option for most homes unless equipped with a greenhouse or large solarium specifically for this purpose.

Therefore, the only viable option for most people is to grow hardy water lilies. Some hardy varieties of dwarf water lily can be grown successfully in containers as small as 15 gallons, such as a medium-sized fish tank or galvanized tub. The plants themselves are placed in mesh pots or planting baskets filled with growing medium. For growing indoors, the basket should be small enough that water can flow freely around the basket and short enough that the top of the basket can remain submerged below the surface of the tank. For many species, the water level should be maintained 12 inches or more above the top of the netting the plant is in.

(Video) How To Grow Waterlily At Home- Like a Pro | Grow Waterlily In Tub | Best Potting Soil For Water Lily

Potting soil and drainage

Although water lilies are entirely aquatic, they still need a growing medium. Your best bet is to fill the bottom of a plastic mesh pot or planting basket with rocks for weight, then add a growing medium such as sand, perlite, or an aquatic plant mix.

Water lilies for potting and transplanting

After filling a mesh container or growing basket with growing medium, bury the plant in the pot so that the growing tips are slightly exposed but the entire rhizome is buried. Place the pot in a bowl of water so that the water can circulate freely around the pot. Once potted, your water lilies don't need repotting; it's best to start over with new plants after the water lilies have matured and filled the tank.

Move indoor water lilies out

It is usually not practical to move a water lily grown as a houseplant outdoors. Lily pads used in indoor tanks do not respond well when removed and dropped into outdoor ponds where water temperature and chemistry vary greatly. One possible exception is if the entire indoor tank can be pushed out into the outdoor yard during the warmer summer months. Even here, the impact is often more than the plants can withstand. If you grow water lilies as houseplants, it's best not to tempt fate by moving them.

Water lilies overwintering outdoors

In cold climates it is commonoutdoor winter aquatic plantstake the means. But the goal here is not to use them as flowering houseplants, but simply to keep them dormant during the cooler months so you can bring them outside next summer.

For tropical water lilies, overwintering means bringing them indoors and keeping them in carefully temperature-controlled tanks. However, growers often prune most of the foliage back during this time to encourage dormancy. Bring an outdoor water lily indoors during hibernation and no amount of effort will keep it blooming.

Για ανθεκτικά νούφαρα, το ξεχειμώνιασμα γίνεται συνήθως αφαιρώντας το φυτό σε γλάστρα από την εξωτερική λίμνη, κόβοντας τα φύλλα, σφραγίζοντας το σε δοχείο ή πλαστική σακούλα και τοποθετώντας το σε ένα δροσερό υπόγειο ή θερμαινόμενο γκαράζ σε θερμοκρασίες περίπου 50 βαθμούς. όλο το χειμώνα. Όταν μεταφερθούν πίσω σε μια εξωτερική λίμνη στα τέλη της άνοιξης, τα φυτά συνήθως βγαίνουν από τον λήθαργο και αρχίζουν να αναπτύσσονται ξανά ενεργά.

Frequent questions

  • How long do water lilies live?

    Water lilies are long-lived perennials, even when grown indoors if the conditions are right. There are many examples of water lilies that live 15 or 20 years or more.

    (Video) Peace Lily Thirst Trap or How To Water a Peace Lily

  • Do pests affect indoor water lilies?

    Indoor water lilies are susceptible to a variety of common pests, includingaphid, mealy, scaled and mealy.

  • Which varieties are best for growing indoors?

    Dwarf varieties of hardy water lilies are best suited for growing indoors. Some recommended varieties include: 'Aurora,' with orange apricot flowers that grow well in 12 to 24 inches of water; 'Denver,' a yellow flower that grows in up to six inches of water; bubblegum flowers in 10 inches of water, or 'Ermine,' white flowers in 6 to 24 inches of water;

  • Will my water lily bloom in its first year?

    When grown from rhizomes under ideal conditions, water lilies usually bloom in their first year. However, it is not uncommon for plants to struggle for a year or two before growers adjust to indoor conditions.

    (Video) How to grow Peace Lily in water, cleaning the air of the room

Article source

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed research, to support the facts in our articles. read usissuance processLearn more about how we check data and ensure our content is accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Tips for growing water lilies.University of Utah Extension

    (Video) Water Lily | How to Grow Water Lily from seed | Grow Lotus Plant at Home | 10 Days Update |

  2. Water lilies for the home gardener.Missouri Botanical Garden


How to grow water lilies indoors? ›

Plant water lilies in a pot; water gently to dislodge air pockets, and submerge the pot in a larger container, or plant directly in the container itself. Tropicals should be planted in the center of the pot in 4-5 inches of the closest approximation of heavy loam soil you can get.

Can water lilies grow in just water indoors? ›

The basic requirements for successfully growing water lilies indoors are to provide carefully controlled water temperature and quality, and an exceptional amount of light. Few plants are more finicky about indoor conditions than water lilies, which is why indoor growing is usually pursued only by devoted enthusiasts.

How do you take care of water lilies indoors? ›

The water should be kept warm at all times, even with the hardy water lilies. Tropical plants need water temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive. If the water drops to 60 degrees F or lower, the plant won't survive. Hardy water lilies are best kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do water lilies need to survive? ›

Water lilies require sunlight for their growth. While they may withstand shade for some time period, they still need sunlight for at least 3 hours every day. Moving water is detrimental to the growth of the plantation and you should be careful to plant them away from any pumps or recreational areas.

How do you grow water lily seeds indoors? ›

Press the seeds gently into the soil using your finger. Water lily seeds need warm soil to germinate so place the pot in a warm, sunny spot and fill it up to the top with water. It can take the seeds three to four weeks to germinate depending on the variety and the weather conditions.

Can you grow water lilies in a glass bowl? ›

Water lilies can also be grown in large bowls, or urn-shaped pots 60cm or more deep that have been water-proofed. These add a touch of glamour to a courtyard or outdoor living area. Make sure they get plenty of direct sunlight daily and top up the water regularly.

Can water lilies grow in just gravel? ›

Your water lily (or lotus) bare root tubers will do best in good quality soil, though they will grow in pure sand or gravel. Some garden centers sell water plant potting mix. Gravel at the bottom of your pot will help sink the planting container and one-inch gravel at the top will keep foraging koi out.

How long do potted lilies last indoors? ›

Indoors, place a potted Easter lily where it can get plenty of bright light. Keep the soil consistently moist. Flowering should continue for up to two weeks, depending on the temperature in your home. To prolong the plant's blooming period, avoid placing it in hot spots, such as near radiators or heating vents.

How long do indoor lily plants last? ›

Many people consider three to five years an average peace lily lifespan. However, indoor peace lilies have been known to live two decades or more. Late winter or early spring is the best time to repot and propagate peace lilies.

Do lilies in pots need a lot of water? ›

Watering Lilies in Pots

Lilies prefer moist, well-draining soil, but they do not tolerate standing water. A good rule of thumb is to water your lilies every 3 days, or when the top inch of soil feels dry. Be sure not to let the soil become overly saturated, as this can lead to bulb rot or other problems.

How deep should the water be for a water lily? ›

Water lilies can be submerged 6-18 inches deep. It is best to lower the container gradually in the water as the water lily begins to grow, something easily accomplished by raising the container on bricks and gradually removing the bricks over time.

Will water lilies grow without soil? ›

Unlike “regular” plants that go in the ground, water lilies should NOT be planted in garden potting mixes that are primarily peat moss. Instead, use a commercial aquatic potting mix or a soilless potting medium such as Profile. You can also use soil from the garden, so long as it is heavy and high in clay content.

Can I grow lily bulbs indoors? ›

In a nice sunny place without direct sunlight, lilies in pots can also thrive indoors and enchant the room with their lovely fragrance. However, as a houseplant, lilies savour the human need for care a little more than when outside in the garden.

How long do water lilies live? ›

In frost-free regions, water lilies bloom year-round. But you have to be lucky to catch a bloom, as each individual flower lasts for about four days before sinking under the water to decompose. The beauty is short-lived, but that makes it even more special.

What pots are best for water lilies? ›

Any deep, spacious, water-tight pot will hold miniature water lilies. Water lily pots have to be large and spacious, so start by choosing a container that's at least 15-18 inches deep and 24-40 inches wide. This will give you enough space for your lilies. Pots must be watertight.

What is the best thing to plant water lilies in? ›

Manure: Horse, cow and sheep manure are all ideal but avoid poultry manure. Soil: This should be general garden soil not potting mix because the soil will turn into a nice muddy consistency, which is what water lilies need. Coarse sand: A mix without clay particles.

What kind of soil do water lilies like? ›

Loam or clay soil is best for filling the water lily's pot before it is lowered into the water. Don't use a lightweight soil mix.

Do potted water lilies spread? ›

Water lilies spread across the water's surface, filling it with color and vibrancy all the while keeping the pond and the creatures in it safe and healthy.

How quickly do water lilies spread? ›

How to care for waterlilies
Flowering season(s)Summer, Autumn
Soil moisturePoorly drained
Ultimate height10-15cm (4-6in)
Ultimate spreadUp to 2.4m (8ft) depending on variety
Time to ultimate height5-6 months
4 more rows

Do water lilies spread their seeds on water? ›

Growth and reproduction

After fertilization, the flower stalks curls like a corkscrew, the drawing the flower underwater. The seeds float back up to the surface and are spread through water movement.

Where is the best place to put a lily plant indoors? ›

Bright, indirect light is best for peace lilies, ideally sheltered from cold draughts, so choose a spot away from doors and fire places. peace lilies are used to a tropical environment so a humid room, such as a bathroom, is best.

Why is my indoor lily dying? ›

Failure to water regularly—and to water thoroughly—most often causes peace lily drooping and browning leaf tips. To avoid underwatering, pour water into the top of the pot, wait for it to penetrate the soil, and watch for the excess to drain out of the bottom of the pot.

Do lilies grow better in pots or ground? ›

Lilies grow well in containers, where they can be positioned for maximum effect in the garden. It's a great way to grow these stunning plants, especially if you can't grow them in your garden.

Do indoor lilies need sunlight? ›

Unlike many houseplants that we inevitably end up killing, peace lilies like growing indoors. They don't need direct sun, preferring bright, indirect light from a nearby window. They'll grow just fine across the room from a window but won't bloom well in such low light and may also become leggy.

Do potted lilies come back every year? ›

Lilies are perennial and will return each year in suitable growing conditions.

Why is my indoor lily not flowering? ›

Circadian rhythms are the one of the main causes of a Peace Lily not flowering. Your Peace Lily should bloom in the middle of Spring, which will usually be during April, and this can follow through to the middle of Autumn.

How do you keep water lilies blooming? ›

For the best flowering, fertilize your plants once a month during the growing season. Press aquatic fertilizer tablets into the soil of each container.

What are the tips for growing water lilies? ›

How to Grow and Care for Water Lilies
  • Find a sunny location. Water lilies need at least four hours of bright sunlight daily. ...
  • Prepare your container. ...
  • Plant your water lily tuber. ...
  • Submerge the container. ...
  • Apply fertilizer directly to the soil.
Jun 7, 2021

Do water lilies need repotting? ›

Like all potted plants, water lilies need repotting from time to time. Find out how to do it, in our How-to guide. Spring is the ideal time to repot fleshy water lilies into slightly larger pots, helping them to grow better.

Can you take a cutting from a water lily? ›

Waterlilies and tuberous plants, such as Acorus, can be propagated from root-bud cuttings from the rhizome. They may produce tiny, new growing points on the roots where shoots emerge. Cut off a 7.5cm (3in) piece of the root behind the growing point. Pot up and grow on.

Do water lilies clean water? ›

Water lilies (Nymphaea spp.) and water poppies (Hydrocleys nymphoides) help to purify the water by absorbing nutrients.

What do water lilies symbolize? ›

For example, water lilies are often associated with birth and resurrection because of their striking ability to emerge from the water. Because of their often white petals, you'll also find them symbolising purity and majesty. But the most interesting thing the water lily symbolises is enlightenment.

How much sun do water lilies need? ›

Most water lilies typically need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight in order to produce their spectacular blooms. However, some will flower in part shade with between 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. None grow in deep shade with less than 3 hours of sunlight each day.

How do you split and repot a water lily? ›

Rinse off the soil, and trim away root growth and old foliage. Identify the crowns, or the little buds where a new lily pad group will sprout, and cut between them with a sharp knife. Keep the pieces 3 to 4 inches in length. Each one of these will become a new water lily plant.

How often do you repot water lilies? ›

We recommend repotting your Hardy water lily at least every two years. The best time to repot and divide if necessary is at the end of winter while your water lily is still dormant. We have everything you need for success including baskets, potting mix, pea gravel, fertiliser and complete potting kits.

What is the best soil for indoor lilies? ›

Plant peace lilies in Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix for great results. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. A month after planting, feed plants with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food. Repot when the plant's roots have completely outgrown its container.

What do you do with indoor lilies after they bloom? ›

After your lilies have flowered, you need to….

Cut the flower heads off your lilies (as you've done), allow the foliage to die back naturally. Do not be tempted to cut the stem back until stems become hollow and brown. This will then feed the bulb for next year's flowering.

What to do with water lilies in winter? ›

Store it inside: Transport your water lily indoors for the winter and store it in a cool basement or heated garage, keeping the temperature at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring in the whole pot and place it in a plastic bag or box. Check it periodically to make sure the soil remains moist.

Are water lilies hard to care for? ›

Once planted, taking care of water lilies is easy. In fact, most require no care at all other than dividing them every three or four years to rejuvenate them and to keep them from spreading into unwanted areas.

What are the disadvantages of water lily? ›

The rapid growth of a Water lily is dangerous because excess growth will cover the surface, causing a reduce in light penetration into the body of water. Thick growths of Water lilies interfere with oxygen exchange and one of the worst-case scenarios it can lead to being a source of flooding.

What is the rarest water lily in the world? ›

The plant, called Nymphaea thermarum in Latin, isn't just tiny; it is also one of the rarest plants in the world.

Are popped water lily seeds good? ›

Health Benefits

The nutrient content of popped water lily seeds definitely sets them apart from your average snack. They contain free-radical fighting antioxidants, minerals that come from the beautiful aquatic Eurale Fox plant and kaempferol, a flavonoid that has both anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.

Can you grow water lilies in water? ›

Water lilies should be grown in water depth of at least 45cm and will grown in water up to 1.8m deep.

How do you keep water lilies alive in a vase? ›

Just follow these steps:
  1. Give them a fresh cut. Carefully remove the cellophane wrapping. ...
  2. Remove leaves as necessary. You don't want any foliage below the water line once you fill your vase.
  3. Place them in a vase of fresh water. ...
  4. Feed them. ...
  5. Keep them out of direct sunlight. ...
  6. Change the water. ...
  7. Remove the pollen. ...
  8. Enjoy!
Apr 4, 2022

Can water lily survive in water? ›

Water lilies have a number of adaptations that help them survive in water, including big leaves that float on the water's surface to attract ample sunlight for photosynthesis. The top side of the leaf is covered with a cuticle to keep it as dry as possible, and the underside has thorns to protect against predators.

Can water lilies grow in running water? ›

A couple things to keep in mind though; water lilies do not like moving water or water from a fountain or waterfall splashing on their leaves.

Why do my water lilies keep dying? ›

Some of the main reasons your pond plants may be turning yellow or dying are insufficient sunlight, algae overgrowth, low dissolved oxygen level, planting at the wrong depth and choosing plants that aren't suited to your climate.

How long do water lilies live for? ›

Quick Guide
Symbolism:Celebration, Ambition, Enthusiasm
Native Origin:Worldwide
Blooming Season:Spring, Summer
Average Life:7-14 Days

Do water lilies need to be potted? ›

Water lilies prefer their pots to be wide rather than deep to accommodate maximum growth. Containers specifically designed for water lilies are generally 12-20 inches in diameter and 8-10 inches deep, as the size of the pot can have an influence on the size of the water lily.

Do potted lilies need a lot of water? ›

When it comes to potted lilies, the watering frequency will depend on the size of the pot and the soil conditions. Watering potted lilies every 2 to 3 days or when the top inch of soil feels dry is typically sufficient, but be sure to monitor the plant and adjust the watering frequency as needed.

Are water lilies poisonous to touch? ›

All water lilies are poisonous and contain an alkaloid called nupharin in almost all of their parts, with the exception of the seeds and in some species, the tubers.

What helps water lilies grow? ›

Waterlilies prefer calm, still water, away from fountains, pumps, cascades or other turbulence. Plant in full sun to promote flowering. They are best planted in aquatic compost, or heavy clay-based loam, in an aquatic basket.


1. DIY Water Garden In a Pot - How to Make a Container Water Garden - Grow Water Lily in Pot
(Whats Ur Home Story)
2. Hardy Semi-Miniature Water Lily (Nymphaea) | Part 1: Indoor Pond Setup
(Seow Like Meow)
3. How to grow water lily on rooftop / Planting water lilies in pots at home
(Dian Garden Tips)
4. How to Make an Indoor Water Garden! 🌿💦 // Garden Answer
(Garden Answer)
5. WATER LILY Plant Growing Time Lapse - Bulb To Flower (63 Days)
6. Results of Planting Water Lilies using No Soil nor Fertilizer
(Kaimuki Backyard)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 06/24/2023

Views: 5810

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.