View Full Version : Tropical Lily Tutorial~ Would you know what to do with this if you got it in the mail

05-27-2008, 12:30 PM
When I first started growing Tropical water lilies I got a small tuber in trade. It was no bigger than a pencil eraser, I babied that thing in the kitchen window until it sprouted. I also ordered some 4 to be exact from another person and paid $10.00 a piece for them. They were this size and each one was in a plastic bag of air. You know blown up. No paper or anything to keep them moist. This is how big they were. I got all but 1 of them to live.

05-27-2008, 12:40 PM
This is how I pot up and and divide my tropicals. I first pull a clump out of their pot. I then start separating them. sometimes just a flick of the thumnail to get them off the tuber. The Tuber will continue to form more babies if you float for a while. These babies will grow fast. I usually start mine in 4 inch pots. I put newspaper over the holes in the pots to stop the soil from leaching out. I put one half of a Jobes Tomato stake in each pot. then I use yard dirt nothing special at all. Then I put in the plant and top with course sand if not going in with the goldfish. I usually start all my plants in a kiddie pools or pools.:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: They will do quite well in those 4 inch pots too. Sometimes I never put them in bigger pots at all.

05-27-2008, 12:45 PM
do you remember this pic of Blink its growing in a 4 inch pot. It was huge too just feeding off of goldfish mulm too.:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

05-27-2008, 02:04 PM
I guess yall forgot I paid over $100.00 for my first Foxfire, I got it at Waterford Gardens.:eek1: :eek1: :eek1: :eek1:

05-28-2008, 01:34 PM
Well I potted up 60 some odd pots of Trops. I still have a few more to do.

05-28-2008, 02:06 PM
I need to stay out of the lily pond. I just found 4 more tubers of something I left outside sprouting, :eek1: :eek1: :eek1: :eek1: These are supposed to be tropicals and they should have died. I wish one could be my Islamorda but I am sure its gone. I dont remember it blooming last year. Last year of course I made a mistake of putting in some WH and it smothered out the whole pond. That is basicly why these were all left out. I thought they had all died.

05-28-2008, 06:15 PM
I guess I over did it when I put my trops in a Dollar tree dish pan like my hardies.....

no they will do fine I just dont have the room, I normally pot up mine in 10 or 12 hanging baskets, Like the new ones I got this year. But when I start with small tubers or even starts like these I use small pots and sometimes never get around to potting them up into larger pots. I also dont have to room for 80 or more 12 inch hanging baskets.

05-28-2008, 06:27 PM
One gallon nursery pots work great for tropicals. Like Gary shows, put some newspaper over the holes before adding dirt. I find tropicals & hardies will do best when the soil can breathe. In other words have some holes in the container. I will also use small plastic drinking cups for all my extra tropicals to grow them out in. Saves on space & dirt.

Gary you certainly have been BUSY! That is a lot of potting up. I usually will spread out my potting so it doesn't feel quite as overwhelming.

If you don't find your Islamorada I may have an extra that I'd be happy to trade.

05-28-2008, 06:45 PM
Kat I only have 2 days off and since it rained almost 4 inches in the last 3 days I could not mow. I I just decided to get some of them done. I still have not touched some of them or the hardies either and my Helvola and Joan Pring and my Nymphaea pygmaea has all kinds of seedlings that really need to be potted up. I have one of those that bloomed the other day and it has more petals than its supposed to going to have to watch it close.

andrew davis
06-07-2008, 05:09 PM
It's worth mentioning that size can be a misleading criterion for many varieties.

A big three, four inch tuber with a few sprouts can be 'clapped out' and on the point of failing, while a 1/2" pea sized tuber may have a couple of seasons strong growing ahead of it.

Varieties of tropical waterlily which have more potential as small vivips or tubers, go like clockwork include Tina, Islamorada, Queen of Siam, Colorata, King of Siam....

Tina more reliably grows from a small rooted and shooted tiny vivip than any one inch tuber.

A Bagdad may well form a dozen offsets, which need intensive care for a couple of weeks to get them independant while the large old tuber will soon be dead as a dodo...

Theres just a narrow window for planting out tropical waterlilies to see them bloom in many parts of continental America, planting out a large grown plant from a greenhouse or a different climate has a high probability of plant shock compared to starting off with a small tuber or start in a protected position

If your climate is just as likely to switch from 100°f to 60°f the next day early Summer, its a lot easier to shuffle the small start from one protected position, to another...

Regards, andy

06-07-2008, 07:16 PM
Again....I am a professional grower and as such have a vested interest in this discussion but that does not mean I am necessarily biased.

There is a veritable cornucopia of tropical lilies available from licensed growers compared to the mere handful offered on ebay ....and without exception, I do not know of a single licensed, professional grower that even considers selling tubers. the whole point of being a "grower" is to grow things to a marketable size.

Given these are tropical plants, the season is indeed limited in much, if not most of the US, and a established potted plant will not miss a beat blooming or be of concern should a late season front sweep through and drop the temps for a day or two. By contrast, a tuber is a crap shoot as to if and when it will bloom and a cold night or two is much more likely to send it back to dormancy.

Do full sized, established plants cost more?...sure they do. A grower has done the work for you and all you need do is enjoy them. A tuber is fine if you want to be the grower, but at least a third of the blooming season will be lost to you, at really a minimum of savings.

About all tropicals lilies by necessity come from a climate "different" from most of the US. But I know of none grown in a 'greenhouse', unless that is an aquarium in a window<g> And would love to see some supporting data to the claim there is a "high probability of plant shock" of a well grown plant, when compared to the shock experienced by a fragile sprout from a tuber.

andrew davis
06-07-2008, 08:40 PM
Bare root means just that, it has been grown without soil, or has been yanked from a bed of soil soft enough to yank it out. Upside, you can see how good the condition of the tuber and feeder roots are, can spread the roots how you like when you plant them up. Waterlily roots are very delicate, if they have been exposed to excessive heat (like a hot sunny mailbox) they are easily crippled

Potted, roots growing within a potting medium, can be very tricky to repot of the dirt ball disintegrates and breaks the delicate roots apart, if you can slap the potted plant into the new position absolutely intact it should do ok. Downside, dirt is heavy, shipping costs climb over 2lbs weight

Hummm, I wouldn't be so sure about the 'handfull' on ebay.

I can think of three ebay sellers who in season, between them provide a better choice (tuber, starts or grown out) of over 100 varieties of tropical waterlilies at a better price ($10-20 being typical)

No need to be gouged $30-$40, at all, really...

Regards, andy

andrew davis
06-08-2008, 12:50 AM
Yup, a well rooted start, with say six to 12 roots 4-6" long, packed moist and bagged intact, that would definitely be a very viable start. Excellent value for $10, likely to bloom in a months time in good conditions, roll up! roll up!

Don't forget, just ask your local usda plant inspector to stamp a plant license, anyone can do it, easy peasy, nothing to it. Register it under some obscure name to help keep it private

Ummm, any intersting varieties?

Regards, andy

06-08-2008, 02:45 PM
Hello NN,

A bare root will open any mature blooms it was shipped with, but then take two to three weeks to grow new roots and set more buds.

It is really a value added thing with each step. Tubers like those Gary showed to start the thread are fine if they are what you want/are expecting. But they should be cheap because the grower has little time invested in them. As I said no grower I know even considers selling tubers.

The grower plants out the tubers and more or less culls them. Some grow immediately, some stall for awhile and some just sit there. What we then send bare root are the most vigorous tubers that are now a budded/blooming plant. And I will add, that even with the time invested, most lilies sell at that level sell for less than ten dollars.

The nursery now gets them and pots them up and holds them the two weeks or so until they are blooming again....and they deserve to be compensated for the effort. So $20-$40 for a potted blooming lily is probably on a percentage basis, less expensive than a $10 tuber. There is a couple months work invested that you now don't have to do.

Pictures....I like pictures.<g> When I start a pond, I fill it with the pots and plant the entire pond at the same time. Normally I won't mix repotted plants with tubers, but this time of year, it seems unavoidable. So the pond in the first picture was all planted the same day maybe two weeks ago. Repotted plants are already blooming....tubers just starting to float pads.

The second picture, while not great, shows the disparity in growing tubers. You see the pads of different size and some pots that haven't even floated a pad yet. The problem with tubers....some may bloom in a month or so, but most you really need to figure on two.

If you have a summer with only a hundred day growing season....that thirty dollar lily is going to provide far more pleasure in the time span than a ten dollar tuber. And if you are trying to integrate a tuber into a pond of established plants....there is the added aggravation of trying to keep it from being crowded out.

06-09-2008, 02:02 AM
Craig dont you get more than one plant from a tuber? Dont you pull the plants off and plant them and kkep getting new plants every so often.? Just wondering. I know we have different growing seasons and yours pop faster in your warmer water.

06-09-2008, 04:51 PM
The Lilies that I planted a week ago have already put out new roots and are at the bottom of their pots. These things grow pretty fast.

06-09-2008, 07:19 PM
Hey Gary,

The normal expectation is you will get more than one plant per tuber, another reason growers don't sell tubers. The only way to propagate true to type plants is vegetatively, so selling the tuber is about the equivalent of selling seed corn for hog feed. Leaves you without a crop for the next season.<g>

But some lilies are just so weedy they aren't worth growing....your 'Miami Rose' for one. Too many small plants to root through in hopes of getting a blooming lily. "St. Louis Gold" is another that is more trouble than it is worth. Interesting thing.....I recently received transcriptions of an interview with George Pring and even the creator had nothing good to say about 'St. Louis Gold'.

Even when it comes to vivips.... commercial growers don't use the vivips for starts as they are too unreliable. Tubers are bad enough.<g> So for a number of reasons, a true grower isn't going to jeopardize customer relations and a future crop by selling tubers. Though at ten bucks a pop, more money and a whole lot less work...I might have to reconsider.<g>

06-09-2008, 09:02 PM
Yeah I agree Miami Rose is weedy but its still one of my favorites.:D: :D: :D: :D: