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    Thread: How to Over Winter Tropical lilies

    1. #1
      Noahsnana's Avatar
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      How to Over Winter Tropical lilies

      Can someone help? I hate to lose them.
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      I floated mine in a small aquarium last winter. However that didn't work real well as I lost several of them. Three survived but two of them have never grown well or bloomed this summer. The one unknown blue put out pads all winter long and took off like a racehorse when I put it out in June. I hope it will survive in the aquarium again, I would hate to lose it too.
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      OVer wintering tropical lillieswater is a different kind of gardening activity. You can do it if you follow a few simple rules.

      Before the first frost, remove the roots from the pots.

      Trim off most of the leaves and roots so the roots will fit into a one gallon (roughly six
      inch) pot.

      Repot in fresh soil.

      Put in aquarium where the water temperature is never allowed to go below 68F

      Direct grow light lighting kept no more than six inches above the water line.Usually were looking for several hundred watts. In other words, at least two large bulbs or grow lamp tubes.

      If the tropical water lilies do not grow but instead form walnut sized tubers, you can remove the tubers and store in water that goes no lower than 55 to 60 F for the winter. Alternately, you can keep them in wet vermiculite at these temperatures until spring.

      When placed in small pots in the spring and installed in 72F water, they will (hopefully) :-) start to grow again.

      Grow for at least one month in gallon pot before putting out into pond.

    4. #4
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      If visuals help...this is a lily , 'Pamela', I pulled today. The main tuber will have the roots and more difficult to overwinter. If you get have gotten propagating tubers, the nut-like object on the left and in the second photo, they are much easier to store over winter; but personally, I wouldn't recommend keeping them in water...or wet anything really.

      Tubers are an evolutionary adaptation to survive drought and once they get wet they are going to try to grow. I keep my stored tubers just this side of dry and at room temperature.
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      lily tubers

      I keep my tropical tubers in damp sand. I roll the tuber in "Captan" antifungal powder to keep fungus from rotting my tubers. I put in a zip lock baggie and store them in popcorn cans, in my basement on a shelf. It never gets colder than 50*F in my basement in the winter. The pop corn cans keep the tubers safe in case a mouse gets in my basement. This works for me.

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      tropical lilies

      I also put some of them in aquariums that don't tuber. I do cut the plant down smaller and put in a smaller pot. I have lights and heaters and filters and fish in my aquariums. I also have a 100 gallon preformed pond with a light and heater and fish. I loose some of the tropicals but more survive than die. What have I got to loose, they would die anyway outside here in zone 6.

    7. #7
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      Last year I had nowhere to put my tropical so I decided to just leave it outside in a kiddie pool (18" deep). It had leaves from trees on top of it by the time it died back for winter.
      This year it either made it through winter or some of the seeds sprouted but it came back and I had several blooms. I'm in zone 6.
      I'll have to either move it to the greenhouse this year or leave it outside again.

      Previous years I just brought it inside and kept it moist/muddy. I did not keep the pot full of water. It kept very tiny leaves growing all winter then came out much quicker when spring came.
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      Quote Originally Posted by RCPing View Post
      I keep my tropical tubers in damp sand. I roll the tuber in "Captan" antifungal powder to keep fungus from rotting my tubers. I put in a zip lock baggie and store them in popcorn cans, in my basement on a shelf. It never gets colder than 50*F in my basement in the winter. The pop corn cans keep the tubers safe in case a mouse gets in my basement. This works for me.
      Do you have a cover on the popcorn can, keeping them in the dark without any light thru the winter?
      Steve


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      popcorn tin

      Yes I keep the lid on it to keep the tubers dark and mice out in case any would get in the basement. And I put it on a shelf instead of on the basement floor.

    10. #10
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      I bring my tropicals in the first week of Nov. I just lift them out of the pond and put them into a 45 gal. patio pond. They are in front of the window. That's it until next spring. My Banana tree & taro ( bloomimh in Feb. ) does great too. I also overwinter water lettuce.
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      Gray Cat, how do you keep the water from stagnating? Do you filter, or just do water changes?

      Out of curiosity, what is the coolest water temperature that a tropical can tolerate and come back the following year? I'm thinking about just heating my pond to about 55* with a cover, and hoping for the best. Can they take temps that cool?

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Skye View Post
      Gray Cat, how do you keep the water from stagnating? Do you filter, or just do water changes?

      Out of curiosity, what is the coolest water temperature that a tropical can tolerate and come back the following year? I'm thinking about just heating my pond to about 55* with a cover, and hoping for the best. Can they take temps that cool?
      I do water changes about 10% a week. I also have a 45 gal. patio pond with indoor fancy goldfish. So I am already doing water changes anyway.

      I think I have read not below 50* and they will come back. Not sure though.
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    13. #13
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      Craig,

      any specific directions for wintering tropicals here in central FL? I don't think my temps dropped below the mid 50's last winter in my lily box.

    14. #14
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      I would also like some info on how to winterize my tropical lilies, Zone 9. Could i just add an aquarium heater and cover my half 55g barrel?

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      If you keep a thermometer in the tub with the tropicals, if it looks like the temps will drop below 50f you could just toss a couple of layers of 4mil clear plastic over the tub. Some trops will cope with 40f when dormant, others its more like 50f

      Bringing a few spare tuber indoors and keeping them at room temperature is always a good safe bet, in the event you have some record cold spell.

      Check your historic weather data, estimate the odds of a bad winter...

      Here the odds are one in 10 winters is going to kill all tropicals left outside. Otherwise, approx 30% of varieties will consistently fail most years, some varieties being consistently more cold tolerant than others (night bloomers, micrantha hybrids)

      For a tub position, not dug in, the failure rate is 100%, at 25f such an unprotected position will freeze right through in a couple of hours

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      I thoroughly dusted a Midnight tuber with freshly ground cinnamon last fall before bringing it inside. Stored it in a baggy of pet litter (recycled newspaper type) at room temp. It sprouted immediately up and has been blooming very well for me.
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      when would it be a good time to check if the plant is forming tubers?

    18. #18
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      Hi BullGator,

      You shouldn't have much trouble overwintering tropicals at all....if they are established before the cold sets in. I'll plant lilies for another month or so and then just maintain them for the winter. I start planting again, probably early March.

      No idea how big the lily box is, but a few nights at 50 won't bother most tropicals. A good portion of mine stay up all winter and it is only the coldest days I don't get some blooms in the unprotected ponds. Some types of trops are prone to go dormant...yellows for one. But again, if they are in top shape going into the winter and get plenty of sun to warm the water back up into the seventies after a chilly morning. I wouldn't worry to much. even if they do go dormant, you should have no winter loss.
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      Has anyone had any success with these new heated planters for tropical lilies?
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    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by CraigP View Post
      Hi BullGator,

      You shouldn't have much trouble overwintering tropicals at all....if they are established before the cold sets in. I'll plant lilies for another month or so and then just maintain them for the winter. I start planting again, probably early March.

      No idea how big the lily box is, but a few nights at 50 won't bother most tropicals. A good portion of mine stay up all winter and it is only the coldest days I don't get some blooms in the unprotected ponds. Some types of trops are prone to go dormant...yellows for one. But again, if they are in top shape going into the winter and get plenty of sun to warm the water back up into the seventies after a chilly morning. I wouldn't worry to much. even if they do go dormant, you should have no winter loss.

      My Lily box is 400 gallons, probably going to put in another lily pond in the ground before winter that should also be 3-400 gallons. All my tropicals have been planted for about a month and all have new growth so I think they will be well established by the time it finally gets cold here.

      Both ponds will be directly off my pool deck so that should act as a pretty good heat sink for the surrounding ground when the sun hits it all day.

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