It’s summertime, which means the giant water lilies have returned to the Reflection Pool. Our Victoria Longwood Hybrid Lilies (Victoria x ‘Longwood Hybrid’) are planted every spring, late April to early May, in large submerged containers in the pool. In central Florida, they do not live through the winter and need to be replanted yearly.
Grown from a seed the size of a pea, the lily pads soon grow to six feet across or more, generally reaching full size in June and lasting until November, making them our biggest and most popular annual. When first planted, they are fertilized weekly until well established, as they are heavy feeders. The leaves are able to support about 70 pounds of weight, but are very easily damaged by animals or falling objects.
The giant lilies are night blooming, featuring large flowers that open for just two nights. The first night it is white, the second pink. The flowers close when the sun moves overhead around 9 a.m. The lilies are pollinated by the scarab beetle, and last year several seeds from the year before germinated in the Reflection Pool and grew to full size. The seedling plants were smaller than the F1 hybrid, but did retain the leaf and flower color of the larger plants.