Water Snowflake Care – Learn About Snowflake Water Plants

Water Snowflake Care – Learn About Snowflake Water Plants

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Also known as little floating heart, water snowflake (Nymphoides spp.) is a charming little floating plant with delicate snowflake-like flowers that bloom in summer. If you have an ornamental garden pond, there are a lot of very good reasons for growing snowflake lilies. Read on to learn more about snowflake water lily.

Water Snowflake Information

Despite its name and the obvious resemblance, snowflake water lily isn’t actually related to the water lily. Its growth habits are similar, however, and snowflake water lily, like the water lily, floats on the surface of the water with its roots connected to the soil below.

Snowflake water plants are hardy growers, sending out runners that quickly spread over the water’s surface. The plants can be extremely helpful if you fight recurring algae in your pond, as snowflake water lily provides shade that minimizes algae growth.

Because snowflake water lily is a rambunctious grower, it is considered to be an invasive species in some states. Ensure the plant isn’t a problem in your area before planting snowflake water plants in your pond. Folks at your local Cooperative Extension office can provide specific information.

Water Snowflake Care

Growing snowflake lilies isn’t difficult in the mild temperatures of USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 11. If you live in a cooler climate, you can float the plants in pots and bring them indoors.

Plant snowflake water lily where the plant is exposed to full sunlight, as blooming will be limited in partial shade and the plant may not survive in full shade. The water depth should be at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) and no deeper than 18 to 20 inches (45 to 50 cm.).

Snowflake water plants generally require no fertilizer because they take ample nutrients from pond water. However, if you choose to grow snowflake water lily in a container, provide a fertilizer made specifically for water plants every month or so during the growing season.

Thin snowflake water plants occasionally if they become overcrowded, and remove dead leaves as they appear. Feel free to share the plant, which roots easily.

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How to Grow and Care for Water Lilies and Lotus

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Water lilies (Nymphaea) and lotus (Nelumbo) are jewels of the aquatic world. Symbolic in both ancient and modern times, they are celebrated for their beauty and immortalized in art and religion. Many of them are easy to grow and reward the gardener with fragrant and sumptuous blossoms from June until October. Both plants are best planted in spring. Water lilies start faster and typically have a faster growth rate than lotus, which are notoriously slow to start and need warmth and plenty of sun to flower.

While most water lilies are grown outdoors, it is possible to grow small varieties of these plants in containers indoors. The keys to success are providing plenty of light and a sufficient amount of water as well as keeping the water relatively clean (for your sake and that of the plants).

Botanical Name Nymphaea (Water lily) Nelumbo (Lotus)
Common Name Water lily, Lotus
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size Water lily: 3 to 6 inches tall and 4 to 8 feet wide Lotus: 3 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Top soil
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Water lily: blue, purple, yellow, red, white, pink, orange Lotus: white, pink, yellow
Hardiness Zones 4 to 10 (for hardy varieties)
Native Area Asia, Australia, North America
Toxicity Non-toxic

How to plant snowflakes

We show you how to plant snowflake (Leucojum) bulbs 'in the green' – just after they've flowered.

Published: Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Do not To do in September

March is the month to plant a range of bulbs ‘in the green’: instead of planting dormant bulbs in autumn, specialist nurseries lift bulbs – usually after they have flowered – with their green leaves attached, ready for immediate planting. This is the preferred method for growing plants with small bulbs which are prone to drying out, such as snowdrops, winter aconites, bluebells and snowflakes.

Snowflakes enjoy similar woodland conditions to snowdrops but flower later, establishing to form bold clumps. Despite the name, summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) bloom in mid- to late spring, a couple of weeks after spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum). Depending on when you plant them, your snowflakes may flower in their first year.

More bulb planting content:

Follow these quick steps to plant snowflake bulbs.

Yellow Snowflake | Nymphoides geminata | Bare-Root | Available Spring 2021


Size: Rooted Plant - Shipped Bare Root
Water Depth: Grows in 4" to 12" Water
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade
USDA Hardiness Zones: 7-11

More from this collection

Mosaic Plant | Ludwigia sedioides | Potted | Available Spring 2021

Mosaic Plant | Ludwigia sedioides | Bare-Root

From $ 6.95 - $ 6.25

Four Leaf Water Clover | Marsilea mutica | Available Spring 2021

Lily-Like Flowering Plants and Floating Plant Collection | Small | Available Spring 2021


SERIES 16 | Episode 09

With their enchanting flowers and magical floating leaves, Water Lilies Nymphaea are spellbinding aquatic perennials. They sparkle in shades of white, pink, red, apricot and yellow, and light up water features with their seductive waxy blooms.

There are two types of water lilies, hardy varieties, which grow well in most climates, and tropical water lilies, which thrive in subtropical to warm conditions. One of the best hardy varieties is the Nymphaea 'Colorado'. It has a beautiful coral pink bloom. Most hardy varieties will flower from October, through to March.

Tropical water lilies such as Nymphaea 'Blue Triumph' love basking in the sun and many have an intoxicating scent. They start flowering later than the hardy varieties and continue their display well into autumn. So if you live in the right climate, you could actually plant both types and get a longer display of these spectacular flowers.

Water plants bring another dimension to the garden. If you're planting water lilies into a pond, then pot them up first. When you're potting most things it's important to use a potting mix, but for water lilies use a good quality garden mix, or a rich, dark topsoil.

Before adding the mix, line the pot base with some newspaper, add the soil mixture and then a special water lily tablet - a fertiliser specially formulated so it doesn't promote algal growth. The size of the pot depends on the water lily variety you're growing, but a good general indication is to plant a large variety into a squat pot 20 to 25 centimetres in diameter.

Before potting, cut the water lily roots back a bit to encourage strong, new growth. Also remove dead leaves and dead flowers that might remain from last season, then place it into the pot and plant to one side, so there is plenty of room for the roots to grow.

When you're adding more mix, ensure the crown of the lily is above the soil surface, and top with a 2-3 centimetre layer of coarse sand. This acts as a barrier between the soil and water. Finally add some heavy decorative pebbles, to hold the soil in place. Before you plunge the potted water lily into the pond, give it a good water, to help settle the mix.

Water lilies range from petite, miniature varieties, through to those with large flowers. Most do well in water about 30 to 60 centimetres deep. Miniature varieties even do well in shallow conditions. You might want to add a few fish to the pond to help reduce mosquito larvae and the only other thing to keep an eye out for is green algae.

Use water lilies to spice up an existing water feature or even create a miniature water garden perfect for small spaces like the patio or balcony. What better way to bring a touch of the tropics to your garden?

Deep Water Aquatic Plants

These plants grow similar to water lilies with their roots submerged while producing floating or emergent leaves (for some varieties) throughout the year even when the water lilies become dormant. Should be planted in areas of depth between 10cms-30cms. Sold in forms of rhizome/rootstock. Dispatch anytime of the year unless specified.

Planting instructions is available for download here. Don't forget to include fertiliser tablets in your plantings.

Aponogeton distachyos (Water Hawthorn)
Beautiful white orchid-like flowers. Long green strap-like leaves sometimes with brownish patterns. Prefers the cooler climate or semi-shade to flower well. A winter flowering plant except if planted in areas subject to high snow or heavy frosts. A plant with edible flowers. Not for WA. Limited supply.

Echinodorus uruguayensis (Uruguay Sword Plant)
A very versatile plant. When grown in deep water, it will have floating oval shaped leaves. In aquariums, it will grow with long flat leaves. Flowers during late spring and summer.

Marsilea mutica (Rainbow Nardoo/Water Clover)
Floating or emergent beautiful four-leaf clovers which are often patterned with striking reddish-brown colours.

Nuphar japonica (Japanese Pond Lily/Dwarf Spatterdock Lily)
The true form with arrow shaped underwater leaves and bright green emergent leaves. Yellow brandy bottle-like flowers with sepals/outer petals orange-green. Often used in aquariums.

Nuphar japonica var. 'Rubrotincta' (Japanese Red Pond Lily)
Arrow shaped reddish-brown underwater leaves and green emergent leaves. Orange-scarlet brandy bottle-like flowers. Also used in aquariums. Very limited stock. Rare.

Nuphar lutea ssp. 'Pumila' (Dwarf Spatterdock Lily/Nuphar pumila/Nuphar minima)
Arrow shaped green leaves usually floating but sometimes emergent. Yellow brandy bottle-like flowers. A dwarf form of the species Nuphar lutea. Sometimes used in aquariums. Rare. Very few in stock only.

Nymphoides crenata - Inland NSW (Crenated Water Fringe (Inland NSW)/Wavy Marshwort)
A variation or form of the species Nymphoides crenata that is found in inland northern New South Wales near Queensland border. Probably the largest form discovered. Large green waterlily-like leaves with toothed edges can reach up to approximately 20cms in diameter if given room. The leaves has a distinctive thick succulent texture and maroon fan-like pattern at the leaf centre. Leaf underside bright reddish in colour. Small golden yellow fringed flowers during the warmer months. Limited stock.

Nymphoides crenata - Northern NSW (Crenated Water Fringe (Northern NSW)/Wavy Marshwort)
A variation or form of the species Nymphoides crenata that is found in northern New South Wales. Slightly bronzed-green waterlily-like leaves with scalloped edges and a few purplish-brown speckles. Tiny yellow fringed flowers during the warmer months. Similar to the Victorian form, but the leaf sinus is open "V". May be cold sensitive, hence not suitable for areas cooler than the temperate regions.

Nymphoides crenata - QLD (Crenated Water Fringe (QLD)/Wavy Marshwort)
A variation or form of the species Nymphoides crenata that is found in subtropical Queensland. Waterlily-like leaves with scalloped leaf edges and a few purplish-brown speckles. The outer edges of the leaves tend to be bronzed-brown as well as the leaf centre. Leaf lobes tend to overlap, especially on younger or new leaves. Tiny yellow fringed flowers during the warmer months. Quite a nice form. May be cold sensitive, hence not suitable for areas cooler than the temperate regions.

Nymphoides crenata - Variegated Form (Crenated Water Fringe - Variegated Form)
Green waterlily-like leaves with distinctive toothed edges. Brownish-maroon marbling patterns over green leaves. Tiny deep yellow fringed flowers during the warmer months. Often mistaken for the form called "Purple-Mosaic", but this one does not have the same amount of purple colouring on the leaves. Sometimes sold as the "Nymphoides variegata".

Nymphoides crenata - Victoria (Crenated Water Fringe (Victoria)/Wavy Marshwort)
A variation or form of the species Nymphoides crenata that is found in Victoria. Deep green waterlily-like leaves with heavily crenated/scalloped edges and a few purplish-brown speckles. Yellow fringed flowers to the size of a 20cent coin (Australin currency). Similar to the northern NSW form, but the leaf lobes overlap at sinus. Quite cold tolerant.

Nymphoides crenata 'Purple Mosaic' (Mosaic Water Fringe/Mosaic Marshwort)
A very beautiful form of the species Nymphoides crenata. Attractive deep green leaves heavily marbled with deep purple patterns. Tiny yellow fringed flowers. This is the true Purple Mosaic, where there is very little in green colour. Unfortunately, most of the plants sold under this name within Australia is actually the variegated form of the species and not Purple Mosaic. Rare.

Nymphoides cristata (Crested Floating Heart/Crested Water Fringe)
Small circular green leaves edged with reddish-brown. The leaves has rounded lobe. Tiny white flowers. A very small growing Nymphoides sp. that would suit the smaller pond or tub. Uncommon.

Nymphoides indica (Water Snowflake/Snowflake Lily/White Water Fringe)
Green waterlily-like leaves initially patterned with purplish-brown. Tiny white fringed flowers bourne by the leaf stem. Can sometimes be cold sensitive. Also used in aquariums as a substitute for Nymphoides aquatica.

Nymphoides montana (High-country Marshwort/Water Fringe)
Round bronzed-greenish waterlily-like leaves. Tiny yellow flowers emerging by the leaf stem underneath the leaf during the warmer months. This particular species tends to be much more cold tolerant than others under this genus. In temperate region, this plant tends to stay active (producing leaves) overwinter.

Nymphoides spinulosperma (Marbled Marshwort/Marbled Water Fringe)
Largest flowering species from the genus Nymphoides. Golden yellow flowers that can reach up to the size of a 20c coin. Green waterlily-like leaves with reddish-brown marbled patterns trailing around the edges. Limited stock.

Orontium aquaticum (Golden Club)
Green velvet textured lanceolate leaves. Yellow and white pencil-like flower spikes produced during the warmer months.

Ottelia ovalifolia (Swamp Lily)
Green strap-like emergent leaves in the warmer months and grass-like underwater leaves during the cooler months. This particular subspecies does not often produce flowers above the water surface. Can only be propagated by seeds. This form is collected in the temperate climate region, hence likely to be more cold tolerant but may still be treated as an annual. Very limited stock.

Potamogeton australiensis (Thin Pondweed)
A beautiful Australian native with rounded oval green leaves emerging on the water surface during the warmer months. The underwater translucent dark green ovate leaves has short toothed margins. Emergent leaves could closely resemble and occasionally be mistaken for the species "Potamogeton sulcatus".

Potamogeton sulcatus (Floating Pondweed)
Oval green floating emergent leaves during the warmer months and underwater semi-translucent long lanceolate leaves during other times. Bronzed flower spike during the warmer months.

Sagittaria subulata var. subulata (Awl-Leaf Arrowhead/Dwarf Sagittaria)
Considered as the dwarf form of the species Sagittaria subulata. Beautiful tiny three-petalled white flowers during summer. Long green emergent leaves during the warmer months that is occasionally splashed with brown patterns and underwater grass-like leaves at other times. Formerly known as "Sagittaria natans". Often used in aquariums where it will form leaves that resembles those of the Vallisneria plants.

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A Miniature Water Lily Pond

Even if you don't have room for a full-size pond, you can grow water lilies in a large tub on the patio or in the garden. While the larger species will grow in a water-filled container, there are dwarf species and cultivars that are better suited to the smaller space.

Pink flowering ‘Lilacea’ (Nymphaea laydekeri), hardy in USDA zones 3 through 11, and 'Pygmaea Helvola,' a dwarf yellow waterlily hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10, stay small, spreading only 1 to 3 feet wide in a tub or tiny pond. Though these are hardy water lilies, when grown in containers, you should lift the rhizomes for the winter in colder climates.

Watch the video: How to plant waterlilywater snowflake