We gardeners go crazy for new varieties, but sometimes the classics are just as good as this year’s model—if not better. The ‘Laydekeri Fulgens’ waterlily, a 117-year-old French cultivar, is one of the three aquatic plants honored in 2010 by the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society for its outstanding qualities. This waterlily is famous for blooming all summer long—the IWGS says it is “one of the most floriferous hardy waterlilies in existence.” The deep red blossoms are 4 to 6 inches across. Wide green leaves are splashed with purple when young.
Common name: ‘Fulgens’ waterlily, ‘Laydekeri Fulgens’ waterlily
Botanical name: Nymphaea ‘Fulgens’ or N. ‘Laydekeri Fulgens’
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4 to 9
Height: About 6 inches
• Sun: Full sun to part shade
• Soil: Wet soil (such as a pond bottom)
• By seed or division
Pests and diseases
• Waterlily beetle and waterlily aphid may be problems.
• May be vulnerable to brown spot, waterlily leaf spot, and crown rot.
• The ‘Laydekeri Fulgens’ waterlily spreads by rhizome to form a mature plant about 4 or 5 feet across.
• Plant hardy waterlilies directly in the muck at the bottom of the pond, or in containers that can be sunk into a pond or water garden.
• Hardy waterlilies survive harsh winters as long as the pond bottom (where their rhizomes are) doesn’t freeze. If they’re in a shallow pond or container that is likely to freeze solid, remove them from the pond and store them in a basement or garage where the temperature is around 40°F to 45°F.
All in the family
• The genus Nymphaea contains about 50 species, which are found in both temperate and tropical climates around the world.
• Waterlilies are not actually lilies. Lilies are in the genus Lilium, daylilies are in the genus Hemerocallis, and both are in the family Liliaceae. The lotus, which looks very much like a waterlily, is not a relative, either. Its genus name is Nelumbo, and it’s in the family Nelumbonaceae.
Where to buy
• Catfish Logic, Dover, FL, 813-752-3932, www.catfishlogic.com.
• Pond-O-Mania, Salt Lake City, UT, 205-655-7500, www.pond-o-mania.com.
• The Pond Outlet, Los Angeles, CA, 805-241-0141, www.thepondoutlet.com.
(Text by Elizabeth Noll, photo of Nymphaea ‘Fulgens’ courtesy of the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society.)