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Get to Know Your Waterlilies

Get to Know Your Waterlilies

Looking to know your waterlilies? The Jewel Box ponds feature both types of waterlilies.

Here are some tips on identifying Hardy v. Tropical Waterlilies at your next visit.


The HARDY WATERLILY is native to a variety of climates, earning its name. So, in a geographical Hardy v. Tropical competition, Hardy has the edge.

Hardy Lilies grow from rhizomes, similar to orchids. Although they produce pads and flowers when the weather is warm, these plants can also survive a St. Louis Winter. To identify hardy waterlilies, look for pads with smooth edges and flowers that float or sit near the surface of the water or leaf.

know your Native waterlilies

Only one species, Fragrant Water Lily or Nymphaea odorata, is native to Missouri. Hardy waterlily flowers bloom during the day from July through October.


Tropical Waterlilies are only native to tropical environments. To identify them, look for scalloped or “toothed” edges and flowers that bloom high above the water to identify a TROPICAL WATERLILY. Interestingly, some varieties bloom during the day while others bloom at night. They come in a broader range of colors and tend to be more fragrant than Hardy Lilies.

Sadly, these fragrant beauties cannot survive a St. Louis Winter. So every year, the St. Louis Water Garden Society purchases young, tropical lilies and replants them in late Spring. The Missouri Botanical Gardens actually grow Victoria Waterlilies from seed.

How well do you Know your waterlilies?

The huge waterlily pads in the central Jewel Box pond belong to the Genus Victoria that are native to the Amazon.

Read on to know your AMAZON Waterlilies