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Waterlily Reproduction

Reproduction without Seeds

waterlily reproduction without seed - vivipary

The Waterlily is capable of two kinds of reproduction. Seed production is common. Their flowers bloom, are pollinated, then die, producing thousands of seeds in the process.

Some tropical varieties have a second reproductive trick up their sleeve – they can grow miniature versions of themselves on their leaves! This process is called vivipary. These baby versions are called ‘plantlets’ or sometimes, ‘daughter plants.’

These baby waterlilies have a developmental head start on waterlilies germinated from seed.


The plant produces a shoot (also called a rhizome) and a tiny waterlily leaf forms on the end. If you look carefully at the point where a leaf attaches to the underwater stem, you will see baby waterlilies on some plants here at the Jewel Box.

How many do you count this week?


Some waterlilies will have multiple shoots from their center stem. And each of the plantlets can mature, and produce their own flower, while still attached to the parent.

You can probably imagine how quickly the waterlily reproduction could get out of control.

waterlily reproduction without seeds


In a managed pond, caretakers may separate plantlets for propagation. The plantlets can grow quickly in tanks under the right light and temperature conditions.

Eventually, the parent leaf dies. The baby waterlily can float to a new location, send down roots and grow into a full sized plant. Then, the cycle begins again.

More information on waterlily vivipary:   Vivipary in pond plants