Top 10 Water Lilies for Ponds

Water lilies are the perfect finishing touch to any garden pond which not only incorporate vibrant colours into the area but also help to support the life around it. Water lilies are the perfect plants to encourage a thriving ecosystem.


What are water lilies?

Water lilies are among the most glamorous and recognisable aquatic plants. They normally grow in environments consisting of still or slowly moving water such as ponds, streams and the edges of some lakes.  Water lilies can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Their floating leaves, connected by their stems,  can grow up to 2 meters to root them into the ground;  lilies are then topped with a simple elegant flower which resembles a cross between a star and a cup. Aside from the role they play in supporting the surrounding wildlife  these beautiful plants also produce a fruit with ‘nut-like’ appearance which floats away to produce more lilies.


10 best water lilies

Due to the facts that there are 58 unique species of water lilies which each originate from countries across the entire globe, it can seem a daunting task to gauge the right choice. Fortunately we have done the hard part of research and have selected 10 options which cover a variety of characteristics depending on your personal taste.


1. Aurora Dwarf


Nymphaea Aurora Dwarf Water Lily 1 Litre

A petit plant ideal for small ponds, which lily possesses a warm apricot red centre surrounded by oval leaves with a maroon mottled effect which display throughout the summer. The foliage provides shade which can help keep in check the spread of algae.


  • Rate of Growth – Average
  • Depth of Water – 30-50cm
  • Flower period: May – September
  • Attracts: Bees, hoverflies, dragonflies

Aurora Dwarf lily information & buying options


2. Black Princess

Nymphaea Black Princess Water Lily

‘A globally rare striking and sought after lily which sports extremely dark burgundy flowers

that almost fade into black at the centre. They are set apart from most other types as they usually stay open longer than other lilies during the day. However, a tip to provide optimal conditions for them would be to place them in the shade for the hottest part of the day as they have a tendency to ‘melt’ in the harsh sun.


  • Rate of Growth- average
  • Spread- 90-120cm
  • Depth of water-30-90cm
  • Flower period: June-September
  • Attracts – Bees, butterflies, hoverflies

Black Princess lily information and buying options


3. Barbara Dobbins

Nymphaea Barbara Dobbins Water Lily

A peach tinted, cup-shaped flower surrounded by slightly variegated leaves that has large leaves that stand about 10-15cm above the surface level would be suited best in a large pond. Additionally, they have a pleasant feature of emanating a fragrance delightful to most.


  • Rate of Growth- average
  • Spread: 100cm
  • Depth of water-30-60cm
  • Flower period. June-September
  • Attracts ~butterflies, hoverflies, frogs

Barbara Dobbins lily information and buying options


4. Colorado

Nymphaea Colorado Water Lily

This twenty-six to twenty-eight petalled flower is wonderfully variable as it changes its colour through peach to red.  It’s a very prolific bloomer which means that it will reliably flower late into the season. This water lily finds itself as average on the size spectrum so would most likely thrive in a medium-sized pond.


  • Rate of Growth: fast
  • Spread- 90-150cm:
  • Depth of water-15-75cm
  • Growth period: May-October
  • Attracts: Butterflies, bees, frogs

Colorado lily information and buying options


5. Conqueror

Nymphaea Conqueror Water Lily

The Conqueror is a free-flowering lily, once established, that sports deep fiery red petals that become pinker as the flower ages. The large open blooms are suitable in both full sun and semi-shade as long as they receive their large space requirement


  • Rate of Growth – average-fast
  • Spread- 120-150cm
  • Depth of water-60-90cm
  • Flower period- June-September
  • Attracts —bees

Conqueror lily information and buying options


6.’Lemon Mist’

Nymphaea Lemon Mist Water Lily

These lilies a perfect if your intention is to brighten up your pond as it presents vibrant yellow petals which produce a lovely fragrance, surrounded by lily pads with great spread. It is best to supply the flowers which poke just above the surface with maximum levels of sunlight when first planted.


  • Rate of Growth- fast
  • Spread- 90-150cm
  • Depth of water-30-60cm
  • Attracts: Bees, dragonflies- hoverflies

Lemon Mist lily information and buying options


7. Gonmere

A beautiful medium-sized water lily. It has ball-shaped blooms with several layers of (star-like) petals. A benefit is that they stay open longer than other lilies during the day but a downside would be their requirement for the removal of dying flowers and foliage on a regular basis. These lilies are not necessarily suited to those who don’t have a substantial amount of time to commit to maintenance.


  • Rate of Growth- slow-average
  • Spread-75cm
  • Depth of water-30-60cm
  • Flower period: May-September
  • Attracts —bees: butterflies, hoverflies


8. Joey Tomocik

Nymphaea Joey Tomocik Water Lily

This waterlily is topped with perfectly bloomed golden – yellow flowers which can be held up to 5 inches above the water. A recommended choice for those that want to inject an exotic feel into their pond.


  • Rate of Growth- average
  • Spread-100-120cm
  • Depth of water-20-90cm
  • Flower period- June-September
  • Attracts —bees, butterflies, small frogs

Joey Tomocik information and buying options


9. Catchwater Dream

Nymphaea Catchwater Dream Water Lily

As gorgeous as its name, this plant’s initial peachy orange colour matures over time into a lovely pink which is then contrasted with the mottled green leaves. It would be optimal to plant this water lily away from splashing fountains to ensure full growth.


  • Rate of Growth- average
  • Spread- 60-90cm
  • Depth of water-45-90cm
  • Flower period- June-September
  • Attracts —butterflies: dragonflies

Catchwater Dream lily information and buying options


10. Charles de Meurville

Nymphaea Charles de Meurville Water Lily

The petals on this lily have a deep pink, ink-like centre which gristly fades into whiter tips. In summer, will flower up to 20cm in diameter and because more free and cup shaped. This plant is suitable to be placed in a full sun environment with a medium pool.

Charles de Meurville lily information and buying options

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