Top Water Lilies for Your Garden

Water lilies are breathtaking additions to a water garden. Check out our editor's picks of top water lily cultivars!

By Kelly D. Norris


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Nymphaea 'Carolina Sunset'
1/13
Carolina Sunset

    Here's a gorgeous peach water lily that belongs in just about every water garden. It makes a big impact -- the leaves are nearly 12 inches across.

    Plant spread: To 5 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 4-10

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a hardy and fragrant, day-blooming, peach-color variety.

2/13
Blue Beauty

    This stunning selection offers huge flowers that are nearly a foot across. The color varies from pale lilac to beautiful deep blue.

    Plant spread: To 7 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 10-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a fragrant, tropical, day-blooming, blue-color variety.

3/13
Arc en Ciel

    We love this variety not just for its lovely white flowers, but also for the delightfully variegated foliage.

    Plant spread: To 5 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 4-10

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a hardy type with white flowers and variegated foliage.

4/13
Red Cup

    'Red Cup' is one of the deepest colored, night-blooming water lilies we know of. It's a heavy bloomer and is graced with an apple-spice fragrance.

    Plant spread: To 6 feet

    Bloom time: Night

    Zones: 10-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a tropical variety with fragrant red flowers that open at night.

5/13
Mrs. George H. Pring

    This scented, night-blooming water lily can send up four to six blooms per flowering cycle. The big leaves measure up to 16 inches across, making this a great choice for larger ponds.

    Plant spread: To 6 feet

    Bloom time: Night

    Zones: 10-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a tropical variety with fragrant white flowers that open at night.

6/13
Colorado

    This award-winning beauty offers red-mottled foliage: in addition to its lovely and profuse salmon blooms, it has a lovely scent.

    Plant spread: To 10 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 4-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a hardy variety with fragrant salmon-pink flowers that are open during the day.

7/13
Afterglow

    This cultivar is known for its intoxicating fragrance and mass numbers of blooms over a long season.

    Plant spread: To 8 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 10-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a tropical variety with boldly colored coral-pink flowers that are open during the day.

8/13
George L. Thomas

    This gorgeous, heavy-blooming selection offers rich, double pink flowers to 5 inches across.

    Plant spread: To 12 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 4-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a hardy and floriferous pink-flowering variety.

9/13
Shirley Bryne

    We're fond of this selection because it blooms well even in part shade and has a great fragrance.

    Plant spread: To 5 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 10-11

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a tropical variety with fragrant bright pink flowers that are open during the day.

10/13
Rembrandt

    This compact selection is perfect for container water gardens. It offers boldly colored flowers and a great scent.

    Plant spread: To 3 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 3-9

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a dwarf, hardy red-flowering variety for containers or small ponds.

11/13
Peach Glow

    'Peach Glow' offers creamy-peach blooms that are held high above the water. It also bears red-mottled foliage, extending its interest.

    Plant spread: To 12 feet

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 4-10

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a hardy peach-flowering variety.

12/13
Luciana

    Free-flowering and fragrant, this variety produces large, 7-inch-wide flowers that appear throughout the season above bronzy-green foliage.

    Plant spread: To 4 feet across

    Bloom time: Day

    Zones: 6-9

    Fragrant: Yes

    Choose It Because: You want a hardy variety with soft-pink flowers that are open during the day.

13/13
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