This is our Frequently Asked Questions list. You may find an answer you are looking for here.
If not try our online information sheets.
What are the best conditions for growing water plants?
Most water lilies and water plants require at least 4 hours of good sunlight each day.
Water lilies generally need a depth of 20cm or more above the plants crown, 15cm or more for miniatures. Other water plants can vary from growing completely submerged to just damp soil.
What is the difference between “Hardy” and “Tropical” lilies?
The terms “hardy” or “temperate” and “tropical” are used to differentiate between the two main water lily groups. Tropical lilies, simply, originated in the tropics and temperate or hardy lilies in temperate areas. However, both tropical and temperate lilies are easily grown in most temperate and subtropical areas of Australia.
There are a few distinguishing features of the two groups to note-
Hardy/Temperate- The flower of these lilies typically sits on the water. The flowering of these lilies is responsive to hours of sunlight, and harsh hot sun and wind can often burn the flowers of the more sensitive hardies, particularly the dark red colours. A cold winter often helps them flower better. Flower colours range from whites through yellows, shell pinks, peaches and reds.
Tropical- Tropicals normally hold their flower on a stem up above the water surface. Flowering is determined by water temperature more than hours of sunlight and they will often flower later and longer than temperates. Flower colours range from whites through yellows, hot pinks, purples and blues. Night flowering lilies are also tropical.
How do I keep my lilies flowering?
Water lilies and Lotus are very heavy feeders, they like to have a lot of nutrient in the soil. Water lilies should be repotted or at least fed at the beginning of their growing period in spring. Instructions for feeding and repotting water plants are sent with all mail orders.
Lotus benefit from feeding every few weeks during their growing period.
Good fertilisers for water plants include pelletized poultry manure (NOT raw), and blood and bone.
How much sun do water lilies need to grow?
Generally water lilies require a great deal of sun, the more the better. They generally need at least 6-8 hours a day direct sun light in summer in order to properly grow and flower. One of the first symptoms of stress related to lack of sunlight is that the lily will flower very little or not at all.
What about those Water Lily Tablets?
Wallis Creek Water gardens does not use “Water Lily Tablets”. We find more commonly available cheaper and more organic fertilisers (pelletized chicken manure and blood and bone) are more than sufficient. We have received many reports that Water Lily Tablets may cause algal blooms or otherwise be problematic, they certainly at the very least require different and more elaborate methods of plant growing than the simple and effective methods we use.
My pond is green what can I do? They said the Algaecide wouldn’t affect the plants but they all died!
We hear this all too often. Although suppliers state that algaecide will not affect water plants every case we have heard of its use has either killed or badly set back the plants. This is most probably due to (very slightly) incorrect application of the algaecide but it is best to avoid using algaecide in any pond that contains lilies and plants.
The main reason for green water is algae caused by excess nutrient in the water and warm temperatures. It may be because of fertiliser in the plants pot that has seeped out and there was too much for the plant. Water lilies need to be fertilised to flower well, and so minor algal blooms are almost unavoidable.
However you can reduce algae in your water by growing submerged oxygenating plants, and growing plants that cover the water surface (water lilies and other anchored plants). Ideally at least 50% of the water surface should be covered. Also patience is often rewarded and ponds often reach their own natural balance in time.
My plants are dying in winter… why?
Water plants and lilies are relatively hardy plants and not likely to die unless under extreme conditions. Often people get worried when their water lily begins to die back at the beginning of winter, but this is quite natural in cooler areas. Temperate water lilies may loose their leaves as they become dormant but retain small “lettucy” leaves under the water near the plants crown and tropical lilies die back to just the tuber. Some tropicals may not come back after particularly harsh winters but survival rates for our varieties are pretty good in our local temperate NSW climate with frosty winters. Lilies begin to grow again at the beginning of spring through to late spring depending on variety.
Lotus also have a dormancy in winter and in temperate climates will die right back to the roots, from which they will sprout again in late spring/early summer depending on conditions. Tropical lotus varieties may die during this dormancy in harsh winters, but most lotus are temperate and some come from regions with ice on the water in winter, the majority of our varieties should survive dormancy in cold conditions well and care more about a hotter summer, contact us for advice if you are unsure.
My Swamp Hibiscus lost all it’s leaves… is it dead?
Swamp hibiscus have a fairly hard dormancy in winter, they will lose all their leaves and only a dead stick will remain. Do not worry, the plant is probably fine. It will grow again next season, shooting not from the stick but from the roots and the base of the plant, this time with more stalks/plants. So don’t make the all too common mistake of throwing out your perfectly good plant after it goes into a temporary dormancy.
What is the plants “crown” or “growing point” that you mention?
The crown of the water lily plant is the cluster of shoots where the stems and leaves grow from the rhizome/tuber/roots, it can usually be found at the soil level.
My plants are being chewed on or dug up? What is doing this?
There are a few species of pond life that can be extremely detrimental to the health of your plants and lilies. Koi carp, while very beautiful, are quite destructive and will dig up plants and muddy the water. If you intend on keeping both plants and Koi Carp, you will need to take extreme precautions to keep your plants safe. Yabbies (freshwater crayfish) are also damaging to plants and muddy the water. They can travel overland and could make their way to your pond without being released there. Yabbies can snip the stems of lilies and cause other damage to the plants by burrowing. Once yabbies become established it is difficult to remove them but their numbers can be kept down by trapping.
Common goldfish and particularly Comets have been reported to occasionally cause relatively minor damage to plants, but in a balanced pond where they receive enough food they should not be a problem.
Ducks, especially domestic ones, but also certain wild ducks can damage plants and eat water lilies. Though it is worth noting the wild ducks with the brown heads and the grey bodies that are very common are NOT especially destructive to water plants and basically only eat regular grass, azola and water ribbons.
Water snails are eating the leaves of my plants, what can I do about them?
There are water snail killing chemicals available from aquarium stores which if used according to instructions will control or eradicate snails in a pond. However there are other methods of reduction which are more pond friendly. Snails are often visible around the pond surface and can be scooped out with a net, or leave a lettuce leaf in the pond over night which will attract the snails, then simply take out the leaf and snails together. Having large goldfish in your pond will also keep the snails to a manageable level.
Do you have a catalogue you can send me?
This website is our only current pictorial catalogue. If you have enough access to see this site we recommend you use it as the catalogue is complete, up to date, has pictures, and a useful online ordering feature. If you can use the web site but cannot order online for some reason you can send us payment by money order with a printed or hand written copy of the items and prices you see here on the site (don’t forget the $16 mailing fee). If you cannot access this site at all (but somehow are reading this FAQ) you can send us a stamped self addressed envelope in the mail and we will send you a copy of our printed catalogue (no pictures). Printed Catalogue requests received in winter are held until spring so we can send out our most up to date catalogue.
I am in Western Australia, will you send me plants?
Sadly due to extreme quarantine we cannot send plants to Western Australia without at least a Phytosanitary Certificate, a cost that would dwarf almost any reasonable retail order. As such we do not retail directly to Western Australia at all.
I am not from Australia, will you send me this plant?
We do not normally send retail orders overseas, and we only send wholesale orders on a case by case basis as often quarantine regulations need to be researched and met, and the costs can be considerable. However if you are interested feel free to contact us with your enquiry.
Why are plants listed as ‘Out Of Stock’?
If a plant is listed as out of stock on our web site it could be for a number of reasons.
The first is simply that it is out of season. For instance water lilies and lotus are fragile during their Winter dormancy and therefore not available for mail order during Winter. Lotus also grow too large during late Summer and are mostly only available for mail order during late Spring and early Summer.
Alternately we could simply have sold out of stock and have removed the item until we have sufficient numbers to make it available again.
In either case a plant listed as out of stock on the web site MAY still be available for retail pick up at our nursery since the safe growing season of lilies is somewhat extended if they don’t have to be stripped and bare rooted for mail order and we continue to sell lotus for pick up after they have grown too large for sending in the post.
Where Can I get Fish For My Pond?
You can find gold fish at most pet stores and aquariums Australian native Rainbow Fish are now increasingly available from the same sources but are also available at our nursery during Summer and other warm times of year.
What Sort of Fish Can I Have?
We recommend gold fish or small native fish such as the Australian native Rainbow Fish as fish suitable for ornamental water gardens. Gold fish are commonly available at pet stores and will generally not damage plants or water quality, and they are easy to grow and tolerant to a wide range of conditions, they may even eat some forms of weeds or pests such as water snails. We do recommend short tailed gold fish like Comets or Shubunkins as long or fan tailed gold fish move more slowly and will tend to be eaten by Kookaburras and other predators more easily. Native Rainbow Fish are less ornamental than gold fish, but are more resistant to predators and more compatible with frogs and tadpole populations. They are also notable for eating Duck Weed. We recommend you select a more cold hardy Rainbow as some types are not tolerant of colder conditions prevalent in some states, the variety we primarily use are Duboulay’s and Murry River rainbows.