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Recommendations for a small leafed lotus/lily . . .

Wookii

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Nottingham
Can anyone recommend a Lotus or Lily, ideally red, that grows relatively small leaves? Many of the images I see of Tiger Lotus appear to have quite large leaves.
 
I am intrigued to see if you get any decent suggestions that are commercially available because if you do I will be buying that plant! All of the traditional tropical lily types seem to be quite large as far as I am aware.

Nymphaea tetragona is the smallest of all water lily species and has been used in the breeding of some (most?) of the pygmy and dwarf hardy water lily hybrids. Unfortunately it is native to circumboreal regions so does not do well in the warmer temperate regions, let alone tropical conditions.

However, there appears to be a variety of N. tetragona, N. tetragona var. augusta, that is possibly either a sub-species or (more likely for me) a non-recognised species that grows in tropical and sub-tropical China, Japan and Vietnam. I will include below what Perry Slocum says about this variety in his book on water lilies, but probably more interesting is what Flora of China has to say about this variant in its discussion of N. tetragona:
The treatment of this species in E Asia is problematic. In North America and Europe Nymphaea tetragona is restricted to boreal regions above 50° N latitude, where the plants have a prominently tetragonous receptacle, flowers with a reddish to purplish center, and thinner leaves abaxially with raised veins........ However, plants of tropical and warm temperate China, Japan, and Vietnam appear to differ in having an only slightly tetragonous receptacle, flowers with a yellow center, and thicker leaves abaxially with impressed veins. Such plants are sometimes known in cultivation in Europe and North America as N. tetragona var. angusta Caspary, but were originally sent in 1805 by William Kerr from Guangdong Province and described under the name of Castalia pygmaea Salisbury ( N. pygmaea (Salisbury) W. T. Aiton). Further study may indicate that much of the Chinese and Japanese material should be segregated as N. pygmaea or at some other rank.

Probably going to be hard to get hold of but if I come across some I will try them out in an aquarium.
 

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Can anyone recommend a Lotus or Lily, ideally red, that grows relatively small leaves? Many of the images I see of Tiger Lotus appear to have quite large leaves.
I have the tiger lotus in my scape, not really by choice - my girlfriend bought it for me as a gift and I couldn't really say ‘no darling, it’s just too big for my 60L tank, but well done for trying’ - I planted that bulb in the back right hand corner and I love it. Its a raised area and easily accessible, which is key.

All I do is prune the biggest leaf every now and then, it’s dead simple, and the other leaves just follow one by one and I get to keep this awesome red plant just chugging along. I highly recommend - will throw some pictures in here tomorrow if I remember 👍
 
I have the tiger lotus in my scape, not really by choice - my girlfriend bought it for me as a gift and I couldn't really say ‘no darling, it’s just too big for my 60L tank, but well done for trying’ - I planted that bulb in the back right hand corner and I love it. Its a raised area and easily accessible, which is key.

All I do is prune the biggest leaf every now and then, it’s dead simple, and the other leaves just follow one by one and I get to keep this awesome red plant just chugging along. I highly recommend - will throw some pictures in here tomorrow if I remember 👍
Mine appeared to be dead, then went fairly berserk! No flower yet. But it has spawned multiple subplants via runners and is very dominant in its front-left position. I should trim it more but I literally just trim out any leaves that develop holes in.
 
Hi, there is a video of a window pond that features a great small lilly. It is mentioned as nymphaea pygmaea helvola.

This is the video
.

Having said that I also have a Red tiger lotus that I keep in a 30 litre cube and it seems that limited space and little to no fertiliser keep it small.
 
Thanks guys for all the responses.

So its seems there are few pygmy species available (as mentioned above):




All fairly eye wateringly priced. I've no idea if they are all going to be suitable for lower tropical water temps (22-23 degrees C).

This site also has a specific section on pygmy water lilies with more reasonable prices:


Again, no idea on suitability in a tropical aquarium.

EDIT: I've dropped that last site an e-mail to get their advice.
 
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Sounds like a weird question but are you planning to keep it in the substrate? @Wookii

I've not kept one for about 20 years, so I can't remember the best way to plant them, but yeah, I had assumed planting the bulb part way into the substrate (which in may case will be sand over enriched base layer on my forthcoming rescape.
 
I've not kept one for about 20 years, so I can't remember the best way to plant them, but yeah, I had assumed planting the bulb part way into the substrate (which in may case will be sand over enriched base layer on my forthcoming rescape.
Ok cool, yeah that's what I do.

I only asked because I actually keep some red tiger lotus as an 'epiphyte' on some Manzanita wood. They don't have access to the substrate but they still put out new leaves, just slower and the leaves are no bigger than the end of your thumb. It was only supposed to be temporary, surprised it actually worked.
 
My tiger lotus was actually due a prune today, although I do really like the giant leaves concealing the back of my hardscape (cigarette filters and superglue). The colour and texture of both the top and bottom of the leaves is really nice (IMHO):

Pre-prune

IMG_2644.jpg



Post-prune

IMG_2648.jpg



I probably have to prune a big leaf once a week. I'm not sure if it will 'learn' to sustain small leaves and I'm probably preventing it from flowering, but I do like it being there.

I initially had the blub buried in the substrate, but over time it found its way out and refused any of my re-planting attempts. Its anchored so I just leave it. Makes the trimming easier too :thumbup:
 
I think waterlilies/lotus are quite tough, and also receptive to their environment - give them lots of nutrients and they'll grow large. Don't, and they'll grow small. I think this is why @Courtneybst's lily grown epiphytically survives, but doesn't grow big. I think @zozo knows a lot more about them, I remember he linked to some great minature ones on ebay from a specialist, but sadly with Brexit I don't think we'd be able to get them now. Waterlilies come with bulbs and/or tubers, and the bigger that is, the bigger the plant and leaves will be. if you cut a small baby off the mother plant with not much tuber, it will take a long time to grow big because it doesn't have that store of energy to pull from. If I remember right, @zozo said that waterlilies can essentially be "dwarfed" this way. I have a small baby lotus that's grown from my main one, it has quite small leaves at the moment, but I've noticed them getting bigger, I think because it's root system has got deep enough to access the soil. I would try to get a baby plant off of someone (or a new one with a small bulb), and then grow it in gravel or sand so it can only get nutrients from the water and see how that goes. I'm planning to try this myself with my baby plant, otherwise I'd send it to you.

I have also been planning on trying helvola, but I think that colder-climate waterlilies usually need a dormancy period which is an extra hassle. I was planning on putting it in a small container hidden under the sand so it could be pulled out in the winter and shoved in a vase in the greenhouse. Personally I'm kinda intrigued by keeping these kind of plants in the aquarium, despite the added hassle you could grow a wider variety of plants, and maybe giving our tanks a yearly cycle could be a good thing, it would be very interesting to explore. It reminds me of that thread about tempurature and how some people let their tanks get quite cold in the winter.
 
Regular pruning keeps tiger lotus small - just ensure that no leaves ever reach the surface and it will be compact, and keep throwing up new leaves.

@Wookii looking at those links, I'm not sure if those lilies will be smaller than an tiger lotus.
 
I think waterlilies/lotus are quite tough, and also receptive to their environment - give them lots of nutrients and they'll grow large. Don't, and they'll grow small. I think this is why @Courtneybst's lily grown epiphytically survives, but doesn't grow big. I think @zozo knows a lot more about them, I remember he linked to some great minature ones on ebay from a specialist, but sadly with Brexit I don't think we'd be able to get them now. Waterlilies come with bulbs and/or tubers, and the bigger that is, the bigger the plant and leaves will be. if you cut a small baby off the mother plant with not much tuber, it will take a long time to grow big because it doesn't have that store of energy to pull from. If I remember right, @zozo said that waterlilies can essentially be "dwarfed" this way. I have a small baby lotus that's grown from my main one, it has quite small leaves at the moment, but I've noticed them getting bigger, I think because it's root system has got deep enough to access the soil. I would try to get a baby plant off of someone (or a new one with a small bulb), and then grow it in gravel or sand so it can only get nutrients from the water and see how that goes. I'm planning to try this myself with my baby plant, otherwise I'd send it to you.

I have also been planning on trying helvola, but I think that colder-climate waterlilies usually need a dormancy period which is an extra hassle. I was planning on putting it in a small container hidden under the sand so it could be pulled out in the winter and shoved in a vase in the greenhouse. Personally I'm kinda intrigued by keeping these kind of plants in the aquarium, despite the added hassle you could grow a wider variety of plants, and maybe giving our tanks a yearly cycle could be a good thing, it would be very interesting to explore. It reminds me of that thread about tempurature and how some people let their tanks get quite cold in the winter.

Thanks Rosie - yes, I did wonder if they needed a dormancy period as they would get in a pond. I probably need to just get a standard Tiger Lotus buld and give it a go, and if I find I can't keep the leaves small enough, then I'll try another species.

Hopefully Marcel (@zozo) will drop by and share some experiences.

Regular pruning keeps tiger lotus small - just ensure that no leaves ever reach the surface and it will be compact, and keep throwing up new leaves.

@Wookii looking at those links, I'm not sure if those lilies will be smaller than an tiger lotus.

Hmmm, issue is, I would quite like to try and maintain a couple of floating leaves if I can.

They may not be smaller, I'm not sure, though the Pygmaea Helvola in that video that @Sarpijk linked to above looked nice and small, and would be ideal.
 
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waterlilies usually need a dormancy period
No, they don't if kept in a temperate climate they only lose all leaves if temperature and light intensity go below a certain treshhold. SUch as kept outdoors in the northern hemisphere. But if kept indoors even relatively unheated they will grow as an evergreen aquarium plant. If it ever will develop floaters are light intensity-dependent. If the light intensity isn't enough it will only grow in submerged form. :)

You can indeed kinda dwarf any type of lily you can find if it has the correct rhizome, the most common one you'll find is the Marliac rhizome. This grows horizontally and can be compared with a potato forming growing eyes from which the new young plantlets sprout. You can cut off the baby nymphaea leaving a piece of the rhizome to it. Like in the picture below.
dscf8265-jpg.103759


Then plant it back in the substrate and it will grow on and the size of the rhizome simply can't allow it to grow much bigger it simply doesn't have the energy for this. And depending on the conditions you give it, but you can be pretty sure in average indoor aquarium conditions it will stay rather small for quite some years to come.

True or exclusively tropical lilies all have a different rhizome named the Mexicana rhizome and this behaves and forms differently with the plant rooting vertically instead. I guess also this rhizome can be cut, but this is a guess I've no experience with this and never done it. The Tiger lotus is such a tropical lily sp. with Mexicana rhizome.

The Lily in the picture is an N. Burgundy Princess which actually is a quite big lily sp. when fully matured to big for the aquarium. I started with this cutting about 6 years ago in a 110-litre indoor low tech tank it is still in there in a manageable size sending out baby plants spreading over the substrate.
 
No, they don't if kept in a temperate climate they only lose all leaves if temperature and light intensity go below a certain treshhold. SUch as kept outdoors in the northern hemisphere. But if kept indoors even relatively unheated they will grow as an evergreen aquarium plant. If it ever will develop floaters are light intensity-dependent. If the light intensity isn't enough it will only grow in submerged form. :)

You can indeed kinda dwarf any type of lily you can find if it has the correct rhizome, the most common one you'll find is the Marliac rhizome. This grows horizontally and can be compared with a potato forming growing eyes from which the new young plantlets sprout. You can cut off the baby nymphaea leaving a piece of the rhizome to it. Like in the picture below.
dscf8265-jpg.103759


Then plant it back in the substrate and it will grow on and the size of the rhizome simply can't allow it to grow much bigger it simply doesn't have the energy for this. And depending on the conditions you give it, but you can be pretty sure in average indoor aquarium conditions it will stay rather small for quite some years to come.

True or exclusively tropical lilies all have a different rhizome named the Mexicana rhizome and this behaves and forms differently with the plant rooting vertically instead. I guess also this rhizome can be cut, but this is a guess I've no experience with this and never done it. The Tiger lotus is such a tropical lily sp. with Mexicana rhizome.

The Lily in the picture is an N. Burgundy Princess which actually is a quite big lily sp. when fully matured to big for the aquarium. I started with this cutting about 6 years ago in a 110-litre indoor low tech tank it is still in there in a manageable size sending out baby plants spreading over the substrate.

Thanks for the info Marcel. (picture isn't working for me though?)

So is it likely that most of the pygmy pond lilies that I link to in post #6 will be of the Marliac rhizome type, and suitable for cutting down to limit leaf size?
 
No, they don't if kept in a temperate climate they only lose all leaves if temperature and light intensity go below a certain treshhold. SUch as kept outdoors in the northern hemisphere. But if kept indoors even relatively unheated they will grow as an evergreen aquarium plant. If it ever will develop floaters are light intensity-dependent. If the light intensity isn't enough it will only grow in submerged form. :)

You can indeed kinda dwarf any type of lily you can find if it has the correct rhizome, the most common one you'll find is the Marliac rhizome. This grows horizontally and can be compared with a potato forming growing eyes from which the new young plantlets sprout. You can cut off the baby nymphaea leaving a piece of the rhizome to it. Like in the picture below.
dscf8265-jpg.103759


Then plant it back in the substrate and it will grow on and the size of the rhizome simply can't allow it to grow much bigger it simply doesn't have the energy for this. And depending on the conditions you give it, but you can be pretty sure in average indoor aquarium conditions it will stay rather small for quite some years to come.

True or exclusively tropical lilies all have a different rhizome named the Mexicana rhizome and this behaves and forms differently with the plant rooting vertically instead. I guess also this rhizome can be cut, but this is a guess I've no experience with this and never done it. The Tiger lotus is such a tropical lily sp. with Mexicana rhizome.

The Lily in the picture is an N. Burgundy Princess which actually is a quite big lily sp. when fully matured to big for the aquarium. I started with this cutting about 6 years ago in a 110-litre indoor low tech tank it is still in there in a manageable size sending out baby plants spreading over the substrate.
Amazing, thank you for correcting me, this is super interesting! Have you ever kept any of the marliac rhizome lilies in a heated aquarium?
 
Thanks for the info Marcel. (picture isn't working for me though?)

So is it likely that most of the pygmy pond lilies that I link to in post #6 will be of the Marliac rhizome type, and suitable for cutting down to limit leaf size?

It's a picture from a previous thread already on the UKAPS server... No idea why it's not showing for you...

For the rhizome's yes I think so.... As far as I know, there are only 4 types the Marliac, the Tuberosa, the Odorata, and the Mexicana. They quite distinct from each other, the Mexicana is a Bulb when it matures it kinda forms vertically creating side bulbs looking like a pineapple. But we rarely see this in the trade because it might take years in top condition to develop. The young plant we usually get still has a smooth bulb.

Anyway, the pond lilies available to us are never Mexicana... AFAIK almost all are Marliac, but obviously, I don't know them all. But all probably can be cut and divided into separate plants. Wait for new growth to cut off and speed up the process. But you could chop the rhizome and plant it it might survive and develop new growth.

Knipsel.JPG


A snippet from the article below for more information.

:)
 
Have you ever kept any of the marliac rhizome lilies in a heated aquarium?

This was my first one ever in a heated high-tech aquarium.

Still have offspring from this lily growing today. :)

Note, if kept outdoors and even tho labeled winter hardy, this is not fully true... If the rhizome ever freezes it might die... Usually, this won't happen because it's planted deep enough.
 
I recently planted a Nymphaea stellata tuber; it has sprouted and I await developments. Brown/red leaves and not huge. Aquaessentials sell them (mine was Ebay) A possibility?
Cheers
 
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I have a dwarf red lily named Nymphaea Rubra. I don't think Rubra is a legitimate species name, no difference from Tiger Lotus that is not really lotus but just another Nymphaea species. I planted mine in a 3 inch net pot for years, and it is now root bound filling the pot with just some gravel left to weigh it down. So it thrives in soilless media deriving nutrients entirely from the water column, and the pot limits its size from getting out of control. The leave size is smaller than regular lily but by no means dwarf. If you want small leaf lily, you have get something like Banana plant which is not Nymphaea but in the lily family.

 
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