Dividing Hardy Waterlilies


For the first few seasons you have your waterlily, the blossoming is outstanding, possibly even better than you'd hoped. After a few seasons, however, you notice a reduction in flowering, even though you continue to fertilize regularly. This downturn is your plant's signal to you that it is time for it to be divided and repotted in fresh soil. If you live in hot regions of the sunbelt, you may need to divide and replant your waterlilies annually.

Spring is by far the best time to divide hardy waterlilies, though this may be effectively accomplished at any time the lily is actively growing (primarily May-August). Watch the lilies early in the spring as the weather begins to warm, and you may notice new growth from the crown of the plant. When these new leaves are approximately halfway to the surface of the pond, it is time to divide.


1. Pull the plant container from the pond.
2. Remove the contents of the container and rinse the soil from the rootstock.
3. The plant will have a main growing tip and some juvenile growing tips visible on the large rootstock.
4. Cut off the old rootstock end, leaving 4-6" of healthy rootstock with the main growing tip.
5. Cut off juvenile crowns and discard the woody rootstock end.
6. Re-pot trimmed rootstock and juvenile crowns in individual containers (see Potting Hardy Waterlilies under Potting Aquatic Plants).

You can divide your hardy waterlilies at any time throughout the growing season up to one month before the first frost is expected (usually around Oct 15th in zone 6, earlier in lower zones, later in higher ones). You should allow 2-4 weeks for your lilies to adapt to their new surroundings after transplanting or dividing and repotting. Do not expect blooms for the first 4-6 weeks after transplanting. After this period, you can expect another 1-3 years of amazing blossoms before the cycle must be repeated. By using Larger Containers you can often extend the period between re-pottings.