Water lilies, also called nymphaea, water lily and, scientifically, Nymphaea spp., Are highly valued plants due to their beauty and significance, especially linked to spirituality. These are water plants or aquatic plants that grow in the calm waters of rivers and ponds, as well as in certain lagoons and wetlands. They arise from a rhizome that is found at the bottom of the water, in contact with the solid deposits of the bottom mud, from where it takes the nutrients. From this rhizome, leaves and flowers grow, which extend towards the surface of the water and, when reaching this point, unfold, making the plant visible in all its beauty and maximum expression. If you want to know the care of water lilies, because you are going to add some in your pond, fountain or lake, as well as learn about some of the types and the meaning they have, keep reading because in this article we will tell you everything.
Types of water lilies, nymphs or water lilies
It is considered that there are more than 1,500 species of water lilies . However, some of them are the best known, both for their cultural and symbolic context and for their ease of being cultivated or that they appear naturally in many freshwater ecosystems, such as rivers or lagoons. Some of the most important types of water lilies are the following:
- Nymphaea American Star : gets its name from the star shape of its flower. It has leaves that range from green to yellow.
- Nymphaea Caroliniana : similar to the Nymphaea American Star water lilyin its leaves and resistance, but with flowers that tend to be light or almost white in color.
- Nymphaea Aurora : its leaves are mottled purple and its flowers have a characteristic beige color when closed and orange when open.
- Nymphaea Virginalis : it is the water lily with the largest flower, which can reach up to 25 centimeters in length. It also needs fairly deep water to grow healthy.
- Nymphaea Alba : it is a water lily with quite small leaves, as well as with equally small flowers that are very characteristic for their almost snowy white color.
- Nymphaea Escarboucle – Needs very deep water and lots of sun. It is a type of water lily that is easy to recognize by the burgundy or wine color of its flowers.
- Nymphaea Carnea : it is characterized by its pink flowers. It is one of the easiest water lilies to grow, as it adapts with particular success to almost all environments. If you are thinking of planting some type of water lily and you are a neophyte in the matter, we recommend that you opt for this species if you want to make sure you are successful.
- Water lily Victoria: these are the giant water lilies, like the ones in the image below, which are found in tropical areas, mainly in the Amazon . The leaves can measure up to 2 meters in diameter and their flowers are usually between 30 cm and 50 cm in diameter.
Water lily care – guide
The care that the water lilies need will depend on each type of water lily in question. However, they all have certain elements in common.
How to plant water lilies: the rhizomes
To begin with, it must be taken into account that they are born from a rhizome that is located in the sediments of the stagnant waters of both calm rivers and lagoons, so it will be necessary to recreate this type of circumstances so that it grows properly. Depending on the type of water lily, it will be necessary to have a depth that can vary from 20 centimeters in the shallowest cases, up to 1.5 meters in the case of larger water lilies.
Likewise, it is also important to keep the water in good hygienic conditions. It is very important to avoid chlorinated water, as well as waters that have excess microorganisms that can harm water lilies.
Light and temperature
Depending on the type of water lily, it will also be necessary to have certain hours of sunshine a day. In general, most of them adapt well to warm temperatures, with frost being the main enemies of this type of aquatic plant.
Meaning of water lilies
The water lily is a plant that has a marked spiritual meaning . In Ancient Egypt it was linked to the passage between the world of the living and that of the dead. In this sense, it is necessary to go back to the Egyptian creation myth, in which the universe is created by the deity Ra from the primeval ocean, a kind of deep and dark conception of the original chaos. In this way, the world would emerge from a dark sea by the action of the gods, who would be the creators of the world and the life it contains in opposition to that primal and sterile ocean.
Similarly, the Egyptians noted the similarity between this myth and the growth process of water lilies , specifically the water lilies of the Nile River . The water lily rises from the depths of stagnant water and, upon reaching the surface, unfolds its leaves and flowers, showing all the beauty of life in each of its forms. For this reason, it was considered a plant that linked the world of the living and the dead , as well as that of human beings with that of the gods.