Alphabetical Plant Listing

Nymphaea mexicana (Yellow Water Lily)

Yellow Waterlily, Yellow Water-Lily, Banana Lily, Banana Waterlily, Sun Lotus, Castalia flava


Nymphaea mexicana (Yellow Water Lily) is a floating aquatic perennial boasting fleshy, oval-shaped, bright green leaves, up to 9 in. wide (22 cm), with reddish undersides. Floating on the surface of the water, they last about 6 weeks before turning yellow and create a lovely backdrop for the fragrant, multipetaled, bright yellow flowers. Each blossom, up to 2-4 in. across (5-10 cm), lasts several days and features several rows of thick, pointed petals (up to 25) surrounding a conspicuous bouquet of golden stamens. Blooming from spring to fall, the flowers are open from midday to late afternoon. Native to the southern USA and Mexico, Nymphaea mexicana spreads by creeping rhizomes rooted in the mud. It can be prevented from spreading by planting it in a container without drainage holes and submerging the container into the water garden. Although waterlilies require full sun for best flowering, Yellow Water Lily will produce some flowers with only 4 hours of direct sun. Deer occasionally consume the leaves while ducks consume the seeds and roots, as do muskrats, nutria, and other rodents. Tolerant of cold winters, Yellow Water Lily is an excellent choice for small ponds and container water gardens.

  • Grows up to 6-12 in. tall (15-30 cm) and 2-4 ft. wide (60-120 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in standing water about 18 in. deep (45 cm). Apply a slow-release fertilizer on a monthly basis.
  • A beautiful addition to ponds, water gardens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagate by pieces broken from underground stems.
  • Native to southern USA and Mexico. It has become a problematic invasive alien plant in South Africa and is listed as a nuisance invasive in Australia.

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Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 11
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Aquatic Plants
Plant Family Nymphaea - Water Lilies
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spread 2' – 4' (60cm – 120cm)
Spacing 36" – 60" (90cm – 150cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southwest, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Water Gardens

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Prathamesh Desai, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 11
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Aquatic Plants
Plant Family Nymphaea - Water Lilies
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spread 2' – 4' (60cm – 120cm)
Spacing 36" – 60" (90cm – 150cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southwest, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Water Gardens

Guides with Nymphaea - Water Lilies

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