Alphabetical Plant Listing

Nymphaea odorata (Fragrant Water Lily)

American White Water Lily, Fragrant White Water Lily, Fragrant Water Lily, White Water Lily, Sweet-scented White Water Lily, Sweet-scented Water Lily, Beaver Root


A hardy American water lily, Nymphaea odorata (Fragrant Water Lily) is a floating aquatic plant boasting flat, round, bright green leaves, up to 1 ft. (30 cm), with reddish undersides. Arising in close succession, they have a deep notch at one side where the stem is attached. Floating on the surface of the water, they last about 6 weeks before turning yellow and create a lovely backdrop for the large, very fragrant, multipetaled, white flowers. Each blossom, up to 2-6 in. across (5-15 cm), lasts several days and features several rows of thick, pointed petals (up to 25) surrounding a conspicuous bouquet of golden stamens. Blooming all summer, the flowers open in the morning and close in late afternoon or on very cloudy days. Their fruit is a slime-filled seedpod that matures underwater. One of the most common white water lilies, Nymphaea odorata spreads by slowly 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.

  • Grows up to 2-12 in. tall (5-30 cm) and 2-4 ft. wide (60-120 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in clay, loam, sandy, wet soils. Fragrant Water Lily grows in standing water about 18 in. deep (45 cm). Apply a slow-release fertilizer on a monthly basis.
  • A beautiful addition to aromatic, bog or pond areas, water gardens.
  • Propagate by seed or division of rhizomes in late spring.
  • Plant the rhizome at the edge of the container so it can grow horizontally across the top. Barely cover the rhizomes with soil and place within 6-8 in. (15-20 cm) of the water surface until several new leaves have appeared. Then it can be set so the bottom is no more than 18 in. (45 cm) below the surface.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Nymphaea odorata is native to all US states except Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming. It is considered an invasive exotic in California and Washington. Connecticut lists Nymphaea odorata as a species of special concern.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Heat Zones 1 – 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 2" – 1' (5cm – 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
Native Plants United States, Alaska, California, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Water Gardens

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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 4 – 11
Heat Zones 1 – 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 2" – 1' (5cm – 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
Native Plants United States, Alaska, California, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Water Gardens

Guides with Nymphaea - Water Lilies

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