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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just set up an outdoor 20 gal to grow bulb plants and juvenile guppies. Last year in mid-summer I bought a few Nymphaea bulbs hoping to get a beautiful Tiger Lotus, but alas, nothing sprouted. Johnwelsley0's "porcelain posts' and affection for his lily inspired me to try again.

This year, I started earlier--before the bulbs dried out in the store. I bought Nymphaea, Aponogeton ulvaceus and Onion plant bulbs from PetCo (Imagitarium Brand) and planted them hoping that at least one would sprout. I put bulbs in pots with my clay garden soil and fertilized with garden bone meal. (There's a pile of wonderful forest topsoil from when mover crew originally leveled my mobile home site.) As you can see, the tank startup was a mess. The well leaked soluble iron causing the cloudiness. Then cold, rainy weather came right after I planted my bulbs. A temporary heater keeps temperature above 65F, plus I keep tank covered and wrapped tightly in bubble wrap at night.

One week later, things are looking up. Iron finally oxidized and settled to the bottom. Moreover, I was thrilled that about 5 days later, one of the larger Nymphaea bulbs produced 2 little red sprouts (see photo). I'm hoping that the lily is a Red Tiger Lotus! I've now added about 40 juvenile guppies to tank. Here are pics showing setup and the 5 day results. My goal is to get some lilies and other new plants going for a couple summer tanks.
 

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It all looks beautiful to me! I can't help noticing that when people plant the tropical lilies that they are bulbs and that the so-called, "hardy", temperate zone, variety are rhizomes. Do I have that right?
 

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Diana, this is exactly how I grow my waterlilies except I use Osmocote instead of bonemeal. As my ponds become increasingly shaded from trees, I grow mostly the tropical species used in aquaria because they are more shade tolerant. Red tiger is a cultivar of Nymphaea lotus and has a night-blooming white flower. N. micrantha is a day blooming blue lily, and the cultivar usually seen in aguaria is 'Gerflect'. It has mottled submerged leaves, and the flowers are faintly mottled as well. It is exceptionally easy to propagate because new plantlets form in the V of old floating leaves. Of the cultitvars usually grown in ponds, 'Rhonda Kay' is a shade tolerant blue tropical hybrid that is actually cold hardy here in Dallas.

Johnwesley, most hardy waterlilies do have true rhizomes that slowly creep through the soil. Most tropical waterlilies are technically corms, a rounded structure that does not creep, but produced offsets. Corms of many species of plants are commonly called bulbs by gardeners, but this is technically incorrect.

Sorry, I love waterlilies and wish my ponds were sunnier so I could have more of them.
 

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I have two seedlings of the native Nelumbo lutea that are growing big enough to go into a friend's large pond. They are tricky, wish me luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have two seedlings of the native Nelumbo lutea that are growing big enough to go into a friend's large pond. They are tricky, wish me luck.
Certainly do wish you luck! I didn't know that lotuses were native plants. They are so exotic.

Thanks for the info on lilies. Didn't given this a whole lot of thought. Just stuck the stuff into the pots.

Anyway, I'm excited about the one com that sprouted. What will it turn into? And if some of the other bulbs/coms sprout, then my $10 will be well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Two weeks later, I would like to report more activity from the one large Nymphaea bulb. Photo shows it in the 3rd pot from the left with the blue male guppy. A few of the other bulbs have also started to sprout. It has taken a little longer than I thought, but by summer I expect flourishing plant growth!
 

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I have some water lilies out in the pond. It only took them a couple of weeks to send up leaves to the surface. I have a flower just yesterday. It seems like sunlight is a big factor.
 

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I think it's lovely. The color is fantastic and the leaf size looks like it is growing. The first two weeks certainly seems crucial. In my case, there was a point where my lily was clearly on the verge of either shriveling back up or growing further with some additional care. I too thought it would be sending up vertical shoots by now, but, I may just have to accept the idea that this is essentially a wild plant adjusting to captivity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's photo at 3 weeks. A couple days ago, the Nymphaea, which looks like a Red Tiger Lotus, shot up a leaf to the surface. It's been so overcast lately, that I added an LED lamp last week. Actually, I might as well have set the tank up indoors. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's photos of my outdoor 20 gal at 1 month. The two Tiger Lotus bulbs have taken off with both submerged and emergent leaves. No flowers yet. Meanwhile, the other bulb--an onion--is struggling to come up and the Aponogeton never sprouted at all.

As to photography, it is interesting the effect of light. I used late afternoon sun to bring out the iridescent blue color on the guppies. The other picture using artificial light does not do the fish justice.
 

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