How to Care for Dwarf Aquarium Lilies
Aqualand info on Nuphar stellata
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Dwarf lilies grow arrowhead shaped leaves.
Dwarf Lily? How could this cute little bushy plant with arrowhead shaped leaves be a lily? Wouldn’t the name sagittarius be more appropriate? Check your horoscope. However, Nuphar stellata is a lily growing from a genuine hard-as-rock lily bulb. If you give it a lot of light and less water, you’ll see round mini-lily leaves grow to the top followed by mini-lily blooms. This growth pattern parallels that of the banana plant -- another dwarf lily.
Pick Sprouted Bulbs. Oftimes these dwarf lily bulbs come mixed with “Assorted Aponogeton Bulbs” -- usually in 500 or 1,000 packs. Maybe 100 out of the 500 turn out to be non-sprouters. We now order them separately and get all sprouted bulbs. They cost a little more, however, we prefer them to the bulbs that might lie dormant for half a year. They still grow slowly.
Slow Growers. Because most people keep dwarf lilies under low light, they grow slowly and put out these good-looking arrowhead shaped leaves. You really want to provide low light or you get a less attractive real lily. Only patient people without plecos in their tank (or the other usual plant eaters) should bother with dwarf lilies.
Handle with Care. You can’t toss your sprouted dwarf lilies around with impunity. These guys detach from their bulb faster than a middle-weight boxer’s retina. However, many dwarf lily bulbs grow several crowns -- not all at the same time.
What Color Foliage? We’ve seen greens, browns, and reds. Their color seems to vary under different light sources. Under cheap overhead fluorescent bulbs many look red. Under our bulbs and sunlight, they look greener on top with reddish undersides -- the same plant. Under incandescent they look browner. And since we’ve never seen an order form that lists them by color, let’s just assume they’re all the same species. Let me know if this assumption needs correcting. We’re saving a prominent spot for you on our Board of Correctors.
How to Plant. No need to bury your dwarf lily bulb. Let it sink to the bottom and “plant” itself. Its roots grow into the gravel just fine. If you move it or reposition it, you will need to re-bury its roots.
Last Word. Dwarf lilies make a nice addition to planted tanks. Not as cheap or as fast-growing as the bunch plants, dwarf lilies take time to grow into a good-looking plant -- sort of like those baggy clothes your mother said you’d grow into. LA.
Kristin Kamps, September 4, 2013
A: Nice pic. I've added it to my dwarf lily page. Thanks.
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