Victoria amazonica (Poepp.) J. C. Sowerby
Santa Cruz Water Lily, Water Platter
Victoria argentina, Victoria regia var. cruziana
Color: White and pink
Bloom Time: Summer
Victoria cruziana is a giant, water lily with large floating, mid-green lily pads that can reach up to 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter and can support the weight of a small adult. Its leaves are reddish-purple and softly hairy on the underside. The ephemeral pineapple-scented blooms appear in summer, lasting only two nights. The flowers are up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter, white the first night, turning pink on the second night.
USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
In the wild, the giant waterlily is a short-lived perennial, but at Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens, it is raised as an annual from seed planted each January.
In summer the flowers are hand-pollinated and then placed in a bag. This enables easy collection of the resulting seed in the fall. The seeds must be kept moist, preferably in water, all the time. To prevent premature germination or death, they are kept at a constant temperature of 15 °C. To begin germination, it is sometimes necessary to nick the seed with a scalpel, after which germination occurs in ten days. In January, the newly germinated seed is pricked out into a tiny pot that is kept in water. As the plant grows, potting on into larger pots is carried out until the plant occupies a one-ton pot. Loam is used as a substrate, the key factors for this choice being that it does not float, it is rich in nutrients, and it can enclose the fertilizer that is contained in the 'feed bombs' given to the plant. See more at Giant Water Lily: The Queen of the Water Lilies.
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