Victoria cruziana (Santa Cruz Water Lily)

Scientific Name

Victoria amazonica (Poepp.) J. C. Sowerby

Common Names

Santa Cruz Water Lily, Water Platter

Synonyms

Victoria argentina, Victoria regia var. cruziana

Scientific Classification

Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Victoria

Flower

Color: White and pink
Bloom Time: Summer

Description

Victoria cruziana is a giant, water lily with massive, floating mid-green lily pads that can reach up to 8 feet (2.4 m) across 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.

Victoria cruziana - Santa Cruz Water Lily
Photo via nymphaion.de

Hardiness

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 autumn. 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. In order 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 which 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 has the capacity to 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.

Origin

Native to South America, primarily Argentina and Paraguay.

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