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Water Lilies - Pests and Diseases

Tips for keeping them pest and disease free!

healthy white water lily in a pond

Avoid using chemical sprays whenever possible!!

If you have a light infestation you can spray off with a hose into the pond every day, and fish will eat them. Keep repeating this until it is under control. The key to healthy water lilies is to catch the problem early before it has a chance to get out of control!!

Waterlilies are a hearty aquatic plant, so pests and disease don’t occur often. In addition to these natural treatments, it is always best to keep the body of water moving with a pond aerator or pond fountains. This will reduce that growth of algae and keep pests at a minimum.


large bag of live lady bugs

Ladybugs are one of the best known beneficial insects for controlling aphids! 
A fun and cost effective treatment, simply release them in areas of pest activity and allow them to do the work.

It is great to involve the kids too! It is a fun project
for them and teaches them about nature and respecting the balance!

diatomaceous earth for pest control

Other environmentally safe insect control is Diatomaceous Earth, a microscopic abrasive that kills aphids and other insects. It can be dusted on the leaves or mixed with water and sprayed. ALWAYS use food grade Diatomaceous Earth. Nonfood grade is an irritant to the lungs.

water lily infested with China Mark Moth

MIDGES - Leaf-mining midges make wavy marks in  the lily pads. These very small larvae can be handpicked, the leaves can be removed, or the  water can be treated with Mosquito Dunks.

Water Lily with pest infestation

China Mark Moth - The tiny brown moth is the waterlily’s biggest pest. It is nocturnal and lays eggs underneath the large floating leaves. After the eggs hatch, the larva slices leaf pieces to make protective sandwiches. These larva will burrow into any floating leaves or debris. Their cycle runs about 2 weeks, so keep a close check for them throughout the growing season.

The mechanical control method, better known as squishing, works well to control an initial outbreak — fish just love the worms! Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a natural bacteria, can be used as a spray. Once ingested by the larva, it kills it but won’t hurt people, pets or fish. If there is a severe infestation, the best remedy is to remove all affected foliage close to the crown of the plant and destroy it.

water lily with disease

Several years ago, many varieties of hardy lilies were susceptible to crown rot, a fungis disease. The leaves on affected plants would turn yellow and curl up, and buds would rot below the surface. The plant would die soon since the rhizome had rotten away, leaving a stinky mess. Treatment was to completely soak the tuber in a fungicide. Since the disease is highly contagious, the best option was to completely remove the plant and destroy it. However luckily, this incidence and other fungal diseases has decreased as less susceptible hybrids have been developed.

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