Longwood Victoria Waterlilies
Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ Nutt is a hybrid lily developed by Patrick Nutt of Longwood Gardens in 1961. Patrick used two species, V. cruziana and V. amazonica, while leaning more toward characteristics of cruziana. The Longwood Hybrid is more hardy than both parents and blooms about 10 days before while also being prized for its size and strength of lily pads. The genus name was originally Eurgale but later changed to Victoria in honor of Queen Victoria during her inaugural year of reign.
Native to the Amazon River Basin in Brazil, Longwoods needs an environment above 78 degrees fahrenheit along with a water temperature of 80-85 degrees fahrenheit. As this lily comes from a tropical climate, it does not overwinter and is considered a tropical or annual lily here in Iowa. While most lilies we see in Iowa are fairly smaller in size, these Victoria Longwood lilies surpass any hardy lilies around with lengths up to six feet across. The pads of Longwood waterlilies are special as they are green to bronze in color with a waxy layer that repels water. The pads also have 2 to 4 inch rims that curl up on the sides with spines going around and under the pad for defense against herbivores. Longwoods are beautiful night blooming waterlilies as they start out white the first night and then change to a medium pink the second night of bloom. Lasting only about 48 hours at a time, the blooms are short-lived with a pineapple-like scent.
You may grow Longwoods in large containers, but it can be difficult at most homes due to the size of area it needs to grow and the large lily pads it produces. A mixture of about half soil and half sand is what this lily needs in a container. When planting, put about an inch and a half of the mix at the bottom of the container with five to six slow and fast releasing fertilizer tablets on top. Then add about two or more inches of the mixture above the tablets making sure they are completely covered so they do not burn the roots. Lilies are very delicate and need constant moisture so spraying or misting the leaves while planting and transporting can help. Keeping the crown above soil, add a little bit of pea gravel on top to help keep the soil down and it can add a decorative look.
This incredible ornamental lily with tremendously large lily pads and beautiful blooms can be found in Lake Helen here at Reiman Gardens. Be sure to come and check out the new amazing Victoria Longwood waterlilies this summer!