Victoria amazonica, Largest Waterlily

Victoria amazonica, Largest Waterlily

André Beaurain ~ July 8, 2015

It quite a story how these valuable seeds arrived trough the post.

I ordered a germinating seed from Poland, in March 2014.  They post the seed in the little capsules that one keep contact lenses in, with added water.     These seeds cannot dry out for they develope underwater like all Waterlily seeds and then just drop to the bottom or float away to germinate on the bottom of the Amazon River, where they originate from.

Well I can imagine it stirred something at customs for they confiscated the seed and put them under quarantine,  but not before they threw out the water!

10 months later I received a parcel from Customs,  It was my precious seed.  This was January 2015.  Very disappointed that the seed now was dry,  I added water into the capsules and put them away in the seed collection box.   5 Months later in June I suddenly lay awake one night thinking of the Frankincense seed that we received two months earlier, (awaiting to be planted in spring),  thinking that I must dust them with an insecticide as I was afraid we will lost them through  pests like moths.  So the next morning I investigated all the seeds in the collection box,  and seeing the Victoria pink capsules I opened them up, and can you believe it, 3  seeds started to germinate! I almost fell over.

We had quite a hot spell that month in the middle of winter, these seeds only germinate at a temperature of 32 degrees!  I rushed to our wonderful Aquatic pet store in Riebeek West to purchase a heater and small aquarium for the Victoria amazonica seed.

They are germinating all over 4 weeks and kept in the Orchid house at a constant temperature.  When they have there 3 real leave , I must transplant them into bigger pots.

The water is kept at a constant 29°C if planted out into the big pond and the air temperature in the glasshouse has a minimum day temperature of 24°C and a night minimum of 19°C. However, in summer temperatures more than 30°C during the day are common.

The tubs in which mature plants are grown are 600mm deep and 900mm in diameter and, when in place, the top of the tubs sit 400mm below the surface of the water. Once the tubs are filled with loam a 30mm deep layer of coarse grit or gravel is placed on top to ensure that the loam does not float out of the tub when the pond is refilled.