Current Pond 40° F
Updated: 11.29.23

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Winter Care For Water Lilies

Hardy Water Lilies

Being in Washington State, we are fortunate enough to experience all four seasons. As we transition into fall and winter, pond gardens begin to fade. We receive many questions this time of year regarding water lilies and the proper care for them in winter.

  • Should I bring my water lily indoors?
  • The leaves turned brown. Are they completely dead?
  • I live in Eastern Washington where we experience freezing temperatures regularly. How can I keep my water lilies from dying?


Because winter care for water lilies requires a little more TLC and there is no guarantee that the water lilies will make it through the winter, many water gardeners grow lilies as annuals and will toss them in the compost at the end of the season.

What do we do?

  • When the foliage begins to turn brown and die back, cut back the faded plant material below the surface and move the potted lily to the deepest area of your pond. It’s ideal to keep them in the deepest location, furthest away from the surface where it is more likely to freeze. This is what we do for our water lilies at Falling Water Gardens in Monroe, Washington.


  • If your pond doesn’t have a very deep area, and you’re concerned about the majority of your pond freezing, you could bring the water lily indoors and store in an area such as your basement or garage (should be kept at about 50°F). You can bring the whole pot in and store it in a plastic bag or a box. Be sure to check periodically to make sure the soil is moist. We have not used this method, but have heard others being successful with it.


What about water hyacinth or water lettuce?

Water hyacinth and lettuce are very inexpensive and should be tossed out of the pond as soon as you notice them getting mushy.