Plant This: ‘Helvola’ dwarf water lily

The floating flowers of ‘Helvola’ Nymphaea shine like pale yellow stars with buttery centers. A constellation of them have opened recently.

A hardy dwarf water lily, ‘Helvola’ is the perfect size for small container ponds.

Its diminutive flowers are about 2 inches across, and the cloven leaves, dark-green mottled with purple, are about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

Like all water lilies, ‘Helvola’ prefers lots of sun, but it will bloom well in partial shade. The flowers open with the sun and close at dusk.

This beautiful blue dragonfly seemed to be admiring the flowers yesterday too.

I like how this flower is centered over a haloing leaf. And look at how busily the ants are sipping nectar in its center. They industriously, and bravely, traverse the floating leaves to get to the star-like flowers.

I understand the attraction. I love ‘Helvola’ too.

Note: My Plant This posts are written primarily for gardeners in central Texas. The plants I recommend are ones I’ve grown myself and have direct experience with. I wish I could provide more information about how these plants might perform in other parts of the country, but gardening knowledge is local. Consider checking your local online gardening forums to see if a particular plant might work in your region.

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

15 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This little lily is a beauty. I can see the attraction.

  2. Layanee says:

    The ants certainly did risk life and breath for their nectar didn’t they? Don’t you wonder how they got there? That could be a great children’s story. They look luscious and now have me craving melted butter perhaps on fresh corn.

    Some of the leaves are touching the rim of the tank, so they just climbed up and walked out on the leaves, Layanee. But how did they know the flowers were out there? —Pam

  3. Caroline says:

    Your pictures (and Layanee’s comment) have me drooling over these gorgeous water lilies. I’m taking notes. It may be years, but I will have a pond in the back yard.

    It’ll be worth the wait, Caroline. —Pam

  4. Hey pond girl, those are some beautiful pics.~~Dee

    Thanks, rose girl. —Pam

  5. Amy Emerick says:

    Wow! Those are beautiful.

    Thanks, Amy. And welcome to the garden-blogging community of Austin. Next time you might want to leave your blog’s URL when you comment so people can find your lovely blog. —Pam

  6. Ewa says:

    they really look like constellation :) I love them. I have pink ones, but no idea what’s their name.

    I love pink water lilies too, Ewa. In fact, my other one is pink and is called ‘Colorado.’ —Pam

  7. Have to look into a few of the dwarf ones. Images are fantastic as always…….. !

    Thanks so much, CIMS. —Pam

  8. Your new pond adventure makes me want to try it too. We’ve had a small one and kept thinking about a bigger one, but it still remains on the project list. You’ve got me excited to consider it again. Congratulations, too, on your photo win for the Mexican redbud! Lovely photograph. Can’t wait until it blooms again (which means it’ll be cooler, I hope!).

    Thanks, Linda! (It was a Mexican plum, but I do love redbuds too.) I can’t think as far as spring blooms yet. But I can’t wait for fall asters, Mexican mint marigold, and other fall bloomers. —Pam

  9. Jenny says:

    Gorgeous Pam. I’m sure these forays into the garden for such beautiful flowers are keeping you cool.

    The water lilies are sure cheering me up, Jenny, whenever I feel sullen about the weather. —Pam

  10. Lola says:

    Very pretty flowers. I bet they do have a lot of nectar.

    The ants sure do love them. —Pam

  11. cheryl says:

    Any chance you would post a photo of the little water lilies from a distance so we could get the full impact? (it would also help those of us who are “perspectivelly” challenged. ;>) thanks in advance.

    Sure, Cheryl. I’ll try to remember to get that shot next week on my next Pond Watch post. —Pam

  12. Jake says:

    Your pond is never boring or dull.


    I’m glad you think so, Jake. —Pam

  13. Meredith says:

    I have a dwarf water lily in my pond that a friend gave me. It almost died on my porch waiting for my pond to be finished(the dogs thought it was fun to pull all the plants out of their bucket — amazingly the plants all came back). So from a single leaf it’s made it to thriving, and it seems to be happy that I just lowered it deeper into the water. Hopefully I’ll get a bloom soon, so perhaps I can identify the species. My friend didn’t know!

  14. Beautiful, and so refreshing!

  15. HI, Pam, that would be a glorious thing to behold in one’s garden, for sure! Thanks for sharing its beauty. xoxo