If you have ever planted water lilies in your fish pond only to have your koi eat and destroy them you are not alone. A blooming lily in with koi is a very nice added feature to any pond and I have come across the best way of keeping the fish from having them for a snack. Not only that but the lily will flourish. Not my idea but this works well. There are a mix of fish in this pond, goodies and koi. You can't see them in this picture but some are about a foot long and use to eating greens. This may or may not work with large koi of over 2 feet, I'm going to try it in my pond with large koi and see how it goes, check back to see the outcome.
Not only will the fish shy away, the lily will actually do very good. In this next picture you can see my friend Marys hand extended to the top of the lily pot that is hung over the side of the pond, at this time they are actually deeper than usual, there had been a heavy rain and for most of the time the lily pot is little over 2" below the water surface.
Actually what this does is keep the small soft tasty pads away from the long journey to the surface that they seldom make before being eaten. In fact you will have to trim off excess pads from time to time, with all the light the lily gets this near to the surface it grows very fast.
This tropical lily is in a small container mostly because it is a small pond but still has fairly large pads and blooms, planted in rock only in a clay pot. Mine will be in a 3 gallon nursery black pot with rocks. A fertilizer tab was added and the plant was hung over the side in shallow water. I didn't give much thought to it but I had my doubts that it would do this well in a small pot and in very shallow water, wrong again, it's great and the fish have trouble getting to the small tender pads. There will be some nibbling but the larger pads can take that in stride. This is not to say the fish monsters won't try to get to the plants so it would be better to hang the pot rather than to just raise it up on something, I'm sure they will knock it over. Use some very sturdy wire hangers, this one is a orchard hanger but I have found that after a couple months they will rust away so pick up a couple to have an extra on hand or use some nylon cord to hang them.
So if you want to grow a lily in your fish pond and have tried the deeper planted lilies only to have them eaten give this a try. Another unconventional planting in this pond is the taro in this picture. It was potted but they grow so aggressive that they'll either brake the pot or just grow out of it. This taro is not potted and has adapted well to being just a floating plant.
Now if there was just something you could do to save the water hyacinths and water lettuce from the fish monsters. I have though of using a nylon stocking cut down to size on a hyacinths but have never tried it, I think you could just tie it at the base of the foliage part of the plant and it might work to keep the fish from eating all the roots, they will not bloom without good roots. My koi have gotten so big they just eat the whole plant.
Give all this some thought and you may come up with even better ways to save your plants from the fish. If you give this a try let me know how it worked out for you. I have the fish safe fertilizer tabs at the online store, they work very good with lilies planted in just rocks and also great with soil potted plants. Till next time take care and enjoy. Tom at Tadege.