Nymphaea violacea – Blue Lily

This floating perennial herb with magnificent blue-violet blooms is native to northern Australia, growing in billabongs and rivers. The plant grows from a rhizome in the muddy bottom of the water body, with floating leaves and delicately scented flowers borne from late summer to winter in its natural environment. The plant can be cultivated from the rhizome, planted in a pot of rich organic matter and submerged in water 30 – 60cm deep. Cover the soil with a layer of gravel to stabilise. The pond should be at least 1 square metre to maintain water quality and contain some oxygenating plants.
The blue lily is a staple food for Aboriginal people in northern Australia, most parts of the plant are eaten.

Picture provided by Philip Clarke, from his new book Discovering Aboriginal Plant Use: Journeys of an Australian Anthropologist

Scientific Name:Nymphaea violacea
Common Name:Blue Lily
Plant Type:Aquatic
Height: metres
Width:1 metre
Flower Colour:Blue, Purple
Flowering Time:Summer, Autumn, Winter
Ph Level:Acid, Neutral
Soil Type:Loamy
Plant Environment:Container growing, Flower garden
Climate Zone:Sub-tropical
Light:Sunny, Light shade
Planting Season:Spring
Growth Habit:Evergreen, Spreading
Lifespan:Annual, Perennial
Soil Moisture:Boggy poorly drained
Propagation Method:Division
Frost Tolerance:Not frost tolerant
Plant Usage:Wow factor
Special Uses:Edible, Cut flower, Bog gardens
Attracts Wildlife:Butterflies, Other insects


Once you have found the plant that you want, the next step is to find where to get it. Nurseries stock a good range of plants, but due to space and supplies, they may or may not have the wanted plant in stock. If they don’t, they may be able to order it in for you.  Specialist nurseries are also able to give great advice, and if they don’t have the plant you want, they can often suggest alternative plants that will be just as good for you. Below is a list of our favourite specialist nurseries. Click on the links for their details-


The Wildflower Place Erina – NSW 


Sydney Wildflower Nursery – NSW


Newcastle Wildflower Nursery – NSW


Cool Country Natives – ACT


Geelong Native Plants – Victoria


Wimmera Native Nursery – Victoria


Zanthorrea Nursery – Perth WA


Manuka Native Nursery – South Australia




Sydney Wildflower Nursery – mail order


The Native Shop – mail order




Angus recommends Bush Tucker fertiliser for native plants.