How To Divide Marginals & Water Lilies

As marginals and lilies grow, they reach a point when the plants can be separated into two (or more) plants. Below are guides to help you divide your water plants.


To divide marginals, begin by trimming away excess roots. Divide the plants at the natural breaking points either by applying pressure or by cutting with a sharp knife. Rejuvenate the plants by cutting off any pieces that older or damaged and repotting the fresh young ones.

Water Lilies

If your water lily is about three years old, it may be time to divide. Sure signs that your lily is ready for repotting are:

  • Less vigorous growth
  • Lack of blooms, even though it is being fertilized

In the spring when the new growth is halfway to the surface of your pond, it’s time to divide. To do this:

  1. Take the container from your pond and remove the plant from the pot
  2. Rinse the soil off the rootstock
  3. Find the main growing tip and some juvenile growing tips. Cut off old rootstock end making sure you leave 4”- 6” of healthy rootstock with the main growing tip
  4. Repot juvenile growing tips in a container and place in pond with 2”- 4” of water cover

It’s imperative that lilies do not dry out during the division process so work quickly. Repotted lilies will usually bloom the following year.