Nymphaea 'James Brydon'

Common Name: hardy water lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Zone: 4 to 10
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Red with orangish stamens
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful


Easily grown in wet soil in still water in full sun to part shade. Full sun may be best, but plants will usually flower with as little as three hours of sun per day. Plant rhizomes horizontally in spring with bud end up in containers submerged in ponds or water gardens where the water is 12-48” deep. When planted in containers, plants can be more easily moved later on if desired. Rhizomes may be planted directly in the muddy bottom of a pond. Hardy water lilies will overwinter without difficulty in the St. Louis area, whether growing in ponds or in water gardens, as long as the water does not freeze to the bottom. If necessary, however, rhizomes grown in containers may easily be lifted and overwintered in a cool frost-free root cellar or garage where winter temperatures preferably remain in the 40-45 degree F. range.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Nymphaea is a genus of about 50 species of herbaceous aquatic perennials found worldwide that are grown for their spectacular flowers. Winter-hardy water lilies are usually day-flowering and have flowers that float on the water. Tropical water lilies can be either day-flowering or night-flowering and generally their flowers extend above the water.

Genus name comes from the Greek word nymphaia referring to a water nymph.

'James Brydon' is typically grown in ponds or water gardens. Rounded, greenish leaves (to 8" across) are tinged with purple (sometimes spotted with dark red). Leaves float on the water surface. From May to frost, large, double, fragrant, cupped flowers (to 5") with upward curved, bright metallic red petals and a central mass of yellow tipped, deep orange stamens appear on or just above the water surface. Each flower blooms for about 5 days, opening in the morning and closing at night.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf mining midges and aphids can be troublesome in some areas.


Water gardens or ponds. May also be grown in large tubs or containers.