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Nymphaea x 'Attraction' Attraction Hardy Water Lily

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


'Attraction' waterlily is a hardy hybrid that floats its round foliage and produces a slightly fragrant, multi-petaled, red flower just above the water. It needs about 4 feet to spread its leaves on the water's surface. It has become one of the most popular waterlilies, but recent tests show that it is poorly suited for Florida. Each leaf lasts about 6 weeks before turning yellow. This is normal and should not be cause for concern. Flower showiness is legendary, and each flower lasts several days, but flowers close in late afternoon and at night. Although 'Attraction' requires full sun for best flowering, this one will produce some flowers with only 4 hours of direct sun.

Full Form - Abelia x grandiflora: glossy abelia
Figure 1 . Full Form - Nymphaea x 'Attraction' Attraction Hardy Water Lily 
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS 

General Information

Scientific name: Nymphaea x 'Attraction'

Pronunciation: nim-FEE-uh

Common name(s): 'Attraction' hardy waterlily

Family: Nymphaeaceae

Plant type: aquatic plant

USDA hardiness zones: 3 through 8 (Figure 2)

Planting month for zone 7: year-round

Planting month for zone 8: year-round

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: cut flowers; attracts butterflies

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 0.5 to 1 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Plant habit: not applicable

Plant density: open

Growth rate: fast

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: most emerge from the soil, usually without a stem

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: undulate

Leaf shape: orbiculate

Leaf venation: palmate

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 12 to 18 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: red

Flower characteristic: pleasant fragrance; summer flowering; fall flowering; spring flowering


Fruit shape: unknown

Fruit length: unknown

Fruit cover: unknown

Fruit color: unknown

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable

Current year stem/twig color: not applicable

Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: acidic; grows submerged in water

Soil salt tolerances: poor

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

'Attraction' hardy waterlily grows in standing water about 18 inches deep and spreads by means of rhizomes. It can be prevented from spreading by planting it in a container without drainage holes and submerging the container into the water garden. This helps prevent the plant from invading the entire water garden.

'Attraction' hardy waterlilies should be planted in a container filled with garden soil or potting mix. A shallow and wide container is better than a tall, narrow container. The garden soil can be mixed with one-fifth well-decomposed cow manure. Incorporate fertilizer at an equivalent rate of about one-quarter cup 10-10-10 per gallon of soil or media to help stimulate growth. Before filling the container, place a small plastic bag filled with sand at the bottom to keep it from floating in the pond. Plant the rhizome at the edge of the container so it can grow horizontally across the top. Place a 1 or 2 inch layer of sand or gravel over the top of the media after the rhizome is planted in the pot to keep media and soil in the container. Lower the container into 6 inches of water until growth begins. Then it can be set so the bottom is no more than 18 inches below the surface. If the water is too deep, place a brick or concrete block under the container. Do not construct containers from treated lumber since growth could be severely inhibited.

The only maintenance required is monthly application of a slow-release fertilizer. Tablets manufactured by various companies can be placed several inches below the sand or gravel layer at the top of the container. Follow the manufacturer's directions to determine appropriate number of tablets.

Publication #FPS436

Release Date:November 27, 2023

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About this Publication

This document is FPS436, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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