The Big Lilies

Built in 1895, the historic lily pond, was once a favorite with the public. The enormous, Blooming Victoria Water Lilies have a long history at Como Park. Named after Britain’s Queen Victoria, the plants thrived in warm water pumped to the pond from a boiler at the park superintendent’s house.

The plants expanded and took over the shallow pool under a stone bridge. Full grown Blooming Victorias can be 6 feet in diameter and capable of supporting the weight of a child. The plants are hermaphroditic. During pollination Blooming Victorias emerge from under water, bloom and begin transitioning from females to males. The process changes the look and scent of the plant’s coffee cup sized flower. White petals attract pollinators with a pineapple smell. After pollination, the flowers submerge and turn red.

The Blooming season occurs in July and August. Over the years the ornamental trees grew and shaded the parks original lily pool. Como Park Conservatory’s indoor attractions gained popularity and the outdoor water plants were abandoned in the 1920’s.

Almost 100 years later, new water gardens were built as part of an expansion of the Como Park’s 1915 Conservatory. Blooming Victorias have been reintroduced in the heated water gardens outlining the new addition.