Peach Water Lilies
Some of the newest varieties of water lily are a combination of pink and yellow colors that are classified as “Sunset” “Salmon” or “Peach”.
Introduced in 1997 by Thai breeder Dr. N. Nopchai Chansipa of Bangphra Technology University, ‘Mangkala Ubol’ won the International Water Garden Society’s Best New Hardy Waterlily for 2004. The flowers are primarily yellow but with enough pink tinge throughout that they appear peach-colored from a distance. Combine this color with a very double flower form and you have a great lily. In fact, I think this is the best peach-colored lily in existence. I've tried to give Perry Slocum's 'Peaches and Cream' a shot at besting 'Mangkala Ubol' but have had doubts I've received a correctly named plant despite purchasing 'Peaches and Cream' from a number of different growers. What I have received pales in comparison to 'Mangkala Ubol' - perhaps I was sent an incorrectly labeled lily or perhaps 'Peaches and Cream' really does pale in comparison with 'Mangkala Ubol.'
I'm simply baffled by why this water lily is not more popular or commonly available. Great color, great form, it flowers well and has unique, strongly mottled foliage. It's simply Perry Slocum's best peach colored lily. It also has the interesting habit of occasionally not opening its flowers all the way. At first this bothered me, but then I realized the partially open flowers are unique looking and attractive in their own way.
Probably the most prolific bloomer amongst the peach lilies is Kirk Strawn's hybrid 'Clyde Ilkins.' It always seems to have two or three flowers open at one time. The flowers are medium-sized, and the plant is as well, making it a good choice for small to medium ponds.
One of the smaller peach lilies, making it a good choice for a small pond or even a tub garden. Problem is it simply has not been a good flowerer for us.
A Perry Slocum introduction, if you're looking for something in more of a pastel shade than the typical peach lily this is a good choice. It's form is its best attribute - very double with wide petals. It's a good flowerer - not in the same class as 'Peachglow' or 'Clyde Ilkins' and probably fewer flowers than 'Blushing Bride', but enough that you're not wondering when the heck that lily is going to flower again. I've thought about removing it from my collection but I've always liked lilies that have a hint of pink in the outer petals, like 'Marliac Carnea' - it gives the flower a unique look.
My plant was purchased with the label 'Highlight' and for a couple of years I thought it was that variety. Then I noticed a flower with deep yellow inner petals, which looked more like pictures I had seen of 'Innerlight'. So I did a petal count and came up with 35 which matched Perry Slocum's count in his book for 'Innerlight' (34-36), and which is more than the count for 'Highlight' that Perry provides (26-28). So I'm pretty confident the lily pictured here is 'Innerlight' not 'Highlight'. Like many (most? all?) of Kirk Strawn's peach lilies the color of this variety varies tremendously over the course of the season and perhaps, more proximately, due to the weather - to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what causes so much variation in flower color, but it keeps things interesting as you're always wondering just what color that flower that's about to open is going to be. They vary from almost white with no hint of deeper inner petal color, to white or pale yellow with a hint of peach to pale yellow with yellow inner petals to pale peach.
This Kirk Strawn introduction is perhaps the best of the smaller sized, "changeable" lilies. Similar varieties like 'Aurora,' and 'Chrysantha/Graziella,' simply don't flower very well for me. Actually, that's an understatement. They hardly flower at all. What's the point? Then there's another Strawn introduction, 'Charlie's Choice.' I thought I would prefer it over 'Little Sue' but while it flowers just about as well, it has a much higher leaf to flower ratio and the flowers are often somewhat distorted.
I'm still assessing this variety. As I just mentioned, I thought, based on descriptions in books and the web that it would be superior to 'Little Sue.' The base color of the flower of this variety is a bit paler than 'Little Sue' - closer to white than yellow. I like that because it gives it a different look than most of the other changeables. And the flowers are a bit bigger. But my stock plant produces a plethora of leaves and the flowers aren't as symmetric as 'Little Sue.'
I really wanted to like this lily - who wants to dislike a lily named after such a noble concept? But there's nothing remarkable about the lily. The flower isn't particularly colorful, being a somewhat peachy-toned yellow. The flower isn't particular large or multi-petaled. And it's not a prolific flowerer.
When I wrote that 'Clyde Ilkins' is the best flowerer among peach water lilies, I forgot about this variety. 'Peachglow' is probably slightly more prolific. And it has larger flowers. It's a great plant.