Yellow Water Lilies
The first water lily I remember wanting for my pond was 'Sunrise'. I was shipped a plant labeled 'Sunrise,' but it wasn't till years later that I realized the lily that had actually been shipped to me was 'Chromatella.' 'Chromatella' turned out to be a great lily and is still growing in that pond. So the chronic industry problem of mislabeling lilies turned out to be a fortuitous error. Since then a number of new varieties of yellow lily have been introduced that are superior to either 'Chromatella' or 'Sunrise.' 'Joey Tomocik' is the most deeply colored yellow, a lily from Thailand with an uncertain name (is it 'Sri Bangpra' or 'Pinwaree'?) is a prolific bloomer and 'Perry's Double Yellow' is, well, a very double, multipetaled flower.
The first variety that Kirk Strawn released, it's a nice enough yellow, but nothing special. It's very similar to 'Sunrise' and, it seems, a handful of Perry Slocum lilies that' I've only seen in pictures. I've removed it from my collection.
Despite being superseded in some ways by newer hybrids, this variety still has a lot going for it. It's still the main lily in the pond at my parent's house - I grow 5 of them around the perimeter of the pond, and put a tropical lily, 'Director George T. Moore' in the middle of the pond. I like the purple and yellow combination. The pond is heavily shaded, but that doesn't bother 'Chromatella' too much - it continues to flower well. The new foliage is among the most attractive of any lily.
A Kirk Strawn hybrid, and like a lot of his creations 'Denver' will change color throughout the growing season. Spring flowers will appear almost white, and I've seen more than one water plant nursery categorize 'Denver' as a white water lily. Through most of the summer though 'Denver' appears as a very pale yellow water lily. The highly double flowers and compact growth make this a great choice for small or medium pools, even for tub culture.
This dwarf pale yellow water lily with heavily mottled foliage showed up in a shipment from another grower. I tried for quite some time to figure out which variety it might be, but it didn’t quite fit the description of any - the grower suggested it’s a seedling that established in one of his stock ponds and doesn’t have a name. I had liked it so much I was growing it in a large ceramic water pot on a patio at my mother’s house. When I found out it didn’t have a name I named it after her. ‘Frieda B’ is a great lily for a small pond or tub garden. It's not the most prolific flowerer, but it's better than Marliac's changeables like 'Aurora,' and the semi-double flowers are good-sized for a dwarf lily.
Also listed as 'Yellow Pygmy.' This is a true dwarf water lily, the smallest of the lilies that we grow in ceramic pots. The dwarf size must come from Nymphaea tetragona and the yellow color presumably from the Mexican water lily, N. mexicana. As you can see from the photo an established plant can have numerous flowers open at one time. This is probably a 15" pot - I imagine you might see even more flowers if you grew it in say a 24" pot. The flowers don't open up until late morning and don't compensate by staying open later than other lilies, but this one drawback can be forgiven for such a perfect lily for tub culture.
Another plant that was shipped to me under a different name. Took me a while, since most yellow lilies look about the same, but the deep yellow color of my mystery plant led me to 'Joey Tomocik.'
I'm not sure if this introduction from Thailand is the first lily to exhibit variegation, but it's certainly the first one in our collection. The pink streaking on a lemon yellow background is striking. The degree of streaking varies among flowers, so you're always looking to see how each new flower will look upon opening. 'Lava Walk' was added to our collection in 2020 so here in 2021 we are still assessing how prolific it will be, but so far flower production seems pretty steady.
This is similar to 'Denver' in being a medium-sized lily with good-looking double flowers. Both are Strawn creations - one will probably be pulled from my collection once I need the space for another lily - Tony Moore's 'Lemon Meringue,' I'm looking at you!
'Lemon Mist' is a Kirk Strawn introduction. There's nothing remarkable about it and I've almost removed it from my collection a couple of times. But it's one of the best flowerers in the group, both in flower production during the season and in starting to flower early in spring and continuing into the fall. When you combine its flower power with good yellow color and double form, I've decided it's a keeper - for the moment.
'Perry's Double Yellow'
I really didn't have high expectations for this lily. Perhaps I figured that peach-colored varieties like 'Mangkala Ubol' and 'Blushing Bride' would have double flowers, but be more colorful. Well, the first flower opened and I was a convert. The flower is simply stunning. I'm still assessing how prolifically the plant will flower, but even if it's as bad as say 'Gonnere' in rarely producing flowers, I think it would be worth the wait.
'Sri Bangpra or Pinwaree'
An introduction from Thai breeder Dr. N. Nopchai Chansipa of Bangphra Technology University, this lily was sold to me as 'Sri Bangpra.' A posting on the web indicated that none other than Dr. Chansipa himself saw a picture of the lily and instructed that the lily was in fact his variety 'Pinwaree' - the name means top of water or river. Whatever the name, this is simply a spectacular lily. Large size flowers, good yellow color (with a hint of pink or peach on the outer petals), attractively mottled leaves and consistent flower production make this the best yellow lily in my collection. At first glance you might think it's a tropical lily.
As mentioned above, this is the first yellow lily I lusted after, but wasn't able to obtain for many years. When I was finally able to obtain it, I was greatly disappointed by its first flower, expecting a giant, bright yellow flower, but instead seeing a flower that was a lot like many other yellows. In the meantime, 'Pinwaree' had come into the collection - that's the flower I was expecting to see from 'Sunrise.' 'Sunrise' is a perfectly good yellow, but not the best yellow that my mind had expected it to be - I've removed it from the collection.