Every month we are asking if you know about your birth flower, and this month we're talking about the Water Lily!

The idea that birth flowers, such as the water lily, have meanings was introduced in the early 18th century by members of the literary community. So each month was assigned a flower. And it was thought that the characteristics of those would be inherited by those born in that month.

The birth flower for July

Water Lily in a bottle keepsake gift

The water lily is one of the more mysterious and exotic of the birth flowers. It is less common in the UK. However, it is often present in formal gardens that have well maintained ponds or water features. It is pretty unsuitable as a cut flower. Therefore, it is much more difficult to gift a live water lily as a birthday present!

Water Lily

The water lily across the globe

Water Liles are mostly poisonous. However, throughout history, civilisations have found ways to eat parts of this flower. Notably the tuber and in some species the seeds. In Western Africa the tubers were either roasted in ashes, or dried and ground into a flour!

Cultural significance

The water lily was also highly regarded by the Ancient Egyptians. Also, it was used in artworks and literature to signify the glory of the sun. This was due to the way that the petals open up towards the light. The water lily to the Egyptians was a symbol of creation.


But in Western culture the water lily is mostly associated with the works of Claude Monet. He was certainly the most notable of the Impressionist artists from the late 19th and early 20th century. Monet’s extensive works depict the water lily in an extensive catalogue.

Monet's bridge
You can visit the bridge that inspired many of Monet's paintings of water lilies!

What’s in a name?

Lily is a very popular girls name across the world, but especially in the UK. It currently ranks as the number 13th most popular name for a girl in 2022.

“The name Lily comes from the English word for the flower. It is regarded in many cultures as a symbol of purity and in Christian belief it is a symbol of peace. The name has recently enjoyed a huge popularity boost and is very popular in the UK and US.”

Water Lily Miniature Frame

Amusing historic anecdote of the water lily

Roman belief once existed claiming that said if you drank a liquid of crushed Nymphaea water lily in vinegar for 10 consecutive days, it would turn a boy into a eunuch.

And if you want to know even more about the Birth Flower for July, or indeed any month, the LolaFlora blog has a huge amount of information and interesting facts!

How to grow a water lily

It is possible to grow water lilies in your garden very successfully in the climate of the UK. But first things first, you obviously need a pond. Or alternatively a body of water that is suitable to the variety of water lily you have chosen.

Like all flowers, there are a huge array of different types of water lilies. And some need very deep water for their roots to thrive.

Lilies prefer calm water. And they need a position in full sun to maximise their potential to flower.

Lilies are vigorous growers and despite being hardy perennials (depending on varieties) do need ongoing care. Including regular pruning and dead heading.

For the ultimate tips to growing water lilies check out the RHS guide here.

Symbolism of the Water Lily

  • Positivity
  • Joy
  • Beauty

Birth Flowers for each month

  • January Carnation: love, gratitude, beauty
  • February Violet: wisdom, loyalty, friendship
  • March Daffodil: fresh beginnings, happiness, luck
  • April Daisy: happiness, joy, love
  • May Lily: beauty, serenity, happiness
  • June Rose: love, dedication, devotion
  • July Waterlily: positivity, beauty, joy
  • August Poppy: imagination, strength, integrity
  • September Aster: love, affection, patience
  • October Marigold: creativity, grace, elegance
  • November Chrysanthemum: compassion, friendship, joy
  • December Narcissus: hope, happiness, optimism

And at Bombus we have a whole range of beautiful Birth Flower gifts to choose from.

Birth flower multi print

Shop here:

Personalised birth flower gifts | Birthday gifts for her (bombus.co.uk)

Next month...August's Birth Flower is the Poppy!

Poppy Birth Flower gift