Blue Water Lily Meaning

Are you interested in reading about flowers and their meaning? Then you’ll be intrigued by what you discover about the blue water lily’s meaning and what it represents.

The blue water lily is known for its rich history and deep symbolism. It’s also one of the most popular birth flowers of July.

Yet, the one characteristic they’re renowned for has to be their striking blue color and delicate stem. These flowers are special, unique, and definitely worth celebrating.

Read on to learn more about blue water lilies and their meaning.

Blue Water Lily Meaning

Named after the Greek word for ‘nymph,’ blue water lilies have been around for centuries. According to Greek mythology, nymphs are beautiful but somewhat menacing feminine spirits that inhabit bodies of freshwater, such as ponds, springs, and lakes.

These enigmatic plants have been a part of numerous cultures and civilizations, not just for their breathtaking colors but for the many things they represent.

Take a look.

Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians were mesmerized by the water lily’s ability to emerge from the muddy waters of the Nile. Thus, they often referred to it as a symbol of birth and resurrection.

Another fascinating feature is that the flowers open up each morning to greet the rising sun. Then, in the evening, they close back up as the day comes to an end.

To the ancient Egyptians, this was a direct correlation between the blue water lilies and the rising and setting of the sun. This connection grew to include the story of creation itself, which gave the flowers great religious significance.

You may have noticed that many of the ancient columns lining the temples and water lilies were crowned with depictions of water lilies.

They also saw these blue flowers as a symbol of resilience and perseverance. Blue water lilies may look delicate, but they’re one of the most hard-wearing plants you’ll encounter because they bloom into beautiful flowers despite growing in difficult circumstances.

Yet, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the delicate flowers that emerge from the muddy waters below.

Blue water lilies were often regarded as the flower of enlightenment and the key to knowledge. Yet, this could merely be because of its ability to induce a state of stimulation, ecstasy, and intoxication.

Based on many temple drawings and ancient scriptures, many people consider blue water lilies to be history’s first party drug! Some depictions even show the ancient Egyptians infusing the flower with wine.

As a result, one of the flower’s naturally occurring chemical compounds, an aporphine alkaloid known as nuciferine, became diluted in the alcohol. Consequently, this resulted in a change in its chemical composition, creating a highly intoxicating drink in the process.

As such, the ancient Egyptians often used them during medical procedures. These ritual plants were also considered a remedy for a wide range of diseases and various health issues.

Not only that, but the blue water lily was also used as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. Thanks to its enticing aroma, exquisite beauty, and inebriating effects, it increases libido and enhances sexual drive.

Also, the flower is known to increase blood flow. Thus, it’s believed to have been used to provide a similar arousal effect to that of today’s Viagra and other treatments used for erectile dysfunction (ED).

We should also note that there were times when ancient Egypt was two separate kingdoms: the Upper and Lower empires. Once they finally decided to join forces, the Egyptians cultivated many types, using the blooms to represent the unity of the two kingdoms.

Blue Water Lilies


In another part of the world, blue water lilies have also been revered for centuries. These flowers have been cultivated in certain parts of Asia as ornamental plants, especially around temples and sacred sites.

Known as the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ of Southeast Asia, blue water lilies are now the national flower of Bangladesh. Yet, there are mentions of these mesmerizing aquatic flowers that date back centuries.

Buddhists regarded blue water lilies as symbols of purity and virtue. They also represent discipline and obedience. This probably stems from the plant’s ability to open in the morning and close in the evening with meticulousness and precision.

It’s believed that when the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, passed on, water lilies grew in all the places he had ever walked.

As such, water lilies symbolize resurrection and rebirth. Like the ancient Egyptians, they also linked the opening and closing of the flowers to a kind of spiritual reawakening that takes place each day with the rising of the sun.

Hindus also saw the yellow center of the flower as a representation of the pale blue sky greeting the golden disk of the sun.

Hence, the closing and opening of the petals represented a kind of beginning and ending to the day, which gave the flower spiritual significance. To them, blue water lilies signified a sense of hope of renewal and new beginnings.

In spite of the muddy waters that surround the plant, the flower opens each day without any blemishes or spots. It’s always pure, clean, and flawless.

Related: Coreopsis Flower Meaning

July Birth Flower

It’s a well-known fact that water lilies thrive in gentle waters rather than grow in soil like traditional plants. The leaves and flowers typically float on the water while the stem stays underneath. The roots, however, reach deep down into the soil bed of their habitat, whether it’s a pond, lake, or aquarium.

This evokes images of serenity and calm, like those captured in many of Claude Monet’s iconic paintings.

The sense of tranquility that blue lilies are so adept at capturing the natural energy of their habitat. As such, this makes them the perfect birth flower for the Cancer zodiac sign.

Blue Water Lilies: A Quick Overview

Now that we know the meaning behind the blue water lily, let’s find out about the plant itself.

Scientific Name

Water lilies are part of the Nymphaeaceae family with about eight genera and nearly 70 known species. Each one comes with its own unique set of colors, variations, and distinct characteristics.

The blue variety is also known as Nymphaea nouchali.


Its leaves are broad and thick to make it easier to float on the surface of the water. Each leaf measures an average of about 10–16 inches across.

The blue flowers have pointed petals that can grow between 4 and 6 inches in diameter.


The captivating thing about these flowers is the way the petals are a deep shade of blue at the tips. Then, as you near the center, this dark shade gradually fades away to a pale blue hue.

In the center of the flower, the light blue color meets a vibrant yellow center.

Day Bloomers

Blue water lilies are one of the most well-known tropical water lilies that bloom during the day. They have a lighter scent compared to night-blooming varieties that are usually red, pink, or white.

When the petals close during the night, the plant tilts slightly to one side. Yet, it keeps the flowers above water level with the support of its sturdy stem.


Yet, despite their hardiness and ability to grow in muddy conditions and riverside beds, blue water lily blooms tend to last only for a few days. Then, they slowly sink underwater to break down and decay.

The good news is that water lilies are perennials. In other words, they grow and blossom during the warmer months. Then, they die in the fall and winter only to return again in the spring.

This growth cycle is only possible, however, as long as their underwater stem, aka the rhizome, and roots don’t freeze. That could be one explanation why blue water lilies are native to warmer regions like east Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

Blue Water Lily flower


Blue water lilies still have many uses today. They may no longer be used for their hypnotic powers. However, they’re considered part of Ayurvedic medicine and are used to treat digestive problems, skin conditions, and coughs.

Besides being a highly sought-after medicinal plant, the leaves and rhizomes were eaten either as famine food or medicine. This practice was usually carried out in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and various parts of West Africa.

Yet, like all water lilies, these parts are typically poisonous because they contain the alkaloid nupharin. To neutralize this lethal chemical compound, the plant has to be boiled and then roasted.

Also Check: Pink Gerbera Meaning

A Final Note

Water lilies have always had this ethereal quality about them. Whether it’s because they appear to be floating or because of their color variations, we’re not exactly sure.

Whatever it is that makes plants special and unique, water lilies seem to have it in spades.

That’s why we’ve always been fascinated by what they represent. The meaning and symbolism of the blue water lily have held our fascination for centuries.

Dating back to the ancient Egyptians, then moving to other regions of the world, they were thought of as illustrious just as they are today, and it’s not hard to see why.