Kanapaha's 2007 V. 'Longwood Hybrid' reached nearly 8' (2.4m) in diameter, shown here at the 7'3'' stage. Here's how they get Victorias from juvenile to adult in a natural pond.

How to Make a Pen for Victoria
(and other water plants threatened by aquatic predators)

by Don Goodman
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville, Florida USA
Click images to enlarge

Over the years, I've experimented with different types of fences to protect young Victoria plants from herbivorous fish and turtles. This design has proven effective and is largely invisible. 
In the top edge of a 50' (15m) section of (black nylon) deer netting (7' [2.1M] high), I weave a 50' section of black landscape polypipe. In the bottom edge, I weave a 50' section of (preferably black) garden hose. I then connect the ends of the air-filled polypipe, fill the garden hose with water and connect the ends, suture up the two ends of the deer netting and arrange it into a circle in the water (a "hoop" of polypipe floating above a "hoop" of hose resting on the bottom with an invisible black deer netting fence between the two). 

This circular pen is about 15' (4.6m) in diameter. When the Victoria leaves are of sufficient size to produce spines that repulse the attention of herbivorous fish (even Asian grass carp!), I sink the polypipe hoop to the bottom by placing about eight bricks along its length. The following season, I remove the bricks, the polypipe hoop rises to the surface and a new Victoria can be planted. It is essentially permanent. Since the sides are collapsible and up to 7' high, the pen can custom fit any space, even if the bottom is sloped. The only downside I've seen is that small fish and snakes sometimes get caught in the mesh.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
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