Read our guide to Nelumbo for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for Lotus Plants.
Are you looking for a fantastic-looking plant for your water garden? Look no further than Lotus plants!
Nelumbo, commonly known as Lotus, is one of the most popular flowering pond plants. Lotus plants are known as the jewels of the aquatic world, and they are very symbolic in both ancient and modern times, being celebrated for their beauty.
Lotus plants are often immortalized in art and religion. In India, where Lotus is the national flower, it is seen as the symbol of divinity and immortality in humanity. The goddess Saraswati is portrayed sitting on a pale pink lotus. Besides that, the Indian Lotus is also often included in iconography as a seat for deities. In many other different cultures, Lotus is a symbol of purity, enlightenment, rebirth, and self-regeneration.
Lotus plants also have many culinary uses. The stems and roots are often added to soups and stir-fries, while the leaves, seeds, and flowers are also used in various dishes. Some parts of the plants also have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. More precisely, some compounds of the plants are known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Some animal studies also suggest that compounds in Lotus plants can help lower blood sugar levels.
Most Lotus plants are actually low maintenance and reward their gardeners with fragrant and attractive blossoms from early summer until late autumn. Lotus plants can make exotic centerpieces of all water gardens. The key to keeping your Lotus plants happy is to provide them with plenty of sunlight and a sufficient amount of water. The only issue with Lotus plants is that they can be very invasive and spread quickly.
Ready to learn more about growing and caring for Lotus? Keep reading below!
- Lotus plants belong to the Nelumbonaceae family, a family of aquatic flowering plants, the Nelumbo genus, and they are native to tropical regions of Asia and Australia. The American Lotus species is native to North America, where it grows in various bodies of water like ponds, lakes, or swamps.
- The botanical name of Lotus is Nelumbo. Lotus plants are also often wrongfully called “Water Lilies” as these two aquatic flowers often get mixed up. However, there are certain distinctions between the two, including the fact that they belong to two separate families of flowers.
- There are only two species of Lotus: Nelumbo Lutea (American Lotus) and Nelumbo Nucifera (Indian Lotus or Sacred Lotus).
- Lotus plants are sun-loving, and they need about six hours or more of direct sunlight to thrive. In fact, getting a sufficient amount of sunlight is one of the most critical growing needs for these plants. Note that some lotus plants will not flower if they don’t get at least six hours of light daily.
- In terms of soil preferences, you should choose to use soil made especially for pond plants, heavy topsoil or clay. Make sure that you don’t use garden soil or anything that includes peat moss or too much organic material, as this material can float in the water.
- When it comes to the ideal water conditions, you should ensure a balance between plants and the pond’s surface area. It is recommended for the plants cover about 65% of the surface area. You should also consider the depth of the pots containing new plantings. Initially, place the containers just below the surface and only gradually lower them as the plant grows.
- Lotus plants are hardy and go dormant in cooler weather. If your water garden doesn’t freeze solid, your plants will go dormant and be just fine where they are in your pond. To bloom, Lotus plants prefer an average daytime temperature of 73-81 °F (23-27 °C).
- Some common pests you may encounter in your journey of growing Lotus plants include sap-sucking pests like spider mites, leaf-eating pests such as leafrollers, and stem and root pests such as caddisfly larvae. Lotus plants are also susceptible to certain fungal diseases, including Pythium, Fusarium, and Verticillium fungal infections.
- Ideal companion plants for lotuses include water lilies, water poppies, canna lilies, pickerelweed, and other aquatic marginal plants that occur naturally near ponds such as water chestnuts and soft rush.
Lotus Features: An Overview
- Lotus plants are half-hardy perennial water plants that can grow up to 3 to 6 feet (90-180 cm) tall and 3 to 4 feet (90-120 cm) wide.
- Lotus plants feature large circular light-green leaves with very strong water repellent properties, which helps them float. In fact, the tissue that lotus leaves are made of has air pockets that increase buoyancy.
- Although most lotus leaves will float on the surface of the water, it is normal for some to remain submerged. So don’t be alarmed if you notice this.
- The leaves of lotus plants are paddle-shaped and quite large, reaching 50 cm (20 inches) in length.
- Lotus plants feature rhizomes that attach themselves to the ground and that are buried in the sandy floor of ponds or in mud.
- The two species of Lotus differ in bloom colours. More precisely, while American Lotus is yellow, the Indian Lotus has pink or white blooms.
- Lotus plants bloom from July to September, producing white, pink, or yellow flowers that resemble water-lilies. They also produce seeds in the seed head of the lotus blooms.
- The seed heads are quite unique-looking and if you’ve seen one, you might have wondered what it was and where it came from, as they look like rounded spouts of watering cans. In addition to that, lotus seeds are sometimes referred to as nuts and are edible.
- Lotus seeds can be used in soups, Chinese congee, and other dishes. In many Asian countries, you can find fresh lotus seeds on the market. Usually sold dried, lotus seeds are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Lotus seeds are commonly used to make lotus seed paste which is a very popular ingredient for Japanese desserts and Chinese pastries.
- Lotus seeds are not just popular in Asia, but also in South America, especially in northern Colombia, where locals refer to lotus seeds as ‘Martillo’. In cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla, you can find fresh lotus seeds in markets and on the streets as people enjoy eating them raw.
- The lotus blooms open up in the morning and close as the sun starts to set. Thanks to their ability to mark the beginning and the end of the day, in ancient Egypt, these beautiful flowers were regarded as symbols of the sun, rebirth, and creation.
- One of the biggest differences between Nelumbo plants and water lilies is the fact that lotus plants have their leaves and flowers emergent, rising above the water’s surface. In contrast, water lilies have their leaves and flowers float on the water’s surface.
- As mentioned above, Lotus plants have been used in dishes and alternative medicine solutions for a long time. So, these plants are safe for humans. Plus, Lotus plants are also known to be safe for pets as well. So, you don’t have to worry that your kids or pets will get hurt if they are curious to explore your pond.
Growing and caring for Lotus plants may not be an easy task for beginner gardeners. Yet, if you already have experience with caring for water plants, you shouldn’t find this task too difficult.
Generally, there are two things that you must get right to keep your Lotus plants happy and thriving: provide sufficient sunlight and a sufficient amount of clear water.
First of all, remember that Lotus plants are sun-loving and require as much light as possible to thrive. It would be best if you could make sure that your Lotus plants get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. Ideally, place your Lotus plants in areas of your pond where they get over 6 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Feeding is an essential factor in keeping your Lotus plants healthy and happy. We recommend using fertilizer tablets that you press into the soil around the plant. However, make sure not to fertilize directly into the water as this will affect the water’s pH and harm both your plants and fish. You should fertilize your Lotus plants as often as once a month during the growing season.
Pruning is minimal with Lotus plants. Generally, all you have to do is to get rid of the floating leaves that look unhealthy, especially those that show signs of a fungal problem, and cut down the plants above the rhizome after they die at the end of the year.
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- 30PCS Bonsai Lotus Seeds for Planting open-mouthed lotus seeds.
- As long as the water temperature is maintained at 16 °C,the bowl can be sown in all seasons.
- Soaking germination. Change the water 2-3 times a day.
- The suitable growth temperature is 20 ° C - 30 ° C, higher than 35 ° C or lower than 15 ° C, and the growth is stopped.
- Lotus like the sun, strong light is conducive to development, requiring 4-6 hours of light per day.
- ✅30 Pcs Bonsai Bowl Lotus Seeds, Water Lily Flower Plant Seeds. Great for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike.
- ✅Planting suggestions: Step 1: germination in a warm and humid environment(greenhouse); Step 2: transplant to sunny, moist and nutritious soil; Step 3: continuously water and fertilize, if necessary.
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- ✅Live aquatic hardy water lily, pre-grown, pre-rooted, hardy water lily for your pond or patio water garden. Water lily is a family of flowering plants. The blooms are held high above the water.
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Last update on 2023-08-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Planting is also a more complex task with Lotus plants than with other flowers you may have in your garden or home. You need to consider certain aspects as you plant Lotus to ensure that they will grow and prevent a spreading problem.
First of all, make sure to choose a sunny spot for your pond. As mentioned above, Lotus plants need a lot of sunlight daily. So, if you are just deciding on the pond’s location, remember that Lotus will thrive and bloom only in a full sun position.
When planting Lotus, you should remember to use soil specially prepared for pond plants. Do not use your garden soil, peat moss, or soil with too much organic material because those have elements that will float.
Next, you also need to use a water-tight container with no drainage holes. When it comes to lotus cultivation, the ideal containers should be round, with no drainage holes, and a diameter between 20 and 35 cm (8-14 inches). Why no drainage holes? To prevent the unwanted spread of the plants and to make harvesting easier. Lotus plants can spread quickly and easily using the drainage holes as the roots can escape through them. So, make sure that the containers you use have no drainage holes if you want to control the spread of your Lotus plants.
Square containers should be avoided because they can damage the tubers when they start to crowd in the corners. Another essential thing to consider is using large containers to allow the rhizome enough room to spread. It is preferable to choose a larger pot than a deeper one because the rhizomes creep across the soil’s surface.
When it comes to Lotus plants, you’re not actually watering them. However, there are a few unique water needs Lotus plants have that you should be aware of.
One important thing to know is that you shouldn’t crowd your pond with too many plants. The ideal balance is to cover about 65% of the surface area of your pond. With new plantings, make sure that you consider depth. More precisely, initially place the pots just below the surface and only gradually increase their depth as the plant grows.
Another essential aspect to consider is the water temperature. Lotus plants need the surface water to have an approximate temperature of at least 70 °F (21 °C) to start growing properly. We recommend checking your water temperature once in a while. If you live in an area with a cooler climate, you can use a heater for your pond to maintain this temperature and encourage your Lotus plants to grow.
If you want more lovely Lotus plants in your pond, we can’t blame you! Generally, Lotus plants are propagated vegetatively by dividing the underground stem or by seed.
If you want to propagate your Lotus plants using seeds, follow these steps. First, collect the seeds when they are fully dry, turning dark brown. Lotus seeds are known for their longevity. These seeds can be viable for hundreds and even thousands of years. Their longevity is owed to their hard shell and seed coat that, in order to germinate, require some intervention.
Before planting your lotus seeds, you’ll need to break their shell carefully with a knife without damaging the underlying flesh. Soak the seed in warm water non-chlorinated water until the seeds start to swell up, to sink, and you start to notice little shoots. This is when the seeds are ready for planting. If you notice that some of the seeds don’t swell up, check whether the coating has been effectively perforated. In perfect conditions, the germination process should take about four weeks.
Not sure what to do with the sprouted seeds? It’s easy. All you have to do is to plant them in individual containers that are approximately 4 inches wide. Add water that is between 21°C and 27°C (70-80°F) and no more than 5 cm (2 inches) deep. When the sprouts have five or six new leaves, you can transplant them into their permanent location, be it a pond or a permanent container.
When transplanting young lotus plants, make sure the crown is submerged in water that’s as deep as it was in the previous container. You can use gravel to hold the plants in place. Shallow ponds or pools that are optimal for lotus growth should be between 10 and 20 cm (4-8 inches) deep.
The best time to plant lotus seeds is in late Spring when the temperatures are consistently warm.
Lotus Pests and Diseases
As mentioned above, there are a few major pests that lotus plants are susceptible to such as sap-sucking pests, leaf-eating pests, and stem and root pests.
Sap-sucking pests consist of insects that feed on the sap of lotus plants, and aquatic plants are often attacked. For instance, several winged aphid species find the floating portions of lotus plants quite attractive. A major sign of aphid infestation in lotus plants consists of distorted leaves that curl, wilt, and turn yellow. Sap-sucking insects secrete honeydew, so another sign of an infestation is a sticky substance on the surface of the lotus leaves. This honeydew can also lead to the development of sooty mould, which causes the leaves to turn black. Other sap-sucking pests that enjoy munching on lotus leaves are whiteflies and spider mites.
Aquatic plants are also vulnerable to leaf-eating pests, and lotus plants make no exception. So, if you are growing lotuses, keep an eye out for leafrollers, water lily beetle larvae, and leaf miners.
Stem and root pests can also damage your water lotuses and, as you might have guessed, these pests will attack the roots and stems of your aquatic plants. Caddisfly larvae enjoy munching on the roots and stems of lotus plants, but they can also feed on the flower buds. Fungus gnats are also a common pest for lotuses and they are quite damaging as they can transmit fungal infections such as Fusarium, Pythium, and Verticillium. The first signs of infestation include wilted plants, discolouration, and a generally unhealthy appearance.
While it is true that Lotuses are susceptible to an impressive number of pests and diseases, this shouldn’t prevent you from growing them. All pests and diseases can be prevented and treated without too much effort. In most situations, sucking pests can easily be knocked off the leaves and blooms with a strong spray of water. In doing so, you will also clean the sticky substance that they secrete.
Using chemical insecticides can damage your lotus plants and the whole ecosystem, so it’s best to stick to natural insecticide products such as diatomaceous earth. Many pests can be prevented by keeping a clean environment and removing all the floating debris and unhealthy looking plants.
Growing Lotus plants can be an extremely rewarding task that will benefit your water garden and your outdoors’s overall look. Although they require more attention than other pond plants, Lotus plants are fantastic jewels to have in your garden. They are non-toxic and even edible, so you can grow them without worries.
Keep in mind that the most critical requirements these plants have to thrive include plenty of sunlight and clean water to grow in.
Are you growing lotuses? Share your experience in the comment section!