Considered stately and serene, a floating lotus (Nelumbo spp.) is an alternative to the standard houseplant. The flowering water plant can thrive indoors when grown properly in a container large enough to house its roots and provide the necessary water depth. Dwarf lotus varieties are suited better than larger varieties to being grown in a container. The dwarf varieties include “Momo Botan” sacred lotus (Nelumbo “Momo Botan”), which is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 10.
Fill a non-draining, plastic container with a 2-inch-deep layer of clay soil. The container should be 12 inches in diameter and 8 to 10 inches deep.
Set a lotus plant’s rhizomes in the container’s clay soil, with the rhizomes’ shoots facing upward. Rhizomes are similar to bulbs. Cover the rhizomes with additional clay soil, but keep the tips of the shoots just above the soil surface.
Cover the top of the soil with a 1/2-inch-deep layer of pea gravel. The gravel anchors the soil so it doesn’t muddy the water that will be in the container.
Fill the container to within 1 inch of its rim with water. Set the container in front of a sunny window where it will receive about eight hours of direct sunlight daily.
Push one 10-26-10 aquatic plant fertilizer tablet into the lotus’ soil once each month during spring and summer, or fertilize the plant as directed on your aquatic plant fertilizer’s package. Fertilizer dosages vary among brands. Generally, one tablet is used for every 1 gallon of pot size, and so a plant in a small container may require only ½ tablet at each fertilizer application.
Monitor the water level in the container, and add water if the level drops. Replace the water with fresh water if it begins to have an odor or becomes badly discolored.
Pinch off the plant’s old flowers after they fade, or leave them on the plant so they dry. Dried lotus seedpods can be used in dried flower arrangements. An indoor lotus may not go dormant for winter. If yours does, remove its stems and leaves after they turn brown naturally. Lotus resumes growth in full sun when the temperature is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do you recognize it? It is the traditional flower found on Japanese ponds. In fact, the lotus flower is native to Asia, where it grows in swamps, lakes, ponds and lagoons. A spring aquatic flower you can enjoy until the last days of summer. Do you want to decorate your home with some of the most elegant and special flowers provided by Mother Nature? If you need help on how to care for these beautiful flowers, pay attention to the tips provided in this article. Here at OneHowTo, we’ll explain how to care for a lotus flower.
The lotus flower is aquatic, as well as a flower for spring and summer. Therefore, in order to take care of a lotus plant, you must take the weather into account: it is moderately resistant to low temperatures. This means that it grows a lot in summer and dries up during the winter months. Another factor to keep in mind is pest infestation – lotus flowers tend to be attacked by snails.
So now that we have gone over all of these details, the time has come to plant a lotus flower. The first step is to scar the seeds. File down the pointed tip of the seeds using an ordinary metal file.
To grow lotus flowers place the seeds in a glass of warm water without chlorine. Change this water every day until the seeds germinate. Don’t forget! If you’ve done this well, after the first day in water, your seeds will have grown almost twice their original size. Also remember to change the water, even after your seeds have germinated.
When your lotus flower is about 15 centimeters long you should move it to another container. The process is much easier than you think. Choose a suitable container with a capacity of about 18 liters, where your plant has enough space to grow. Another important tip for growing lotus flowers is to use a black bucket to retain heat.
Fill your container with dense soil, about 15 centimeters deep. Gently press the seeds and cover with a light layer of soil. Finally, place your pot in r your pot in a pool of shallow water of about 45 centimeters and at a temperature of about 21º C (69.8ºF) . These are the perfect conditions for growing lotus flowers.
Make sure you cut off any yellow leaves that may appear during autumn so that the plant survives the winter.
If you want them to grow outdoors in a pond, make sure that your pond is under your local area’s freeze line so they can survive winter and avoid them freezing.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Care for a Lotus Flower, we recommend you visit our Gardening & plants category.
The lotus flower is a gorgeous plant that holds tremendous meaning in the eyes of Buddhists. The blossom represents purity of the body, mind and speech. It grows with the flower floating atop the water while its stem and roots reach down into the muddy ground underneath – much like the human attachment to feelings of desire. The following steps will guide you through the process of growing a lotus flower at home.
Step 1: Prepare the Lotus Seeds
Lotus seeds are large, brown and are harvested from within seed cones. You can gather seeds directly from the cone to plant. Keep in mind that the seeds should be taken as soon as the cone has dried otherwise they may be shaken out by the wind.
Using a metal file or similar tool, carefully grind down the pointed end of the seed. This is necessary to ensure that the flower will sprout instead of rotting.
Step 2: Soak the Lotus Seeds
Next, you will need a glass or container of warm, non-chlorinated water. Drop the seeds inside and allow them to begin soaking. If you notice any seeds floating on the surface, remove them. This is usually a sign that the seeds are infertile. Those that sink to the bottom should be kept.
If you want to make sure the floating seeds are infertile before discarding them, try filing the tip down further until you see the white interior. Then allow the seed to soak again. If it does not swell like the other seeds, then it is infertile. Infertile seeds should be removed to keep the water as clean and cloud-free as possible.
Step 3: Change Out Water & Monitor Lotus Growth
The water inside the container should be changed out every day. Continue doing this until the lotus seeds begin to sprout, usually after approximately 4 to 5 days. Keep in mind that the lotus sprouts should be handled with care because they are very delicate at this stage. Even if you see growth after 4 to 5 days, the seeds should continue to soak for a few additional days until they measure about 6 inches long.
Step 4: Plant Your Lotus Seeds
Choose a 3 to 5 gallon container to begin growing your lotus flowers in. Black plastic is often recommended because it holds heat better. The container should not have holes for draining because the seeds can get caught in the openings and not reach their fullest potential.
Fill your container with about 6 inches of soil. A mixture of 2 parts clay to 1 part river sand is recommended. Once your pot is prepared, carefully wrap a small amount of modeling clay around the shell of each seed to serve as an anchor. Do not apply clay to the sprout.
Press the seeds into the soil. They should be covered with a thin layer of soil but the sprout should remain uncovered. Once done, carefully lower your pot into a shallow body of water. This should be no deeper than 18 inches and at a temperature of about 70 degrees F. Now you can sit back and wait for your beautiful lotus flowers to blossom!
Lotus flowers are one of the most prominent tokens in Eastern cultures. In Hinduism and Buddhism, they’re considered the most sacred flower. Hieroglyphics from Ancient Egypt show this delicate flower alongside priests and pharaohs. Statues of Buddhist monks often include a lotus flower. Vietnamese and Indian people often associate the flower with gods and goddesses.
What is it about the lotus flower that has pushed it into legends for centuries? Beyond its beauty, it is the mystery that enshrouds the flower. The question surrounds its survival.
To understand, we must first explore the details of the lotus flower. We’ll delve into its history, properties, and symbolic meaning.
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Lotus Flower History
A cause for much of the mystery surrounding lotus flowers is that they are living fossils. Their existence stretches back some 145.5 million years. Lotus flowers even survived the Ice Age (1.8 million – 10,000 years ago). The Ice Age was a time of great geological and ecological change. Most plants in the northern hemisphere became extinct during this era.
This hardy flower also grows naturally from Russia to Australia, China to Iran. It seems they can survive the extremes of any climate.
These facts have contributed to lotus symbolism in cultures and religions throughout time. Yet, their contribution is minor compared to how the lotus flowers grow.
How Does the Lotus Flower Grow?
The durability of the lotus flower is a major contributor to its association with the gods. However, they can die, and sometimes do in natural disasters. The catastrophic flooding of the Yangtze River in 1954 killed all the lotuses in the area. Three years later, the water had finally receded.
Once normal water levels returned, the flowers began to grow again in the shallow part of the lake. The floods tore their root system, but their seeds survived. The seeds scattered around the lake, restoring its abundance of lotus flowers. Interestingly, even if lotuses hadn’t returned, they could come back centuries later. Their seeds can survive for thousands of years without water.
Lotus flowers appear most prominently in wetlands and usually grow in mud. But they are also very adaptive to their local environments. They can survive under ice as long as their roots remain in water or mud. On the other extreme, they can tolerate scorching sun and often bloom when others can’t tolerate the heat. They like clay loams, though they can survive in different types of soil across a variety of regions.
Lotus flowers are also known to be resistant to pollution, and can even purify the water they grow in. In other words, they don’t mind an acidic or dirty environment. Each night they submerge into murky river water. Each morning they rebloom without residue from their environment.
Lotus flower symbolism in legends and religions comes from the above, and it’s clear to see why. They have unparalleled resilience and ability to survive. But is that all that the lotus represents?
What Does a Lotus Flower Symbolize?
The lotus has a unique daily life cycle of life, death, and rebirth. This has led to the phrase, “lotus flower of life”. That is why it’s meaning is often “rebirth”, and why the flower is frequently tied to spirituality.
The white lotus plant is a symbol for purity, grace, and beauty. It can also mean majesty, fertility, wealth, serenity, knowledge, and faith within ourselves. A yellow lotus meaning means spiritual ascension. A Pink lotus symbolizes the essence of Buddha. A red lotus represents love and compassion.
As you can imagine, a flower with such spiritual symbolism has many uses, and not just in legends and statues.
How is The Lotus Flower Used Today
Due to its symbolism, the lotus flower has a variety of uses. In fact, the lotus flower is a common sight across many Eastern cultures. It’s used in food, medicine, art, and so much more.
The most common use for a lotus is ornamental. However, the roots are sweet and fragrant as well as rich in starch and vitamins. You can eat them raw, cooked into soups, brewed into teas, blended into salads, dried, preserved, and even powdered. Other parts of the lotus plant are also edible.
Petals of the lotus are often used to create unique flavors for meat and congee (an Asian rice porridge). The lotus leaves and nuts are often used for weight loss and blood pressure tea, as well as other medicines.
Other uses for lotus flower roots, petals, nuts, and seeds include:
- Environmentally friendly packaging material
- Raw material for textiles
With all its uses, the lotus isn’t seen too frequently in the western world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow it.
Growing Lotus Flowers
There are nearly 300 root lotuses, around 50 see lotuses, and about 1,000 flower lotuses. With that in mind, there are many types of lotus flowers that you can grow in your own garden. They are ideal for wetland areas, and thrive better in places with a lot of sunlight. Lotuses also enjoy more tropical weather. Some varieties are hardier and tolerate northern environments well.
To simplify, we sort lotus flowers by their patterns. Categories include few petals, semi-double petal, double petal, heavy petal, and multiple petal. They’re also arranged by color: pink, red, white, and yellow.
How To Grow a Lotus Plant
As you’ve read, lotus flowers are very resilient. They will grow in most soils and in most environments, so long as they have mud or water, and as long as they can float. In fact, they contain little air spaces in their leaves to ensure buoyancy, and long stems to tie them to the mud.
- Place seeds in a warm glass of water. (Throw them away if they do not float, as they are likely not fertile.)
- Change the water every day.
- Once lotus roots emerge, put them in 4-inch pots with loam (one seed per pot).
- Cover the root with soil or gravel. If leaves have already started to grow before potting, make sure you only cover the root.
- Give it as much light as possible until garden water is approximately 60 degrees.
- Switch lotus to larger containers that don’t have any drainage holes.
- Fertilize sparingly for the first year. They will likely not bloom in the first year, so don’t worry if you do not see them turn up.
- They can winter over in a pond if the depth is below the freeze line. Or, you can lift the tubers and store them in a frost-free location.
Lotus are unique and beautiful flowers. They have a strong will to survive and an incredible daily life cycle. This gives the lotus special meaning across the globe. In fact, we might even wager that they’ll be here long after we are gone. Learn more about colorful flowers and their meanings at Flower Glossary.
Gardeners who don’t know about the lotus vine flower (Lotus berthelotii) are in for a pleasant surprise. Lotus vine plant’s bright sunset hues and amazing bloom form perform standout roles in the summer garden.
What is a Lotus Vine?
Also known as parrot’s beak, this lovely little plant is an excellent summer container filler and adaptive as a trailing or border plant. It may be used as a summer annual in the warmer regions of the United States. Summer containers are a wonderful way to capture the season and brighten patios, decks and lanais. Some of the standby plants (such as petunias, violas, zinnia and snapdragons) have their own appeal and combine with foliage plants and trailing specimens for absolutely beautiful displays.
Gardeners with moxie like to tuck in a unique and surprising plant for a stunning bombshell in the midst of more standard summertime beauty. This is what the lotus vine plant was created for – to shock and amaze, and add that little something special to any container garden. Imagine shocking oranges and brilliant red hues, edged by golden and green accents. Picture 1-inch (2.5 cm.) long, tapered petals with a prominent beak, surrounded by grayish green, slightly fuzzy foliage. This is the lotus vine.
What is the lotus vine? It is a tender tropical plant from the Canary and Cape Verde Islands and Tenerife. It is only hardy in USDA zones 10 to 12 but makes an excellent summer container annual. The plant tends to trail and individual tendrils may get up to a foot (30.48 cm.) or more long. The flowers arrive in the cooler seasons of spring and early summer and most plants go dormant when temperatures begin to soar. Plants grown outside in lower USDA zones will succumb when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 C).
Growing a Lotus Vine
You can find this plant in early summer in many garden centers or nurseries. If you have a friend with one, you can also try growing a lotus vine through stem cuttings.
Seeds are started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the expected date of transplant, but will need another year before they can start forming flowers. Save plants in a greenhouse or move them indoors where temperatures do not get below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 C).
Lotus Vine Care
There are few pest or disease issues with this plant. Spider mites, mealybugs and aphids are characteristic pests but can usually be handled with an application of horticultural oil.
The most important considerations are soil, moisture and site. The best soil is a well-draining garden or potting soil. Add some sand to a potting soil to increase grittiness and drainage.
The plant does not like to be completely dry but care should also be taken not to water too much. Water deeply and then allow the top surface of the soil to dry out to the touch before applying anew. Do not let the plant’s roots stand in a saucer of water.
A Lotus seems to be the plant that every water garden owner yearns for. They tend to be sun loving, dramatic plants that can be the exotic centerpiece of your water garden.
The species known as Nelumbo nucifer (AKA the “sacred lotus”) is native to The Philippines, Egypt, Australia, and the Orient. The Nelumbo lutea is a Native American Species. Both have many different varieties with varying sizes, colors, and bloom sizes.
They are a perennial plant that needs a sunny warm home. Lotuses like 5 to 6 hours of sunlight a day and a water temperature of between 75 to 87 degrees.
Most likely you will receive your lotus as a tuber. The tuber needs to be handled carefully. The tips of the tuber (or eyes) are where the leaves will grow. If the tips are broken off, there is a good chance that the tuber will not grow (sometimes they do grow another tip).
The tuber needs to be kept warm, about 75 degrees.
You will need to pick a pot to plant your tuber in and keep in mind that a lotus will grow to the size of the pot. Choose a deeper pot so that they are less likely to jump over the side and grow where you don’t want them.
This is how I like to plant my lotus:
- Put a couple inches of sand in the bottom of your pot. Add a couple inches of top soil. The depth depends on the size of your pot. Do not use potting soil . The light weight potting soil will float out of your container. The best is soil with clay in it.
- Make a slight indentation for your tuber. Lay your tuber roots down and growing tips up. The roots will expand as it takes root, pulling the tuber into place.
- Lightly cover the tuber with more soil. Do not push down on the dirt, like you do with other planting. You might break the eyes off.
- Slowly add water, not too much, you want wet mud. No standing water on top of the mud.
- Keep the planted tuber warm. If your house is too cool, a trick is to set the pot on a heating pad set on low.
- Sunlight is not important until leaves appear. When you spot the leaves lying flat on the dirt then make sure the pot is getting all the sunlight possible. (8 plus hours per day)
- As the leaves start to grow, a few inches of water can be added.
When you are ready to move your lotus outside to your pond, the first thing is to make sure that your water temperature is at least 70 degrees. Add more sand around the lotus, making sure the soil is covered before you submerge your pot into your pond. Some people like to use gravel. Others use kitty litter, but with all the additives, I don’t like to do that.
Your planted lotus should be located in a sunny spot in your pond, in relatively still water. Your container should be 6 to 12 inches below the surface of the water.
Lotuses don’t start blooming as early in the season as water lilies. A lotus needs several weeks of hot weather to start blooming. Sometimes they won’t bloom until their second summer.
PLEASE NOTE: Only 2 species (Lutea or Nucifera) are true to name when grown from seed.
- Species lotus and unnamed hybrids are the only Lotus that should be considered when growing from seed.
- No hybrid lotus is true genetically by seed, which is why you see them sold as tubers, (vegetative reproductions) NOT SEEDS!
- A Hybrid will have a name, like ‘Decorated Lantern’ or ‘Princess Kennedy’. None of the lotus with names will be a perfect genetic representation of itself by seed and therefore should not be sold as a seed.
Start Your Sacred Pond Lotus in May
We have found that May is the best month for beginning lotus from seed in the Northern hemisphere. (That is coming from hybridizer, Perry Slocum, and we agree). Start your lotus seeds in the first or second week of May. If you start your lotus in May, it will have plenty of time to mature and it will be able to survive the winter. (If the weather is too cold outside in May, you may start your lotus indoors for a very brief period.)
When you are able to take your lotus outdoors, make sure it is in full sun. Hybridized lotus seeds are not an identical copy of the parent hybrid, only lotus tubers are the exact same parent hybrid. We can not guarantee lotus seed to be specific hybrid specimens. When you plant a lotus from seed, the first thing you will notice is the extremely hard covering the seed has.
You must scarify the seed as it cannot reproduce without being scarified. Hold the lotus seed with a pair of pliers and use a metal file to scratch off the hard, brown coating. Once you have filed away the hard, brown coat, you will notice a cream colored coating. It is important not to file away the cream colored coating as you will damage the pulp underneath. Should you file down to the pulp, the seed will not germinate, it will rot.
The next step to growing lotus from seed is to drop the seed in a bowl of water. If the water should get cloudy, gently pour out the old water and add fresh water. DO NOT fertilize your lotus seed. Your lotus is being nourished from the pulp inside the seed. If you fertilize the seed, it will rot. Once germination begins, the seed will send out a long shoot, this shoot will form a coin leaf. At this point you can gently move the seed with the shoot to your growing pot with a few inches of part loam/part clay soil, (NOT POTTING SOIL) and a few inches of water above the soil. You can allow the seed to float as it will eventually drop down and form roots in the soil OR you can gently tuck the seed in the soil taking care not to break the shoot with the coin leaf/leaves attached.
Once rooted, your coin leaves will turn into aerial leaves growing out of the water, at this point you may begin to fertilize every three weeks during the growing/blooming season.
A fun fact about lotus seeds is that they can be viable for centuries!
PLEASE NOTE: Although you will be sprouting your seeds indoors, outdoor temperatures should be consistently warm before placing your seedlings outdoors in their sunny locations.
Lotus should be started from seed in the Southern USA (Florida) between April 15th and June 1st.
In central and Northern USA, do not start lotus from seed until early May–and be sure to do it by mid-June. Starting earlier indoors, it will likely perish before it is safe to take outdoors in its final pot. Starting later than mid-June and they won’t have time to create tubers before winter.
Here is a more in depth Video from our Lotus Expert, grower, hybridizer, and wonderful friend Laura Bancroft.
DO NOT FERTILIZE your lotus with only coin leaves. You must wait until you have several aerial leaves growing out of the water before you can begin to fertilize.
The Lotus flower is incredibly beautiful and native to Asia and Australia. In fact, it is India’s national flower! The great thing about the lotus flower is that it’s easy to grow at home and doesn’t require as much care as you’d think.
Lotus belongs to the Nelumbonaceae family and is one of the most popular aquatic flowering plants.
This blog post will act as your guide to lotus flower care and info as we’ll go over everything you need to know about growing the lotus flower in your own home.
Read on to know more!
A Quick Lesson About the Lotus Flower
The Lotus flower finds its origins in the Indian subcontinent and is known as Nelumbo nucifera to the scientific community. The dwarf variants of the plant are 8-12 inches while the regular variants grow up to be as big as 6 feet!
The flowers can be pink, white, purple, blue, and red. The plant requires moderate sunlight and thrives in temperatures between 70-90F.
How Can I Plant the Lotus Flower at Home!
As we mentioned earlier in this blog post, the Lotus plant isn’t too complicated to grow. The flowers come in various colors and sizes and you can grow them easily from tubers and seeds.
But, keep in mind that the plant won’t flower during its first year.
- Choose the right pot for the plant
Choosing the right pot for the lotus plant is critical. You need a pot that’s at least six inches in depth and width. Some people prefer using a bucket to plant it.
The pot shouldn’t have drainage holes since the lotus is an aquatic plant that needs plenty of water.
- The right soil makes all the difference
You can use a combination of two parts clay and one part sand for the soil and then add a layer of potting mixed soil to plant the seedlings and cover them with some more soil.
- All about watering the plant
Lotus plants do well in shallow water, so the water levels of the pot shouldn’t fall below 20cms at any given time. The plant grows very well at 70F and will begin to flower when the temperature rises to 80F.
Lotus plants need at least 6 hours of sun to thrive.
- Using Fertilizers
You’ll need to use aquatic plant fertilizers for the Lotus flower and it’s best to consult an expert on it to figure out what’s best.
To Sum It Up: Your Guide to Lotus Flower Care and Info
Did we go over everything you needed to know to grow and care for a Lotus plant?
The lotus plant is easy to grow and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. However, since it is native to a subtropical region, it does need 70-80F to thrive and grow properly.