How do Lotus Flowers Grow?

The flower we commonly call the Lotus is also known as the Sacred Lotus and an Indian Lotus. It is the national flower of both India and Vietnam. Its scientific name is lotus nelumbo Nucifera.  Many eastern religions regard Lotus symbolism and consider it representative of purity, rebirth, self-regeneration, and enlightenment. It provides an interesting analogy for life. These beautiful flowers are grown in the dirtiest of waters. So, How do lotus flowers grow?

Lotus flowers are an aquatic plant that grows in muddy water. They grow from lotus seeds or from tubers. The hardy plant can be grown in any temperate climate given the right conditions. A backyard pond is ideal for growing this beautiful flower, but they also do well in an above-ground water garden, old wine barrels, or even old bathtubs. They can also be grown indoors if you have the right kind of container.

How often do lotus flowers bloom?

The lotus blooms later in the season than water lilies, which is typically from the summer to fall months. Lotus plants need several back-to-back weeks of warm, sunny weather to encourage them to bloom. Even though each flower only lasts a few days, each plant produces plenty of flowers. Generally, you’ll see the common pink or white flowers, but occasionally you’ll see a yellow lotus in your water garden.

How much sunlight will a lotus plant need?

To produce flowers, your lotus plant will need a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day. if your water garden or pond is in a shady location, you may need to trim overhanging branches back to allow for plenty of sunshine. If you are growing lotuses on a patio or deck make sure to place the container in a sunny spot.

Where do lotuses grow naturally?

The lotus grows naturally in many regions. They are native to Egypt, Australia, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. There are some that grow naturally in regions of the US. Perennial lotus plants grow in most regions that have warm summer temperatures. However, they do not do well in regions where temperatures fluctuate widely.

How to grow the Lotus

You can grow this beautiful flower from lotus seeds, or you can grow them from tubers. They can be grown indoors or out, as long as the container is large enough to house the lotus roots and provide an adequate water depth. There are some dwarf varieties that work well for growing in containers.

How to Plant Lotus Seeds

Lotus flower in the water

  1. Scrape the lotus seed using a metal file. You want to reveal the cream-colored core. Be careful to not file any of the core of the plant will not grow. 
  2.  Place the lotus seeds in a transparent container and fill the container with non-chlorinated water that is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The transparent container will allow you to see when the seed sprouts. The seeds should swell to about twice their size in a day or two. Seeds will sink to the bottom. Any lotus seeds that float, are infertile and should be removed. Change the water daily even after the seeds sprout.
  3. Place soil into a large container. A 3 to 5-gallon bucket should be adequate. The dirt needs to be about 6-inches deep. A dark bucket will help keep the seedlings warm. Use 2 parts clay and 1 part river sand. The container does not need any drainage holes.
  4. The lotus seeds should sprout after soaking for four to five days. Once the seedlings grow to 6-inches in length, remove them from the water and transfer them to the potting container. 
  5. The sprouted seeds should be placed about 4-inches apart in the soil. They do not have to be buried. Set them on top and brush soil over them lightly just to secure them. They will begin to root. Using a little clay to anchor each seed can be helpful and prevent the seed from floating to the water surface.
  6. Lotuses are aquatic plants so the soil should always have two to four inches of water above it. If the plant has large leaves and is taller, the water can be up to 18 inches deep. Dwarf lotus plants only need two to 12 inches of water. The water should be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When growing lotuses from seeds, please note that they rarely bloom the first year although you may notice plenty of lotus leaves. It will need time to acclimate to its environment.

Growing a Lotus Plant from a TuberPhoto of Lotus plant in tuber

  1. Lotus tubers are available in early spring. Later in the year, you may find them more difficult to find. 
  2. The water should be between 75 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the water in a bowl and place the tuber carefully on the water’s surface. Put the bowl of water close to a warm, sunny window. But keep it out of direct sunlight. If you plan to put the lotus in your pond later, use water from the pond if it’s warm enough. The water needs to be changed every three to seven days. Anytime it starts to appear cloudy, it needs to be changed.
  3. Choose a large round container between three and four feet in diameter. Lotus plants grow to fill the entire container where they are planted. The container controls the lotus plants to keep them from taking over the entire pond. Round containers help keep the plant from getting jammed up in a corner where it can be stunted.
  4. Fill the container with dense soil leaving between three to four inches at the top. A good soil mixture for lotuses is made from 60% clay and 40% river sand. 
  5. Gently press the tuber into the top of the soil. To keep the plant from floating, gently place some rocks on the tuber. This gives it time to take root. Don’t bury the tuber or it will rot.
  6. Lower the container so that it is between six and 12 inches below the pond’s surface. Make sure to put it in a sunny spot that is away from flowing water. Give it plenty of room to grow. 

Taking Care of Your Lotus Plants

Your lotus plant will need direct sunlight and a water temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to grow.  once it’s in the water, you should see some young leaves peeking above the water in just a few days. After the water reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant should start blooming in about three or four weeks. For your lotus plant to thrive, it needs full sun.  

 When the plant thrives, you may find it taking over your pond. You can cut away new growth to contain it. However, don’t cut flowers or stems below the water level. The roots and tubers both need the stems to receive oxygen.

In Conclusion

It will take a bit of work to grow lotus flowers, but it’s well worth it to enjoy their lasting beauty. You can choose to grow the lotuses from seeds or from tubers. Either way, it just takes a little bit of TLC and you can watch their beautiful blooms unfold. 

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