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Growing Lotus

What you need to know about growing lotuses in 6 minutes!


Lotus Planting Preparation:

Soil: Garden Soil - topsoil with little or no organic matter.
OR 60-80% clay and 20-40% play sand. 

The widest container you can afford, be sure to check what the minimum width is considering the size lotus you choose. The larger (wider) the more flowers you should have. 

The Lotus Tuber: Not Bruised, multiple growing tips. Plant after cool nights have passed. Keep in refrigerator crisper protected until then. 


From Bill Bancroft, Laura Bancroft, and Dr. Ken Tilt
*How to plant Lotus
Put several inches of good topsoil – just plain dirt - into the pot.
This topsoil can be purchased in bags at a garden center or dug from your pond bottom or yard.
Do not use potting soil; it is too light and will float and foam when water is added and the lotus rhizomes tend to float when planted in it.
Add enough water to raise the water level to about 2-3” above the soil.
Place the tuber into the mud with the growing tips pointed up.
Chinese growers leave the 'tail', the cut end, of the lotus root above water for a few days.
     Try not to cover the growing tips completely with soil. In a few days the true roots, small hair-like projections, will grow and anchor the tuber into the soil. Place the pot in a warm, sunny area. Be sure to replace the water as it evaporates. The growing tips will soon give way to the first small leaves, called coin leaves. These leaves will float on the surface of the water as they begin the process of photosynthesis to help provide energy for the plant to grow. Within a few days the first aerial leaf will emerge from the water. At this time you can begin to raise the level of the water in the pot. When the weather outside has warmed up and chances of freezing have passed your lotus can be placed on your patio or put into your pond, preferably in full sun.    

       Remember to plant the smaller varieties of lotus in shallower water than large varieties. *Planting Lotus in Containers Any water-tight rounded container with no holes is acceptable for growing lotus. The size of the pot is determined by the type of lotus you are growing with larger varieties requiring larger pots. The mature size of a lotus will be affected by the size of the pot in which it grows. Using a bigger pot allows more room for rhizhome production, thus resulting in more and larger leaves and flowers.

       Larger pots will encourage the lotus to grow to the larger extreme for their variety. Planting the same lotus in a healthy pond environment will allow it to reach its full potential resulting in a plant much larger than if it had been planted in a small pot. Lotus classified as Exquisites of Bowl Lotus are prized for their ability to grow in the smallest pots, producing miniature lotus that can be brought inside easily for a day or two when they are in bloom.


Tea Cup or Exquisite of Bowl lotus: pot less than 11" in diameter
Small or Bowl lotus – pot 12-15" in diameter
Dwarf lotus – 16-20" in diameter
Medium lotus – 18-30" in diameter
Large lotus – 24-48" in diameter
*From Expert Growers Laura & Bill Bancroft

Both the two Lotus Species Nelumbo Nuceferia (Sacred Lotus) and Nelumbo Lutea (The American Yellow Lotus), as well as any unnamed hybrid can be grown from a seed. No named hybrid cultivars can be grown from seed as they are not genetically stable even if cross polinated within itself. 

To grow a lotus from seed you simple score the seed with a file just until you reach the outer edge of the inner white portion. Go no deeper. Next you soak the seed or seeds in water, changing it out daily to fresh water until it germinated. The best time of year seems to be the second or third week in May. Any sooner and they do not do well, any later and the plants may not have time to get large enough to tuber before fall. 

Place the germinated seedlings in a proper size container of soil with no fertilizer at all outside in the sun. Be sure like with a tuber the water does not foul and after a few weeks it should have a number of leaves and be self sustaining. 

The seedling may or may not flower the first year but from tubers you should absolutly have blooming lotus on the first year if you are sent healthy stock and you follow the directions we send you. 

Please be sure to contact us at the very earliest inclination if you ever feel there may be an issue and we would love to help. 

Photos by Zac deGarmeaux of Pond Megastore all rights reserved.