How Do Lotus Flowers Grow?

Lotus flowers are among the world’s most beautiful flowers. They thrive in a range of environments, even cold regions, but you’ll need to winterize them.

The Lotus flower develops from a little white flower into a big, multicolored bloom.

It typically grows in stagnant, murky, and muddy water and has deep roots in the mud below.

The long stems rise through the water while the leaves rest directly on or above the surface of the water.

The flowers are obviously the main attraction and bloom above the leaves.

In this article, you will learn how do lotus flowers grow in water, why they are coveted as symbols of peace, and how they add beauty to ponds and other water gardens.


For more ideas on what flowers to plant in your garden, head back to our main flowers and perennials page.


What is a Lotus Plant?

There are two types of Lotus plants: Nelumbo lutea and Nelumbo nucifera.

Nelumbo lutea is a perennial, but the tropical Nelumbo nucifera lotus flower is the more commonly known of the two, as it’s also known as the sacred lotus.

The main difference between them is that the perennial Nelumbo lutea goes dormant during the winter but stays alive, while the tropical Nelumbo nucifera grows all year round. 

What-Is-A-Lotus-Plant

A lotus plant is an aquatic-based plant that grows from rhizomes in the mud and sprouts long stems to hold their circular leaves.

On top of the leaves, the famous fragrant flowers grow above the muddy water.

The Nelumbo lutea, or perennial lotus plant, has a pale creamy white or yellow flower.

Whereas, Nelumbo nucifera usually blooms with flowers that are white, yellow, pink, red, or sometimes a mix of white with pink highlights. 

What is so special about the lotus flower?

The lotus flower is so beloved in the East that India and Vietnam are honored to call it their national flower. 

The lotus is an ancient flower and occurs in the roots of various religions worldwide. It is considered a sacred flower by some.

It is often associated with rebirth, longevity, and purity due to its adaptability to its environment and tendency to produce unblemished blooms in even the dirtiest of ponds.

It can self-regulate its temperature, reduce pollutants in the air and water, be an oxygenator, and remove heavy metals from the water it grows in.

Every part of the plant, including the lotus leaves and nuts, is nutritious and is an important food source in many cultures.

What-Is-So-Special-About-The-Lotus-Flower

In fact, some believe that lotus seeds and leaves improve both your physical and mental health. [1]

It is frequently used in traditional medicine practices and has ongoing research for its modern medicine properties. [2]

In Chinese culture, lotus flowers are eaten. The root of the plant is commonly chopped into slices and cooked, steamed, or deep-fried.

They can also be pickled, eaten raw, dried, or ground into flour. The edible parts of the lotus plant include the roots, shoots, leaves, and flower buds. [3]

Further, lotus flowers have been repeatedly used in art in many cultures, such as ancient Egypt and South and Far East Asia.

How Often Do Lotus Flowers Bloom?

Lotus flowers open during the day and close again at night, molting their petals after 3 or 4 days of blooming.

When growing lotus flowers, they will produce flowers in mass, and create a colorful and rewarding garden display all season long.

The downside is that the bloom is short-lived.

When do lotus flowers bloom?

They will continuously produce new blooms from mid-summer through to late autumn. They stop flowering as they prepare for dormancy during the winter.

Where do Lotus plants grow?

Where-Do-Lotus-Plants-Grow

The tropical lotus, also called the Indian Lotus, Pink Lotus, or Sacred Lotus, is native throughout India, East Asia, Russia, and Australia.

The perennial lotus, also called the American or Yellow Lotus, is native to North America.

Both types have existed for thousands of years, and although they have a wide native distribution to begin with, nowadays one can find them growing all over the world due to human translocation.

Both varieties are prized as pond plants. As aquatic plants, they are often planted in conjunction with other plants, such as water lilies, to create a floral and fragrant water garden.

If you don’t want lotus plants to take over, you should sink their original container into the pond or keep it elevated above the rest of the pond plants, as creeping lotus tubers tend to spread out quickly.

How to grow Lotus plants?

How-To-Grow-Lotus-Plants

There is no one answer to the question of how to grow lotus flowers. It depends on the climate, the type of lotus, and even the size of the pond.

In general, however, it is necessary to provide a lot of mud for the plants to grow in and to ensure that there is enough water for them to bloom.

How long does it take a lotus flower to grow?

The young leaves that float on the water’s surface will take 2–3 weeks to fully form. The aerial leafstalks that hold their leaves in the air will follow these.

One should only start to fertilize after they produce leaves above the water’s surface.

Aquatic fertilizer pellets, which can be pressed into the soil of your container or pond, are recommended, but you could also use a water-soluble plant fertilizer. 

The flowers will only start to produce after about 4 weeks of consistently warm summer temperatures of 80 degrees or above.

It is unlikely they will bloom in their first season unless conditions have been perfect for them, but they should start steadily producing an abundance of flowers in their second season. 

How does a lotus flower reproduce?

How-Does-A-Lotus-Flower-Reproduce

Lotus flowers can produce seeds from either cross-pollination or self-pollination.

Its flowers are bisexual, or in other words, contain both the female and male parts needed for pollination. 

Their pollen primarily attracts beetles, which transport pollen to various parts of the flower and neighboring flowers.

The flower heads then form extremely hardy, brown, spherical seeds about 0.4 inches in breadth.

How to grow Lotus flowers from tubers?

Place tubers in 3-4 inches of garden soil in a container without drainage holes and gently fill with water. The topsoil mixture should consist of clay or river sand.

Do not use potting soil because it has a high amount of organic matter that will float to the surface. Dense soil is needed to anchor the tuber in the mud. 

Be sure to bury the bottom inch of the tuber, from which the lotus roots emerge, in the soil only, not the entire tuber, or else it will rot.

The growing tips should be submerged in water but above the soil surface and pointing upwards. 

How to grow lotus from seed?

Seeds over 1300 years old have been successfully germinated and grown. The tough outer layer protects the lotus seed and stops it from drying out.

One must first carefully crack or scarify (sand or file) the outer layer away to allow moisture inside the seed to initiate germination.

Be careful to remove only the dark brown outer layer, down to the light brown of the seed shell, so as not to damage the cotyledon inside. 

Once the seeds have been prepared, place them in a cup with warm water temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour off the excess water and replace it with fresh water daily until the seeds begin germination. 

Move the sprouted seeds to a large container about 5–10 inches deep with a thin 2-inch layer of topsoil and enough water to fill the container, where they can continue growing.

It is best to start the germination process in early spring for the plant to have plenty of time to grow and store resources before winter dormancy.

How to Winterize Lotus Plants

How-To-Winterize-Lotus-Plants.jpgHow-To-Winterize-Lotus-Plants

Although lotus plants prefer temperate climates, the perennial lotus is cold hardy, and can be overwintered in their original pots or ponds, providing the lotus roots are not in any danger of freezing. 

So if you are living in USDA hardiness zone 5 or lower, you may want to drop the lotus container into a deeper pond, well below the ice line, and move it into shallow water again in spring.

Alternatively, you can remove the lotus container to a covered frost-free location like the garage for the winter.

Lotus plants growing in deeper, open ponds will survive without any added measures. 

For USDA hardiness zones 8 and higher, containers can be left exactly where they are for winter.

Once the leaves have turned brown for the winter, you may cut them off and remove them to preserve the quality of the water.

However, make sure to cut them above the water line and not while they are still green.

This is to prevent water from flowing down their hollow stems to the tuber and causing it to rot. 

If you are in USDA hardiness zones 6 and 7, your plants may very well survive the winter cold just fine left as is, but our advice is to follow the age-old counsel of “better safe than sorry” and ensure your plant’s health by adding a cover of mulch to prevent freezing in over-ground pots. 

How much sunlight does a lotus need?

Lotus prefer direct sunlight and need at least 6 hours in a sunny spot per day.

In extremely hot, desert climates, it is best to provide an overhead shade cloth for the midday heat.

Plants that receive less than 5 hours of sunlight a day can often survive but will struggle to produce the outstanding flowers that they are prized for.

FAQ

How long does it take a lotus flower to grow?

Lotus flower plants take around two years to grow from seed to bloom. However, tubers produce blooming plants in the first year. To speed up the process, instead of putting the tuber directly into the bottom of the pond or water garden, place the lotus plant tuber in a container before placing it in the water.

Why does the lotus flower close at night?

The lotus flower’s petals close at night to regulate the plant’s internal water circulation, so it is not less susceptible to weather. For instance, during the cold season, lotus flowers will not bloom due to the cold weather.

Is a lotus grown in water or in the mud?

A lotus will sprout roots that are firmly embedded in the mud, and it will produce long stalks to which its leaves are attached. The leaves sometimes rise above the surface of the water, but the lotus flowers will always be visible above the water surface.

Does lotus grow in water?

Yes, lotus will grow in water. Taller lotus variants may grow in water up to 18 inches deep, whilst dwarf varieties thrive in water between 4 and 12 inches deep. The lotuses can remain in the pond over the winter so long as the tubers are protected from ice.

Do lotus flowers grow on land?

Yes, lotus plants can grow out of water. Most people think they only grow in water, but you can grow a lotus in a flower bed or on your patio or deck! Growing lotus flowers do not require water, a pond, or running water to thrive.

Conclusion

The lotus flower is a lovely and distinctive flower with a variety of meanings. It can be seen as a sign of purity, illumination, and new beginnings.

The lotus blossom is a terrific alternative if you’re searching for a unique and meaningful present for someone special.

The lotus flower is a great aquatic plant and a beautiful addition to any garden. It brings a little peace and serenity to all who see it.

If you’re looking for a tranquil, stress-free oasis in your backyard, be sure to include a few lotus flowers in your water garden!

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