As long as you have everything you need to help your lotus thrive, these flowers – also known as water lilies – are easy to raise and maintain.
To grow them, you just need to perform stratification before planting, care for your seedlings in a warm environment, and transplant them once they’re 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) tall.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about growing your lotus from seed, including what you’ll need before you start and how to maintain your lotus once you transplant your seedlings.
Can I Grow Lotuses Where I Live?
Lotuses, also known as water lilies, are native to Asia and Australia and thrive in various climates.
In fact, they are culturally significant in many Asian cultures and are even the national flower of India.
They even occur in many instances of religious art, especially in Hindu and Buddhist cultures.
And being native to these various climates proves the hardiness of this aquatic flower.
As long as you have a muddy, watery home where it can grow – like a backyard pond or greenhouse – you can raise a lotus in most climates.
But, in North America, lotuses grow best in hardiness zones 5-10.
What Will I Need Before I Start?
You’ll need the following items before growing your lotus from seed:
- A warm, sunny location – lotuses need at least six hours of sunlight per day and temperatures between 75-87 degrees Fahrenheit (24-31 C)
- A large, deep pot without drainage – ideally 12 inches (31 cm) deep and 24 inches (61 cm) wide
- Lotus seeds – They will be about the size and shape of an acorn with a hard, dark protective layer
- Soil with high clay content – this will sink in water instead of floating to the surface like regular potting mixes
- A small cup
- A knife or file – for stratification
- Fertilizer for aquatic plants (optional)
Read Also >> How to Grow Crape Myrtles from Seed
3 Steps to Grow Lotus From Seed
Step One: Preparing the Seeds
Before the seeds can properly germinate, they must undergo a simple process known as stratification.
Stratification is when a person penetrates or cuts away the protective layer around the shell so that the seed can sprout.
This process isn’t necessary for freshly harvested seeds that have only been dormant for a season.
However, other seeds will need stratification to grow.
To stratify your lotus seeds, either file away the outer layer or use a sharp knife and cut the top quarter of the seed.
You should then see the cream-colored inner seed.
Once stratified, place the seeds in a large container filled with warm water.
The water will cause the seeds to swell about twice their size after approximately one day of soaking.
Next, move the container to a warm, sunny area.
Also, don’t forget to change the water daily, as bacteria growth can injure the delicate seedlings.
Then, from this point, the seeds should sprout in about one week.
Step Two: Caring for Your Seedlings
When sprout stems are 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) tall, you should transfer the seedlings to a shallower container.
To begin this step, place about 3-5 inches (8-13 cm) of clay-rich soil at the bottom of the shallow container and then 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of standard sand on top.
A good rule of thumb for the soil mixture is to have two parts soil and one part sand.
Next, after planting the sprouted seeds at least 4 inches (10 cm) apart, fill the container with warm water until the water level is about 1 inch (3 cm) above the top of the sandy layer.
You can also add a bit of modeling clay to anchor your sprouts and keep them from floating.
However, this step is not necessary.
You should then add more water at regular intervals as the seedlings grow.
Then, once the seedlings outgrow the container, place the container into a large aquatic environment, like a backyard pond (below or above ground) or a greenhouse.
But, when picking a spot, just remember that the water must be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 C).
So, if you live in a cooler climate, you should place your plant in shallower water to ensure the water warms up sufficiently in the sun.
Finally, remember that lotuses grown from seed don’t sprout during their first year.
Typically, you’ll see the first blooms in their second year of life.
Read Also >> How to Grow Houseplants from Seed
Step Three: Maintaining Your Lotus
If you live in the northern or midwestern United States, May is typically the earliest time you can plant your seedlings outside.
For those in the southern U.S., on the other hand, you can plant as early as April.
Also, don’t forget that lotuses are dormant in the winter.
Thus, if you live in an environment with winters cold enough to completely freeze the surface of your pond, bring your lotuses inside during the winter months if possible.
Because while lotuses usually come back during the spring after a hard winter, they grow back healthier when the pond’s surface doesn’t completely freeze.
Read Also >> How to Grow Yew from Seed
Generally, lotuses are rather easy to grow and pretty resilient, making them great for gardeners of all skill levels.
However, you just need to ensure they do not get too cold, or your lotuses may not reach their full potential.
To recap how to grow lotuses:
- Prepare the seeds through a process known as stratification
- Place the seeds in a large container filled with warm water
- Once the lotus has sprouted leaves, transplant into the soil
- Fill the vessel with 3-5 inches (8-13 cm) of soil, and fill with water until the water line is about 1 inch (3 cm) above the soil
- Place the seedlings in the soil
- Add more water as the lotus leaves grow
- Care for the plant as it blooms