Lotus Plants – Nelumbo nucifera
Lotus flowers and plants, or sacred lotus for garden ponds. Nelumbo nucifera is native to tropical areas of Australia and Asia. It known as the sacred lotus, and carries its flowers on long stalks above the water.
Nelumbo lutea is the American lotus.
Nelumbo nucifera is the national flower of both India and Vietnam. Lotus plants are available for sale online from specialist nurseries and can be grown in ponds, containers and the smaller varieties can also be grown in the tanks of a large water feature if required.
As well as being a beautiful water plant the Lotus Flower or Nelumbo nucifera is also important plant in a number of religions including Hinduism, Buddhism as well as in Egyptian culture where it is the blue lotus flower that is prominent. The beautiful plants are found growing in muddy ponds where the rhizomes will spread in the shallower areas.
However it is the white lotus and its association with Hinduism that is the most significant. And the meaning is as a symbol of purity as it rises out of the muddy water. In cultivation plants can be grown in large containers submersed onto the bottom of a pond, or planted directly into the pond. Best planted in around .5m of water, they will eventually spread out to a depth of around 2.5m.
So what is the difference between a lotus and a water lily ? Lotus rise out of the water, the flowers held well above as is the foliage, water lilies float on the water. So Water lilies are Nymphaea and Lotus are Nelumbo, it is fairly easy to tell the difference between the two.
Care of Lotus plants
In ponds plants are best planted in a muddy bottomed pond, they can be propagated from seed or by division of the rhizomes while dormant.
Seeds of Nelumbo nucifera are best propagated in later winter to spring this gives them a growing season long enough to produce a rhizome which can survive the next winter. Plants are best divided in late winter, being careful not to damage the growing tips.
Probably the best named cultivar is Nelumbo nucifera ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum’, a semi double pink flowering plant. Flowers are fragrant and will fade to a pale yellow as they age. ( see picture right)
Although only two actual species exist including the american lotus, Nymphea lutea, a yellow flowering plant, a large number of named cultivars are available.
Alba grandiflora is a white flowering asiatic plant.
The Russian red lotus is Nelumbo nucifera var. caspicum.
Although flowers do differ in petal shade, doubles, semi doubles and singles, they all have the same complex central structure which distinguished them as lotus flowers.
If your plants are not flowering it is probably due to a lack of light, they need 6 – 8 hours of direct sunlight a day.
You may also be interested in
- Water Lilies
- Blue Lotus
- Victoria amazornica – Giant Water Lily
- Garden Ponds
- Water Features
- Stone Water Features
- Pond algae
- Pond liners
- Pond pumps
- Underwater lighting
- Nelumbo plants are similar in many ways water lilies.
- Nelumbo species differ from water lilies in that they hold the flowers well above the foliage and have a unique and recognisable central seed pod.
- Fast growing and rather delicate, they are best purchased during dormancy when small, or as larger specimens when in full growth and handled with care.
- All species likes to get its roots into the mud at the bottom of a pond so is best planted this way.
- Cold running water is generally not suitable.