The scientific name of Lotus plant is Nelumbo and the plants are aquatic perennials that often grow in ponds and lakes and can be grown easily in backyard water gardens. While often called water lilies, but they are not. The Lotus plant leaves and flowers are emergent or rise above the water's surface while water lily plant leaves and flowers, which have a wider range of colors, float on the water's surface. 

The Lotus plants actually grow rapidly reaching 3 to 6 feet tall and spread through rhizomes rooted in muddy soil. The white, pink, or yellow flowers are large and they appear in the summer and autumn. The Lotus plants go dormant in the winter and they are hardy in USDA zones four to ten as long as the water does not freeze solid.

Lotus Plant Info

The common name: The common name is Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Lotus Lily.

The botanical name: The botanical name is Nelumbo.

 The family: Lotus plant belongs to Nelumbonacea family.

 The plant type: The Lotus plant is a perennial.

Mature size: The mature size is about   three to six feet high, three to four feet wide.

 The sun exposure: Lotus plants prefer full sun.

 The soil type: The Lotus plant does well in clay, silt, loam soil.

The soil pH: Neutral

The blooming time: The blooming time is Summer.

The flower color: The flower colors are white, pink, and yellow.

 USDA Hardiness areas: Four to ten.

 The native area: Lotus plants are native to Asia, North America, South America depending on species. 

Different types of Lotus plants

There are different types of Lotus plants. The following are the different types of Lotus plants;

The American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) variety: The American Lotus actually produces white or yellow flowers up to ten inches across and is native from Canada to Florida.

The Sacred or Asian Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) variety: The Sacred or Asian Lotus originated from tropical Asia but is now found from Iran to northeast Australia and the plant produces large white or pink flowers. All parts of the plants are edible and the plant is a good source of certain nutrients. The Sacred or Asian Lotus has religious significance in some cultures.

The Chongban Bayi Lian Lotus variety: The Chongban Bayi Lian Lotus is a micro-lotus double-petaled plant with a yellow center and pink-edged petals.

The Ancient Capitol Red Palace Lotus variety: The Ancient Capitol Red Palace Lotus has large forty-eight inch stems and the plant produce deep red blooms.

The Green Jade of Qinhuai Lotus variety: The Green Jade of Qinhuai Lotus is a tiny lotus that is well-suited for growing in a small pot and it the produces blooms with double white petals contrasting with a jade green center.

The Mrs. Perry D. Slocum Lotus variety: The Mrs. Perry D. Slocum Lotus is a Lotus with double flowers that change from pink to yellow to cream as they age.

The Missouri Lotus variety: The Missouri Lotus is one of the hardiest lotus plants with large pink flowers.

The Pink Beauty Lotus variety: The Pink Beauty Lotus produces light pink flowers with dark pink centers.

The Sunburst Lotus variety: The Sunburst Lotus is actually a hardy, yellow-flowering lotus that is known for fast growth and large size.

How to grow Lotus plant

The Lotus plants actually require full sun or at least 6 hours of direct light per day.

The Lotus plant grows in water and the soil must be kept wet.

The Lotus plants are actually hardy down to zone four but a circulating system should be used to prevent the water source from freezing solid.

The mature Lotus plants growing in containers should be fertilized every twenty days with a complete (20-10-20) water-soluble fertilizer.

To actually prevent excessive spread, the Lotus plants should be placed in containers with no drainage holes in the water source.

Some of the lotus varieties are considered invasive in some areas of the United States.


Light requirement

A lotus plant actually requires at least 6 hours of direct sun each day to produce its beautiful dark green leaves and flowers.

Soil requirement

Growth and flowering are best when the Lotus plants are placed in a rich fertile soft silt loam or clay soil. A mix of pine bark and topsoil provides a substrate that is a good texture for lotus plant culture.

Water requirement

Since the lotus plants are aquatic plants, the soil ought to be wet at all times. Once the growth begins in the spring after winter dormancy, don't submerge the new shoots but keep the soil wet. The water must not be allowed to freeze.

Temperature and humidity requirement

The hardiness of your lotus plant actually depends on the cultivar but most lotus plant thrive in a very cold temperatures as long as the soil is kept wet and the water is not allowed to freeze.

Fertilizer requirement

If the Lotus plant is grown in natural ponds and lakes, there is ample of organic material to feed the plant and keep it healthy. For the lotus plant grown in pots, you can feed the mature plants growing in containers every twenty days with a complete (20-10-20) water-soluble fertilizer.

How to prune Lotus plants

Make sure you regularly remove the dead leaves and stalks to promote new growth. Most pruning is only needed in the late fall or winter when the Lotus plant has actually finished blooming and goes dormant.

How to propagate Lotus plants

While the lotus plants produce seeds, propagating the Lotus plant by dividing the rhizomes is much more successful. Division should be done early in the spring while the Lotus plant is still dormant or as the leaves begin to sprout.

-Carefully remove the lotus plant from the pot.

-Carefully separate the plant roots into sections each containing at least one rhizome. The rhizomes can be planted directly into a new area of a natural pond or lake or placed in a pot.

-To plant the Lotus in a man-made water source, just add 1 inch of moistened soil to a pot with no drainage holes.

-Just place the rhizome in the container with the growing tip facing up.

-Cover the rhizome with 3 to 4 more inches of soil until it is halfway covered.

-You need to weigh down the soil with gravel.

-Gently fill the pot with water and then place it into the water source.

-Keep the pot close to the surface of the water in other to promote faster growth.

Growing Lotus from Rhizomes

-Just select a blemish-free, plump rhizome. Make sure you look for rhizomes that have not sprouted leaves or flowers.

-Fill a large container with no drainage holes with 2 to 5 inches of potting soil depending on the size of the rhizome and the container.

-You have to wet the soil until it is thoroughly moist.

-Then place the rhizome in the soil in the center of the container with the growing tip facing up.

-You need to add enough additional soil to cover about halfway up the rhizome.

-Make sure you place stones or gravel on top of the soil to hold it in place.

-Fill the pot with water and then make sure the tip of the rhizome is at least 2 inches below the waterline.

-Place the container in an area with full sun.

-If you are growing a tall Lotus plant variety, you may actually need to add a support cage as the lotus plant grows to prevent the plant from tipping over.


While the lotus plants are hardy to cold temperatures, the water source should not freeze solid. To actually prevent this, you can add circulation pumps to the pond or water container. It can also be helpful to place the containers in deeper water that does not freeze. You can also remove the containers from the water and then keep them in a cool storage area. Make sure you check the pots frequently and then keep the soil very moist.

Getting Lotus plant to bloom

While the Lotus plant leaves are attractive, the lotus bloom is prized for its beauty and fragrance. If the Lotus plant is not blooming, it may be that the plant is not getting enough sun or it has overgrown its container and it needs to be divided when it goes dormant.

Pest and disease control

Lotus plants are actually susceptible to water-lily aphids, spider mites, snails, and slugs, as well as, fungal diseases. To help control pests on the Lotus plant, you need to remove the dead leaves and debris from the water source and then use slug and snail baits. You can easily treat the fungal diseases that cause leaf wilting and spotting by using a fungicide to treat the Lotus plant.

Some of the common problems with Lotus plants

The Lotus plants actually need full sun to thrive and bloom profusely. While cold hardy, the water source must never freeze solid and the Lotus plant must not be allowed to dry out. The Lotus plants will not actually bloom if they become rootbound or overcrowded.

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