Nelumbo are half-hardy perennial waterplants.
They have large circular leaves that may reach 90 cm across, and bloom in the summer with beautiful pink or yellow fragrant flowers.
Some of the common names for Nelumbo include Waterlily, Sacred Lotus Flower and American Lotus
They are ideal plants for water gardens.
Nelumbo nucifera photograph by Bárbol, CC.
Lotus Flower image by Bahamutzero, cc.
Water lilies, lotus plant, and other Nelumbo can be grown from tubers or seeds. It is probably best to plant from tubers as this will maintain varieties. Tubers should be planted about 3cm deep in soil that is below 60 cm to 1.4 m of still water (or plant waterlily tubers in a container, and sink the container).
When growing water lilies from seed the easiest way is to roll the seed in a ball of clay and drop into a pond that is of the required depth. Ideally the pond should be located in a sunny or partially shaded area as waterlilies thrive in these conditions.
If you want to germinate the waterlily seeds indoors, then first chip the seeds and soak in hot water (25 to 30 degrees Centigrade), every 12 hours or so the water should be replaced with fresh hot water. It may take from two to four weeks for the Lotus seeds to germinate.
Nelumbo such as the Sacred Lotus require a little bit of looking after, but at least you don't have to water them! They should be given an aquatic fertiliser once a month. Once leaves begin to fade remove them to allow new growth.
In cold areas where the pond is likely to freeze over it is important to cover the pond in the winter to stop it from freezing as this may result in elimination of waterlilies; alternatively tubers can be removed and stored indoors within wet sand.
It is necessary to divide waterlilies that are grown in containers every three years or so, this can be done in the spring and dividing waterlily tubers is also a way of propagating more plants.
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