The lotus (Nelumbo spp.) Is a perennial aquatic flowering plant which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. Lotus flowers bloom from spring through fall. Individual flowers last a few days but are quickly replaced with new blooms. Lotus leaves grow over the water, unlike the leaves of water lilies that float on the surface.

American Lotus

The American lotus (Nelumbo lutea), also referred to as the yellow lotus, grows in the waters of lakes or rivers across the United States and in parts of Canada. Each day during the blossom season, the yellow-white flowers open each morning and close in the day. Yellow lotus leaves are dark green, saucer-shaped and frequently more than 1 foot in diameter. The flower petals open to reveal a big, yellow, flat-topped seed pod which appears like a drain stopper. American lotus grows 3 to 6 ft tall.

Asian Lotus

The Asian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is marginally bigger than the American lotus, growing 5 to 8 ft tall. The colours of the flowers may be pink or white, with pink more prevalent. Open flowers are 8 to 12 inches wide, with all the green leaves growing up to two feet across. The flat-topped yellow seed pod is also present in the Asian lotus flower, surrounded by yellow stamens. Asian lotus isn’t native, but can be increased in water gardens.

Color Meanings

Meanwhile, the lotus flower symbolizes purity in the Buddhist and Hindu religions, with different flower colors with different meanings in Buddhism. The pink lotus flower represents Buddha, his history and his legend. The white lotus flower represents purity of thought and of soul. The gold or yellow lotus flower represents the gaining of enlightenment. Lotus flowers are beautiful things which grow from muddy waters. This signifies how enlightenment can come from suffering. Closed flowers signify the time before enlightenment, with flowers that are open signaling awareness.

Growing Lotus

Lotus need full sun and soil to grow. The plants grow from rhizomes and should be planted in submerged containers rather than straight from the pond to stop them from spreading aggressively. Plant the rhizome at the edge of a shallow, wide, closed, weighted container filled with potting mix and 1/4-cup 10-10-10 fertilizer per gallon of soil. Leave about one-quarter of this rhizome over the soil surface. Cover the ground with 2 inches of gravel to keep it from drifting into the water. Initiate the container at a depth of 6 inches once the water reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the lotus grows, gradually move the container into deeper water.

See related