Sprouting Lotus Seeds
File, sand, or nick the seeds so water can easily penetrate. Carefully go through the
outer layer to the cream-colored inside. Sand either the side or rounded end,
however doing the end helps it sprout faster.
Carefully observe what’s happening with a clear container, such as a plastic cup
or soda bottle. Add the seeds and hot, but not boiling, water. Put the container
where you see it often. Change the water daily using warm water, not softened by
chemicals. Keep the water between 70-85°F (21-29°C). The seeds will swell and
then sprout, usually within a week (N. lutea takes longer than N. nucifera). If the
water gets cloudy, change it with warm water.
The seed will drop off after four leaves develop and a tuber will start forming. Fertilizer should be withheld until the lotus
has several standing (aerial) leaves. Start a feeding schedule for every 2-3 weeks during the growing season or follow the
recommended aquatic plant fertilizer instructions. Plant the new seedling by making a slight depression in the soil and
putting a little bit of sand/dirt around it to hold the roots. If you plant it in a container for the pond, it should be round. Unless
the lotus is a very small variety, the container should be at least 10” across, but 16" or bigger is better.
With the next several leaves the lotus will start to produce runners and grow rapidly. (Sometimes during the first year, the
plant enters a temporary resting period. Growth will cease, leaves turn yellow, and the plant will appear to be dying. During
this normal 3-week dormant phase, the rhizomes thicken to form tubers. Then growth starts again with renewed vigor.)
Usually only leaves are formed during the first season and no blooms until the second year, but you could get lucky with
lots of TLC.
When the seeds sprout and get about 4" long put them in a dishpan with about 3" of sand or
heavy loam covered by 3” of water. Make a hole for the seed, but don't cover it. Put the pan in
your pond or in full sun. Keep the water shallow to make it easy for the new little plant, and
remember that lotus like warmth and light. Change the water if cloudy. If aphids attack the new
growth, overflow the pan to wash them off or squish by hand. (Repeat as often as necessary.)