By Babs Ellinwood

Click images to enlarge



Begin with FRESH VIABLE SEED. These seed must be nicked with a sharp knife ( careful here ) or rubbed with a file or scraped across concrete to break the hard seed coating. You can file top or bottom, just stop when you see the creme colored inner core. This allows water to enter the seed faster. I like to scrape the dimpled end.

Take a clean, empty 2 liter soda bottle, put the seeds inside, add hot but not boiling water, and place in an area that you frequently pass during the day. Kitchens are good. When you pass the bottle, give it a
brief shake. Change the water daily, use any clean water that is not softened by chemicals.

I start all my Lotus indoors, and this year I have been using a propagation heating mat that I found at a discount store. This is under a tray with water that keeps the temperature about 75 to 80 degrees.
Continue to sprout in the soda bottle, just lay it on it's side.

Seeds that float usually will not sprout, but give them a chance. Once the water is absorbed the floaters may surprise you. Seeds sprout quickly once the water is absorbed inside the seed. But it may take a
week or so, don't give up !!! My best time has been 24 hours.

You MUST change the water when it looks cloudy. Remember to add warm water each time.

Remove the seeds as they sprout and have grown to about 4 inches long. This usually takes only one or two days in the bottle. Put them in a dishpan or similar container with about 3 inches of sand on the bottom and 3 inches of water covering the sand. Press your finger in the sand and put the seed in the hole ... don't cover with sand. You can sink this in your pond, or just place it in full sun next to the pool. If you sprout in Winter, a sunny window is good, or take the seed container outside on warm days and bring it back inside as the day cools off. If you are willing to do that with 20 containers, you really have been bitten by the Lotus Bug.

CHANGE the WATER if cloudy !!!

If something should happen to the first stem, just leave the seed alone and it will fork out and grow another stem. Or you can place it in a slurry of potting media in a 3" pot, cover the surface with pea gravel and place in water to cover over at least 3", and it will continue to grow and produce leaves and form a tuber. If the seed drops off, don't panic, that just shows you that your Baby Lotus is growing up.

If you put 8 to 10 inches of water over your Lotus they will have to expand a lot of energy to reach the surface. The water will also be too cold for them. If you put 3 to 4 inches, you will get fat, happy, chunky, plump Baby Lotus that are strong and tough. That's the type I grow. They usually bloom faster and are a much healthier plant.

One suggestion is to treat them like children, and if you do you will be surprised with the growth and bloom you will have in the Spring. Keep them warm and cozy. You might want to talk with them, the Carbon Dioxide in your breath aids in their metabolism. Feel their leaves and check if everything is ok, no insects, or water beetles eating them. If insects are a problem, rinse the pad under water and your fish will love you for the appetizer you just offered them. Feel the water temperature, is it too hot, too cold or just right, they like warm water.

Look at the water clarity, can you see the bottom of the pool, pond, or container where they live? The best care is common sense care, example: If the water is cloudy, run some fresh water into the pool. If too hot, add some fresh water with your hose running slowly. And like kids, monitor their food intake. I don't feed my Baby Lotus till the seed drops off and the fourth leaf has developed and opened fully.

The tuber which is now the food for the Baby looks like a darkened colored stem. Carefully sit this in a depression you have made with your finger and snuggle sand around it. Roots are probably already growing out of where the seed used to be. These will grow to hold the Lotus upright as it grows. A happy Baby Lotus produces runners and begins to mature into it's " teenage " stage ... and that's when the growth really begins !!!

It will probably be the second growing season before it blooms, but you could get lucky with lots of TLC. Once you fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer when the Lotus has four leaves, you should then feed it every two weeks. Get ready to have a beautiful Lotus Water Garden ... and
remember you can't just raise one !!!


It is natural for the plants to rest in the Winter. Think about, even we slow down in Winter. Just let them stay where you have them if your pond won't freeze, but if you house them elsewhere, don't keep them so warm that they think it is Spring. You will notice a dieback to the pads, just cut them off close to the tuber, and leave it alone. This is how Mother Nature does it, and Mother knows best !!!

Baby Lotus can be brought inside and placed in a dishpan to spend the winter. Again cut off the dying pads and leave alone. The other choice is to wrap the Tuber in sphagnum moss and place in a cool spot, keeping barely damp till Spring.

There, that was easy, you can do it. Relax, Lotus growing is suppose to be stress free ... you are about to embark on an adventure that will be so amazing that you will spend many an hour at your pond side learning the meaning of true beauty, and the essence of life.

May today be your best Lotus growing day,


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