This beautiful huge water-lily is not for the faint-hearted! Lotus culture is quite demanding, but it can be grown outdoors in the warmer southwestern parts of the British Isles. Otherwise, if you want to grow this plant you will need a heated greenhouse with a large pool or tub.
Young plants will need to be kept in a tank or tub indoors. Once they have at least five leaves, the plants can be grown in a pond outdoors, provided the roots are at least 30cm below the lowest level of water, and the pond is covered with at least 3cm of wooden boarding overwinter. Plants will not grow outdoors in parts of the UK which have prolonged or very cold frosts.
Under glass the minimum water temperature must be 10°C.
By seed. The large seeds should have a portion of the hard outer coat carefully chipped away and sown individually in pots containing ordinary potting compost. Cover the top of the pots with clean aquarium gravel so that the seed and compost will not float away.
Submerge the pots in an aquarium filled with clean rainwater containing a heater (the type sold for tropical fishtanks) which is set to give a water temperature of 15-20°C. The waterlevel should be a few centimetres above the top of the pots.
Germination is usually very rapid and the young plants will grow quickly.
Keep the young plants indoors in their tank of hot water and gradually lower the water temperature to 10°C. They will need to be kept indoors for their first winter. Move them to larger pots as they grow, and plunge these into a big tub.
To grow outside, when the plants have five leaves or more, remove the roots from their pot and put in a waterlily basket filled with a mixture of two parts good soil and one part well-rotted garden compost. Cover the top of the pot with stones to stop the compost from floating away. Plunge the pot in a pond outside during the summer, when all danger of frosts has passed.
Available as seed and plants from several suppliers.