Growing Lotus from Seeds
Growing Water Lily from Seeds (Nymphaeaceae Family)
We fully realize that growing from seed can be an interesting and inexpensive way for people to get started as compared with buying rhizomes or plants. Seeds can be sprouted in warm water and potted individually, we prefer to plant them before they sprout.
The number of seeds determines container size, everything from small pots to dish pans to small ponds. Put a layer of soil in the bottom, add water to the brim, level and compact the soil once it has settled from filling with water. We then distribute the seeds as evenly as possible over the soil and drizzle a thin layer of white sand through the water over the seeds. This helps to anchor them and to see them as they sprout. Adding water after putting the seeds are put in can dislodge them, as can placing the container in a pond.
When seedlings have made several floating leaves in smaller containers, we carefully dig them up and pot them individually. In small ponds designed for seedlings we let plants grow to blooming stage and then remove them, either to propagate or discard, making more space for still developing seedlings.
Growing Water Lily from Seeds (Nelumbo Family)
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.
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 !!!
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.
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.
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 !!!