Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

NELUMBO nucifera

Image of Nelumbo nucifera

James H. Schutte

Family

Nymphaeaceae

Botanical Name

NELUMBO nucifera

Plant Common Name

East Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus

General Description

The sacred lotus is a lovely aquatic plant that reveals luxurious and exotic, fragrant flowers above the waterline in the heat of late spring and summer. Huge, round, waxy, water repelling leaves are held over the water's surface of this native of tropical Asia. Flowers are as large as a dinner plate and are deliciously fragrant and can be colored white, pink, rose, red and any combination in between. Often there are small stripes of white or yellow on the bases of each petal. Bees and butterflies visit these flowers.

Sacred lotus must be given a rich soil that is waterlogged. Protect the roots from ever freezing or completely drying out. Full sun and summer warmth is vital for flowering. Interestingly, locations with very hot summers, as in deserts or lowland equatorial plains may reduce the number of flowers. Also, if summer temperatures never reach 75F/24C, little or no flower production may be seen. Typically these tropical plants are grown in containers in pools and removed when cool temperatures return in fall and overwintered inside while dormant.

Root tubers and seeds are a culinary delight in Chinese cooking and Buddhists give great religious significance to the sacred lotus. Many hybrid cultivars exist: 'The President' has deep red flowers that fade, 'Mrs. Perry D. Slocum' flowers open pink, then on second day change to pink and yellow, and then pink and cream by the third day. 'Japanese Double White' has double white flowers with an attractive flower center, and 'Waltzing Matilda' is unbelievably fragrant and has new leaves that are red or purple that gradually fade to green.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Aquatics

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-4' / 0.3m - 1.2m

  • Width

    3'-8' / 0.9m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Pink, Light Pink, Hot Pink, Rose, Coral

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange, Brown, Chocolate

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Lime Green, Sea Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Lime Green, Sea Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Lime Green, Sea Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Double, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Tropical, Water Gardens

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No