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Nelumbo nucifera

sacred lotus

N. nucifera is a rhizomatous aquatic perennial with long-stalked, rounded leaves to 80cm wide, and solitary, pink or white, water lily-like flowers to 30cm wide, borne on long stalks well above water level in summer

Other common names
Chinese arrowroot
Chinese waterlily
see moreEast Indian lotus
Eastern lotus
Egyptian sacred bean
Indian lotus
padma
water bean

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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
1–1.5 metres
Growing conditions
Loam
Moisture
Poorly–drained
pH
Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Pink White Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H1C
Botanical details
Family
Nelumbonaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Suckering
Genus

Nelumbo are rhizomatous perennials growing in pond margins or in shallow water, with large rounded leaves attached to the stalk in the centre, and solitary cupped fragrant flowers held well above the water, followed by characteristic conical fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Asia, Australia

How to grow

Cultivation

In an outdoor pool grow in a large container in heavy loam enriched with well-rotted farmyard manure or compost, in full sun. As growth proceeds, gradually lower the containers to increase the water depth to 40-60cm (16-24in), or 15-22cm (6-9in) for smaller cultivars. Remove fading foliage. In cold areas, reduce the water level gradually in autumn, remove the container and overwinter in frost-free conditions, keeping the rhizomes just moist. Under glass, grow in large containers in an indoor pool in full light

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in spring, preferably scarified before sowing, at a minumum temperature of 25°C (77°F) in small containers of loam covered by 5cm (2in) of water. Increase water depth and container size until plants are large enough to plant in the flowering site. Propagate by division of the fragile rhizomes, which resent disturbance. In spring, plant rootstock horizontally just below the soil surface, and barely submerge until growth starts

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
Pruning

Cut away fading foliage

Pests

Glasshouse red spider mite and glasshouse whitefly may be a problem under glass

Diseases

Usually trouble free

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