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Nymphaea lotus (T/N)

Egyptian waterlily

A tropical, deciduous aquatic perennial with oval-shaped, green to reddish-brown leaves with purple spots. Fragrant, star-shaped white flowers with yellow centres appear from summer through until the autumn. Tropical waterlillies can be grown in milder areas within the UK but should be lifted and stored over winter in a warm greenhouse

Other common names
Egyptian lotus
Egyptian water lily
see moreEgyptian white lotus
Indian bean
Indian lotus
Indian water lily
sacred bean
sacred lotus
sacred water lily
white lotus of the Nile
Hungarian lotus
Hungarian waterlily
Synonyms
Nymphaea thermalis

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Red Brown Purple
Summer White Yellow Green Red Brown Purple
Autumn White Yellow Green Red Brown Purple
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H2
Botanical details
Family
Nymphaeaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Submerged, Floating
Genus

Nymphaea are rhizomatous, submerged aquatic perennials with floating, rounded leaves and showy, sometimes fragrant, cup- or bowl-shaped flowers in a wide range of colours, held on or above the water and followed by submerged, berry-like fruits

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in undisturbed water in full sun. Plant in baskets in loamy soil with crowns just below soil surface and covered with pea shingle. Position basket so that it is covered by 15-25cm of water; as the plants establish gradually lower the plants to a depth of 50-70cm. Feed during the growing season with aquatic fertiliser at the manufacturer's recommended rate. Lift and store in a warm greenhouse over winter. See waterlily cultivation for more advice

Propagation

Propagate by division of rhizomes or offsets in summer, place pots in shallow water until established

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Low Maintenance
Pruning

Deadhead and remove yellow leaves regularly

Pests

May be susceptible to brown china-mark moth, false leaf-mining midge, water lily beetle and water lily aphid. See waterlily pests for more details

Diseases

May be susceptible to brown spot, crown rot and water lily leaf spot

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