“A symbol of purity, wisdom and spiritual growth, the lotus is a treasured plant, steeped in ancient history,” writes Laura Bancroft, of Ten Mile Creek Nursery.
There are only two species in this genus Nelumbo: nucifera in Asia and lutea in North and Central America. Nelumbo lutea has yellow flowers and grows as far north as the north shores of Lake Erie in Ontario. To view our native lotus, take a drive to the Canard River, just a few kilometres south of Windsor.
The lotus has large, round leaves held high above the water; its seeds heads are valued by flower arrangers.
The Asian lotus nucifera is grown as an ornamental but also for its edible tubers and seeds. A lot of hybridizing is going on for colour, shape and size, so we have a full range from large to miniature size, single, double, white, red, and yellow.
Lotus can be grown in a large pond but they are particularly well suited for a sunny spot on a patio or a balcony. In my experience, the lotus will flower better and longer when grown in containers in a sunny area. Scarified seed placed in warm water will sprout in a few days and a flowering plant can be grown in a matter of four to six months.
If you give it some fertilizer every couple of weeks, it will reward you with beautiful, fragrant flowers all summer long.
To learn more about lotus culture, I recommend an excellent publication by Kelly Billing and Paula Biles: The Lotus – Know It and Grow It.