Pacific Bx 102 - a word on Nelumbo lutea

Dennis Kramb
Wed, 21 Sep 2005 20:08:59 PDT
For those of you that try the growing the Nelumbo lutea from seed, I'd like 
to offer a few comments / observations / suggestions.

I live to the north of Cincinnati, Ohio on the Zone 5 / Zone 6 border.  I 
planted the seed in spring (I think in April) and they germinated quite 
readily sown in my pond in submerged pots.  A thin layer of gravel on top 
of the soil helped to keep the water clear.

The seed has a thick protective shell, so to accelerate the germination I 
prepared them by using a metal file to scrape away a few millimeters 
deep.  You'll know when you get there because the new layer is a much 
lighter color.  A comparable analogy is probably like a peanut M&M 
candy.  The hard shell is much thicker on the Nelumbo seed.  You want to 
file that down till you expose the "chocolate layer".  If you get to the 
"peanut", then you've gone too far and probably killed the seed.

The seeds also want to float... so the gravel on top of the pots helps to 
keep them from "escaping."

Just for fun I tried growing some in my tropical fish aquarium.  The seeds 
all germinated but died very quickly (less than 1 week).  I strongly 
suspect that cold water in an outdoor pond is essential to success.  The 68 
degree F temps in my fish tank were probably too warm.

My plants are thriving 4 years later in my pond.  They are 
aggressive!!  They send out runners or stolons, trying to establish new 
plants all around the pond.  They did not bloom the first two years, but 
have bloomed reliably the last two years.

This plant should be fully hardy up to Zone 4 or Zone 3.  It will probably 
struggle in extremely warm (tropical) climates.

I took pictures of the seedlings.  At first I mistook the young leaves as 
debris floating on the surface of the pond.  I almost killed them trying to 
fish them out!  If anyone would like to see the photos I can send them by 
email.  I also have photos of the flowers themselves, which are HUGE and 

For additional information and/or photos I recommend the following sites:……

Wow, this message turned out much longer than I expected.  :-)

Have fun!

Dennis in Cincinnati

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