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Growing Lotus Blossom from Seed

A few weeks ago I decided it was time to start working on the plants in my pond. I read up a bit about plants for ponds, what works, what doesn’t. First thing I learnt is that Water Lilies don’t do very well in a pond with moving water. Ok, that explains a lot. The ones I inherited with the pond have never done well. I’ve had one bloom in 3 years.

I can’t do too much to the pond whilst it is still really hot here, so I will tackle the whole “pond planting” improvement probably in April.  But there are a few things I am able to do straight away including adding the Oxygenators to the pond and getting some Lotus Blossom seeds going. I ordered some Lotus Blossom (Nelumbo nucifera) seeds online and started to read up about how to get them to germinate. You can’t just throw them in water …

The Vision … a pond full of these

Lotus Blossom

To get the seeds to germinate you first need to prepare the seeds for germination (good thing I read up about this or I would have thought the seeds were rubbish when they didn’t germinate). “The inherent characteristic of the Nelumbo seed is to remain dormant for many years even if the environment is perfect for them. This resistance to germination is caused by the seedcoat which is almost impermeable to water penetration. The secret for speeding up the germination process is to remove this protective cover without harming the internal seed”.

So the trick is to pierce the seed without damaging the inner core, and this is best done using a metal file or sandpaper. This process is very well documented on this web page: Nelumbo (Lotus) Germination & Seedling Growth by Walter Pagels – whose instructions I followed to the tee. Two of the three seeds I started with are now almost ready for planting! (I kept 5 seeds in reserve – apparantly each seed will grow very large – even a single Lotus seedling is enough to fill a normal backyard pond in a year).

I filed my three seeds very carefully and put them in a glass jar with water. Within three days the first one germinated, the second followed about two days later. During this time I had to keep changing the water as it got very murky (the cloudy color is caused by bacteria feeding on the exudation from the seed). Once the first shoot and roots started to appear the water stayed clear and I put each of the two viable seedlings into its own glass jar. They have now been growing for two and a half weeks and are looking pretty good. As soon as the three leaves have formed they need to be potted up.

[one_half]The seedlings in their jarsThe seedlings in their jars[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Showing the size of the swollen seedShowing the size of the swollen seed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Full sized single seedlingFull sized single seedling[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Almost ready for plantingAlmost ready for planting[/one_half_last]

I found Walter Pagels‘ trial and documentation incredibly easy to follow and interesting to read. It felt like I was doing a school science project and was quite fun following his notes and watching my seedlings develop exactly as he said they would. (That doesn’t always happen for me! I’m not good with seeds). I’m looking forward to potting them and then getting them into my pond. With a bit of luck they should flower at the end of the year.

Notes about the Lotus Blossom (Nelumbo nucifera)

Nelumbo nucifera is a perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). Flowering for only 2 months of the year according to what I have read, it should flower in high summer here. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects and beetles. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and it cannot grow in the shade.


Nelumbo (Lotus) Germination & Seedling Growth by Walter Pagels – In 2001, water gardening legend Walter Pagels, San Diego, California, offered Nelumbo seed from his personal collection to members of the IWGS email discussion list who were interested in participating in a germination experiment. The following is the journal/newsletter that Walter provided as the experiment progressed. It also contains excellent descriptions of and tips on germination of seeds and early growth of seedlings.

Annuals Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Another bag of potting soil

I had to get a bag of potting soil today for a planter that is being used for the tulip bulbs (no, I still haven’t planted them, but i have a good reason! I needed to get potting soil …)

As always, I seem to be incapable of walking into the nursery and leaving with only what I came for. This time a few seedlings found their way into my car as well as four white Dipladenias. I have a plan for the Dipladenias (or are they Mandevillas – can the plant-naming-people make up their minds? My previous Dipladenias were labelled Mandevilla and these are exactly the same but labelled Dipladenia).

But, I going off point … The plan for the Dipladenias; the two I have are doing so well here that I decided to get more for the front bed trellisses. Its too hot there for the existing Star Jasmine which are getting scorched so I need to  move them (or over-plant with the Dipladenias – is that a thing one can do?)

Then the little six-pack seedling trays were calling me and I came home with Delphiniums, Digitalis and Cinerarias. Now to find homes for them …

[one_half]New acquisitionsA Bag of Potting Soil[/one_half]


It looks like rain this weekend. Hopefully it will clear long enough for me to spend some time in the garden.

Happy Gardening

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Seeds sprouting

Hi Barbie – I promised I would tell you as soon as I see something happening … and my First Attempt at Planting Seeds appears to be successful! We have little seedlings coming up in the planter box – So far I have about ten coming up of the +/- 30 I planted. I’m moving the planter box to a sunnier position now that I am a little more confident in my abilities to take care of a few seeds :).

I’m strangely not as excited as I thought I would be. I think the whole Rare Bulbs undertaking has me more anxious than a couple of Nasturtium seeds!

Other than that we’ve had three beautiful days here weather wise – sunny days with no wind and pleasant temperates – ideal for spending time in the garden which I’ve managed to do by sneaking away from work for short periods. I’ve done a lot of planting and reorganising, tidying up and general maintenance.

Happy gardening



Barbie's garden Design Gardening Home page features Products Reviews

The Magic Seeder

Magic SeederHi my friend. I had the chance to test the Magic Seeder you bought for me – and what a GREAT product! You know how I find the whole process of sowing the seeds and then having to separate the seedlings quite difficult ….. when they are so delicate. I also tend to put too many seeds down and when they grow, the mass of seedlings are too compact, reason for the need to separate them. I end up leaving them as is and find it stunts the growth of all the new seedlings. Not a good way to start new life!!

So this little gem of a product is just the best!! AND I don’t get my hands full of dirt! I was able to plant my seeds in the seedling trays in a jiffy! No mess no fuss!

It’s called the Magic Seeder and is new in South Africa. It is a simple to use and extremely efficiet hand-held seeder. It can cope with seeds up to 2mm in size.It is ideal for accurately sowing seeds in plug trays, pots or seed trays. It is also used by the Royal Horticultural Society.

To order one at R79.95 contact Dani at or visit the website at You can also see exactly how to use it! I see that the Gardening Magazine had an article on it!  It should be for sale in EVERY Nursery and in every gardeners toolbox! I highly recommend it! What a nifty gadget!

Happy Gardening!!