A lotus plant is a stunning perennial plant that grows in aquatic environments. The lotus has a dramatic bloom that happens once per year. While their appearance may be lovely, lotus plants are finicky when it comes to producing a flower.
Many different reasons may contribute to your lotus plant not flowering. We’ve put together some of the most common reasons for you to consider.
- Planting Zone
- Sunlight Exposure
- Proper Soil
- Feeding Schedule
- Room to Grow
- Planting Depth
- Water Conditions
The points listed above are conditions that must be met for your plant to bloom. We’re going to take a deeper look at each point to help you diagnose the problem.
Like all plants, lotuses will only thrive in the correct planting zone. There are two commonly sold types of lotus plants in the United States.
The first type is the American lotus or Nelumbo lutea. The American lotus is a native plant that grows in zones 4-11.
Considering this, if you live in the northern part of North Dakota, for instance, most likely your American lotus won’t bloom.
The second type is the Sacred lotus or Nelumbo nucifera. This species is native to Asia, Australia, and New Guinea. The Sacred lotus only grows in more temperate garden zones 8-12.
Look up your garden zone here and reference this table to see if you planted your lotus in the proper zone. If not, this could be the reason why your lotus is not flowering.
|Zone||American Lotus||Sacred Lotus|
Lotus plants will not bloom until they have reached maturity. This typically requires close to a year. If you planted your lotus less than a year ago, it is not ready to produce a flower yet.
The process of creating a bloom takes a lot of nutrients from the plant. For the first year of its life, it stores energy in the root tuber.
Once there is enough energy stored in the tuber the lotus can make a flower. If a lotus blooms before there is enough energy stored, the plant may die.
Plants need cues from nature to know when to bloom. For a lotus plant, one of those cues is the temperature outside.
Lotuses need close to a month of daytime temperatures above 80 degrees to begin blooming. If the temperature drops below 80 degrees during the day, the plant may not produce a bloom.
Most lotus plants will bloom in the late summer or early fall months. This is because the weather is reliably at or above their desired temperature.
Heavy or sudden temperature fluctuations throughout the year will affect your lotus flowers. An unusually warm spring followed by a cold snap can set your lotus plant back.
A healthy lotus plant will show signs of producing a flower after a month of warm temperature. If your plant does not, then make sure the other conditions we listed are met.
Lotus plants are sun-loving plants. One of the most common causes of a lotus not flowering is poor sun exposure.
To produce a flower, these plants need 8 to 12 hours of uninterrupted sunlight per day. That means that at no point in the day should your plant be shaded.
As we discussed earlier, flowering takes a lot of energy from these plants. The long hours of direct sunlight provide the plant with the energy it needs.
If your lotus is in a container you can move it to a more sunny area. If your lotus is in a pond, consider trimming shade trees to provide more light.
Lotus plants are aquatic plants by nature. But they still need soil to survive. You can not grow a lotus in water without soil for it to root in. If your lotus does not have proper soil, it will not bloom.
Lotuses planted in containers prefer an amended, nutrient-rich soil to grow in. The soil should have little to no sand. Lotus roots grow best in muddy and loose soil.
You can find aquatic plant soil specific to lotuses at specialty garden centers. Don’t use generic garden soil, as it won’t suit the needs of your lotus plant.
If your lotus is growing in a pond, then the soil should be free from other nearby aquatic plants. Lotuses are voracious about nutrients and will need to be competition-free until they are established.
Lotuses that are growing in ponds or lakes take nutrients from natural fertilizers. Decaying plant and animal matter in the pond’s soil contains all a lotus needs to bloom.
If your plant is growing in a container, it is missing the natural fertilizers that occur in the wild. You will need to replicate those nutrients using a fertilizer.
Aquatic plant fertilizers are usually marked with the numbers 10-14-8. These numbers represent the percentage of the nutrients in the fertilizer. 10% nitrogen, 14% phosphate and 8% potash.
Aquatic fertilizers are most easily distributed in liquid or capsule form.
The schedule that you distribute fertilizer is as important as the nutrients you use. If you have over or under-fertilized your lotus plant, that may be why it isn’t blooming.
During cold weather months, your lotus plant does not need any added fertilizer. As the weather rises above 75 degrees you can begin to feed it.
Some plants may not need fertilizer to produce a flower. Keep an eye on your lotus and only begin fertilizing if it is not showing signs of growth.
Avoid over-fertilizing your plant by feeding it once every 2 weeks. If you notice that the leaves begin to yellow or wrinkle, switch to every 3 weeks.
The size of your plant and the container that it is in will determine how much fertilizer you give it. Follow the directions on the container of fertilizer to determine how much to distribute.
The most common forms of fertilizer are in tablet or liquid form. This makes them easier to measure.
If your lotus plant does not have the proper room to grow, it will not flower. Lotuses need to produce a large number of leaves before blooming.
A lotus plant needs a container that is 5 gallons minimum. As your plant matures, it will need to move to a larger container. Multiple plants will need to be in containers with at least 5 gallons capacity per plant.
If you determine that your container is too small, wait until the lotus is dormant to transplant it. If you transplant during a rapid growth cycle, it can damage the plant.
It is not complicated to switch containers. Wait until the plant is not actively growing. First, make a new container ready. After, dig up the tuber and move it to its new home.
Lotus plants thrive in shallow waters. The younger the plant is, the more shallow depth of water it will prefer. If the water is too deep, the lotus may not have the strength to produce a flower.
Plant young lotus plants 2 to 7 inches below the surface of the water. A shallow planting depth means the plant will spend less energy breaking the surface.
When a lotus is over a year old, you can plant it 7 to 10 inches deep. The more mature plant will have the strength to grow higher.
A very well-established lotus plant can handle water depths up to 15 inches. Depths greater than 15 inches may be too much for older plants to grow in.
The flesh of a lotus plant is very fragile. If the water conditions are too harsh, the plant will suffer damage. Damage to the plant will result in late blooms or no blooms at all.
Extremely high or low water temperature will affect your plant. High temperatures will cause wilting. Low temperatures will freeze the plant and set its growth back.
Your lotus will need still or very slow-moving water to thrive. If the water is in constant motion, it can damage the plant. Moving objects in swift waters will also cause severe damage.
If you are concerned about stagnant waters, it is possible to add a gentle bubble pump. The pump will prevent stagnation and not damage the lotus.
You may also like:
- Why Did My Lotus Stop Blooming?
- What Kind of Soil Is Best for a Lotus?
- How to Plant Lotus Bulb in North Florida
- Can You Grow Lotus Without Soil?
- How Does a Lotus Plant Adapt Itself in Water
- Why Are My Lotus Plant’s Leaves Turning Brown?
Now you know the most common reasons why your lotus flower is not blooming. If you have identified the problem, remedy it and wait for next summer.
Your plant likely won’t recover in the same season in time to produce a flower. The good news is that lotus flowers are so beautiful, that they’re worth the wait!
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.