Why my Lotus Seeds are not Germinating?

Are you a new gardener looking to get into growing aquatic plants?

Lotus plants are some of the most beautiful flowering plants in the aquatic gardening space, but they can also be one of the most finicky.

So why are your lotus seed not germinating? Many different factors can influence your lotus seeds.

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Keep reading to find out what things you can change to get those lotus seeds germinating correctly.

Why Your Lotus Seeds Are Not Germinating

There are a few factors that need to be balanced to create an environment for lotus seeds to germinate.

A few of these factors include:

  • Correct growing conditions
  • Proper preparation
  • Planting technique
  • Water Level

Let’s take a close look at some of these factors and see what we need to keep in mind when trying to germinate lotus seeds.

Correct Conditions

The conditions for growing a lotus plant are not too hard to fulfill, but it can be easy to miss a thing or two if you are not paying attention.

Lots of Sun

A lotus plant needs lots of sunlight to thrive. Your plan will need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to continue growing at a healthy rate.

Some types of lotus have a longer green period and flowering time than others, which will need more sunlight to compensate.

The sunlight will also need to be direct daytime sunlight without too much shade or obstruction.

If your lotus plant is getting mainly late-afternoon sun or is not getting enough sunlight hours during the day, consider moving its location.

Lack of sunlight is a common cause of germination problems.

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Read How to Take Care of Lotus Plant at Home


Lotus plants need a warm temperature during their growing and blooming periods.

If you live in a climate that does not have a very warm temperature, it will be much more difficult for your lotus seeds to germinate.

Lotus plants have a USDA hardiness zone of zone 5-10.

This hardiness zone will cover most of North America and the United States. Still, some of the colder upper states like Wisconsin or Minnesota will have a hardiness rating of 4 or lower, so you may encounter problems if you live in these regions.

If you live in one of these regions, you may want to find a way to adjust the water temperature that you submerge them to around 75 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit.

Container Size

Lotus plants don’t thrive in conditions where you force them into small containers. A lotus plant will need a surprising amount of extra space to grow properly.

Lotus plants need a very wide container to spread their roots and leave out as their stem grows, so make sure to get a large pot if you try to germinate them in a container.

Sand and Soil

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While you can grow lotus plants without soil, when germinating lotus seeds, you will have no choice but to use some soil.

We recommend using soil rich in clay rather than standard potting soil because the clay will sink to the bottom when placed in water, but regular potting soil will start to float.

Certain lotus plants will need to be buried deeper in the soil to germinate properly.

The general rule is the taller your lotus plant, the deeper you will need to bury it in the soil so that its roots have enough room to stay secured to the bottom of the shallow water they are in.

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Aqua fertilizer is essential for growing lotus plants. In an aquatic environment, they will miss out on some nutrients they could get naturally compared to terrestrial plants.

Water is also an excellent delivery system for fertilizer nutrients. So much so that many terrestrial-based plants mix their fertilizer with water to deliver the nutrients better to the plants.

Make sure you use a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in potassium to ensure your lotus plant can bloom beautifully.

Seed Preparation

Even if you have the right conditions for a successful lotus seed germination, you will want to make sure that you prepare the seeds properly to set them up for success.

Here are a few steps that will help lotus seeds out of their dormant state:

  • File off the outer layer so water can penetrate the seed.
  • Drop seeds in warm water in a clear container where sunlight can reach them
  • Clean the water regularly to avoid bacteria growth
  • Once the stems get 4 inches long, place them in a soil mix
  • Make sure you are always using warm water

Read How To Propagate Lotus Plants?

Planting Technique

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When germinating your seeds to an adequate degree, you will need to plant them in a nutrient-rich area with little organic material.

Once you have developed a good ‘tuber’ or series of mature leaves and roots, you will want to settle your lotus plants in soil and submerge it ⅔ of the way in.

Once your lotus plant starts to germinate leaves above the water, you will know that you have successfully germinated your lotus plant and laid an excellent foundation for maturity.

Water Level

Lotus leaves have exceptional hydrophobic properties. Hydrophobic means that it can repel water very easily.

These properties make it easy for the lotus plant to keep its vulnerable parts separate from the water to produce sugar and undergo other chemical processes to help it bloom and grow.

As a lotus gardener, you will have to keep in mind that the water level you keep your lotus seeds in can keep them from germinating in the long term.

Lotus plants need to live in a shallow water environment to survive, and though they are hydrophobic, the plants’ roots don’t hold up well in deeper water.

When planting your lotus seeds, make sure you are doing it in a shallow water environment that gives them plenty of room for the leaves to grow.

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Read Why Are My Lotus Leaves Turning Black?

FAQs Germinating Lotus Seeds

Before you go, we have put together some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about lotus seed germination.

How long does the lotus seed take to germinate?

Lotus seeds start sprouting after a week of being planted.
You should start to see the stems of your sprouted seeds reach four inches long before you can be sure they have successfully started germinating correctly.

Often growers will place lotus seeds in a shallow bowl to get to plant to establish itself before moving it to its resting place.

Whether you choose to start with seeds or with a partially developed lotus, your seed germination time from seed to stem should be about a week if you grow them in the right conditions.

How long does it take for a lotus seed to bloom?

Going from seed to flower takes about two years for a fully grown lotus plant to start to bloom.

If that amount of time is too long to invest, you can also buy lotus plants as ‘tubers,’ which are partially grown lotus plants that can blossom the first year that you buy them.

Many lotus gardeners will start with a tuber in a smaller container and then submerge it into a pond rather than planting seeds in the soil at the bottom of the pond.

Can lotus grow in just water?

It is possible to grow a lotus plant in just water, but we do not recommend starting your lotus gardening by doing this.

If you want to grow a lotus plant in just water, you will need to make extra sure that it is getting a good nutrient balance, plenty of hours of sunlight, and you have a way to stop its roots from floating around too much.

Lotus plants can get adequate nutrients from aqua fertilizer that can replace their reliance on getting nutrients from clay soils, but this is much harder.

Lotus plants can start germinating or blooming if any of their ideal conditions are slightly off, so you should not try to grow a lotus plant in just water, even if it is technically possible.

Can I grow a lotus indoors?

A lotus plant can grow indoors, but we do not recommend growing your lotus plant indoors.

Lotus plants need a full range of light that they get more easily from direct sunlight than indoor light.

If you plan to grow an indoor lotus plant, you will want to ensure it gets a proper amount of intense sunlight or a viable alternative; otherwise, your lotus plant can fail to germinate or bloom.

Growing a plant indoors can also be challenging because you need to get a wide enough container or large enough to hold the roots of your lotus plant that can also provide the proper water depth to sustain your plant.

Final Thoughts

It can be frustrating to follow all the steps correctly, especially for new lotus gardeners, but your hard work will pay off if you can put the time into learning them.

Lotus flowers are beautiful and unique plants worth the special attention they demand from the gardener.

As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, so we hope you can take these tips to heart and produce a beautiful spectacle of lotus flowers that you can feel satisfied with.

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