Related to waterlilies, lotus add interest to water gardens and ponds in the landscape. Lotuses produce round, flat leaves that float on the water surface, as well as large flowers that are prized for their ornamental quality. While lotus are often propagated from their tubers, growing lotus seeds is an inexpensive way to add more of the plants to your garden. Lotus seeds have tough outer shells that allow them to remain viable for up to 200 years, so preparation before planting is necessary.
Grasp a lotus seed in a pair of pliers, with the end of the seed and its dimple facing up. Rub the dimple on a piece of 80-grit sandpaper until the outer seed coating is rubbed off and reveals the white seed beneath.
Fill a plastic cup with warm water. Place the seed into the cup and set in a 70- to 90-degree F room to germinate. Replace the water as it becomes cloudy until the seed germinates, which takes from one day to three weeks.
Fill an 8-inch diameter round pot or bucket with a quality potting soil that is recommended for water garden plants. Fill with soil until it is 2 to 3 inches from the rim of the pot.
Plant the sprouted lotus seed into the soil once roots begin forming near the stem, usually once the fourth leaf forms on the sprout. Plant deep enough so the roots are ½ inch under the soil surface.
Water the soil until there is 2 inches of standing water in each pot. Provide full sun to the plants and maintain the water level until ready to transplant.
Transplant the seedlings to the water garden once the lotus has produced at least five leaves. Sow to the same depth in the bottom of the pond or sink the pots in the water so you can relocate the lotus as desired.