The American lotus is known scientifically as Nelumbo lutea, and native Americans call this plant Yanquapin. You may find it in garden centers by its common name, yellow lotus, named for the large attractive flower the plant produces. The American lotus is a water plant, grown in ponds from USDA zones 2 through 10. This lotus has large, round leaves of which the first floats on the water and can be as much as 1 foot wide. The plant normally blooms from July through September and can be left in the water year round, as long as it is below the freeze line.
Drill a small hole into the seeds outer coating and place in a thermos of warm to hot water. Do not use chlorinated water or water containing fluoride. Change the water twice a day until the seed starts to germinate. This can take up to four weeks.
Mix 2 parts potting soil to 1 part compost and fill a plastic flower pot with no drain holes to within 3 inches of the top.
Make a depression in the soil and set the seedlings roots in. Gently push the soil around the roots. Water until the seed is covered over about 1 inch. Place in a sunny window where the plant will get four hours of sun a day.
As the lotus plant starts to grow, you can increase the water. When leaves form, the water should be kept to just under the leaves.
Place an aquatic fertilizer tablet deep into the soil along the side of the pot and place pebbles on top of the soil when the temperature of your pond water reaches at least 60 degrees.
Place the pot in the pond at a level where the first leaf is on the water and all others are above the water. The pot can be lowered as the plant grows.