Lotus are perennial water flowers that can grow 18 to 60 inches tall, depending on the variety. Some varieties of lotus may need a wide pan to be started in, sometimes as wide as 36 inches. Larger varieties of lotus are best suited for larger ponds. When selecting a lotus tuber, consider the size of your container. Order or buy a tuber that will grow slightly smaller than its container.
Place 3 to 4 inches of potting soil in the bottom of a wide pan or in an existing pond. Place the pan in a place that will receive at least six hours of sun if you are using a wide one. More sun will result in better blooms.
Place about 2 inches of sand on the soil.
Fill the container or pan very slowly to avoid disturbing and mixing the soil and sand. A slow stream over several hours from a garden hose often works well. Add enough water to cover the sand with about 2 inches of water.
Float the lotus tuber in the water for 10 to 14 days, or until it begins to sprout. Siphon off and replace the water if it becomes dark or dirty.
Plant the tuber under the sand in the soil once the sprout is tall enough to poke above the sand. Place a rock on the tuber if it keeps floating up.
Add more water as your lotus grows, making sure there is adequate water to float the leaves. Eventually, a tall center stalk will rise from the tuber. The lotus blossom will grow on this center stalk.