Alphabetical Plant Listing

Nelumbo lutea (American Lotus)

American Lotus, Yellow Water Lotus, Yellow Lotus, Nelumbium luteum, Nelumbo pentapetala


A sight to behold, Nelumbo lutea (American Lotus) is an impressive marginal aquatic perennial boasting huge, umbrella-like leaves, 2 ft. across (60 cm), often rising above the water. Large, fragrant, luminescent yellow flowers, up to 12 in. across (30 cm), appear in summer on long, stiff stalks exceeding the foliage. Blooming for about three days, they open in the morning and close by late afternoon. Their fruit is an enlarged cone-shaped receptacle, 2-3 in. across (5-7 cm), consisting of pistil-containing cavities. The striking seed receptacles are often used in flower arrangements. American Lotus spreads, sometimes aggressively, by very long creeping rhizomes rooted in the mud. It is perhaps best kept in very large containers or small ponds. The large tuberous roots were baked like sweet potatoes by native Americans, the leaves were eaten like spinach and the seeds were prepared to be eaten like nuts or ground into flour. The ravishing pink flowers of Nelumbo nucifera (Sacred Lotus) of Asia and Australia, are more often seen in cultivation.

  • Grows up to 3-6 ft. tall (90-180 cm) and 3-4 ft. wide (90-120 cm). This plant will invade any body of water.
  • Performs best in full sun in organically rich, wet soils. For water gardens or small ponds, plant in a planting basket with up to 24 in. of water (60 cm), covering the crowns.
  • Propagate by division during the growing season.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Native to eastern North America.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Heat Zones 1 – 12
Plant Type Aquatic Plants, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 4' (90cm – 120cm)
Spacing 36" – 48" (90cm – 120cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Water Gardens

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Heat Zones 1 – 12
Plant Type Aquatic Plants, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 4' (90cm – 120cm)
Spacing 36" – 48" (90cm – 120cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams, Water Gardens

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