Lotus – Love It and Leave It

July 28, 2008 | By | Comments (7)

Readers, do you have a lovely pond that you yearn to bury beneath a choking sea of foliage? Plant lotus and make it happen.

This is the lesson we learned on our grounds at Southern Living. In order to contain run-off, we built a nice retention pond about 40 feet long and 30 feet wide. Our Fearless Leader opined that lotus plants would look pretty planted in the pond, so we planted 5 plants. By the end of the first summer, we could no longer see the water.


Lotus, in case you don’t know, is one of the two showiest plants for growing in water gardens, the other being water lily. There are two kinds of lotus, American lotus (Nelumbo luteum) and Chinese lotus (Nelumbo nelumbo). They both feature huge, rounded leaves that lift out of the water and also perforated, woody seedpods that rattle when the seeds are ripe. The former species boasts light-yellow blossoms, while the latter’s flowers can be pink, white, or deep rose.

Both plants are hardy throughout the South. If they escape from gardens into the wild they can become major pests, as they’ll invade waterways and clog them to the brim. This is why if you like lotus, you must plant them in pots with solid bottoms before setting them into the water, so that their roots can’t escape. Of course, since they produce lots of seeds, you’ll still get seedlings anyway.


The Grump’s advice – don’t plant lotus in any body of water that has a mud bottom and is too big to keep lotus from taking over. Or your pond will look like ours.


P.S. For your horto-terrorrists out there who LOVE pretty flowers and DISDAIN the well-bring of our natural environment, a good source for lotus is Lilypons Water Gardens (www.lilypons.com). Go ahead, destroy the world. See if I care.


  1. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Good to know!

    January 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm
  2. Sarah

    A few years late, BUT – you can make use of those lotus plants! It turns out you can cook the roots like a potato. Rather good for you too.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:26 am
  3. Sarah plants for hire

    Thanks for the good read here about lotus plants.
    I find your post very informative as it stated the different informations that we need about the subject.
    Excellent work indeed.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:22 am
  4. Grumpy

    The Grump is shocked — SHOCKED — to discover you’ve drifted away to other less worthy activities at the expense of checking in every day. Nonetheless, in his great mercy, he will deign to answer your question.
    Coral honeysuckle does attract bees when it blooms, mostly bumblebees. These bees won’t bother anyone who doesn’t bother them. I have never met anyone stung by a bumblebee who didn’t either grab it or step on it. So I don’t think bees will be a problem. Grumpy

    September 25, 2008 at 4:55 pm
  5. Judith Tye

    Hmmmph…I’m just now reading this (Sept. 24)so I guess I wasn’t reading this as faithfully as I’d promised. So how often do you post? And do you know if Coral Honeysuckle attracts bees? I haven’t noticed any, but then I’m not that attentive. Some friends are wanting to use it on an arbor, which will be open to the public, so they’re afraid of bees. The bees would let them alone if the people would act right, but how often does that happen? Thanks! Judy Tye

    September 24, 2008 at 8:06 pm
  6. Grumpy

    Judith, there are things the Grump can change and those he can’t. The number and selection of articles falls in the latter category. One way I’m trying to compensate is by doing this blog, which allows me much more freedom to express my mania and vile opinions. Heck, if the Joker had a blog, maybe he wouldn’t have bumped off Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend.
    Another benefit of this blog is that it allows readers to post comments about just how disappointed they are in me. I love this stuff. As my mother would tell you, disappointment is what I do best. So don’t just stew out there in Texas for nothing. Direct your heated opinions to the Grumpy Gardener. My office has AC — I can take it. Grumpy

    July 29, 2008 at 8:36 am
  7. Judith Tye

    Help! Where have you been in the magazine? This blog is all well and good, but have you seen the Ausust issue? Exactly two (2) garden articles! Yes, it’s hot in August; our worst month for gardening here in central Texas, but not for every Southern Living reader, surely! I’ve never been so disappointed with S.L. in many years of subscribing. Steve, come back! I’ll read the blog faithfully; how often do you post? I hope you know that you aren’t replaceable as a garden editor. And S.L. doesn’t exactly invite comments, that I can see. Thanks.
    Judith Tye

    July 28, 2008 at 10:09 pm

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