Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Hardy Lotus
Nelumbo lutea 'Empress'

Family: Nelumbonaceae
Genus: Nelumbo (nee-LUM-bo) (Info)
Species: lutea (LOO-tee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Empress

Synonym:Nelumbo Empress

One vendor has this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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to view:

By hmstyl
Thumbnail #1 of Nelumbo lutea by hmstyl

By lmelling
Thumbnail #2 of Nelumbo lutea by lmelling

By lmelling
Thumbnail #3 of Nelumbo lutea by lmelling

By lmelling
Thumbnail #4 of Nelumbo lutea by lmelling


2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive hmstyl On Aug 2, 2009, hmstyl from Cleveland, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

There is a beautiful Lotus pond at Barnsley Gardens, in Adairsville, Georgia. There are many different gardens there, including an heirloom rose garden, and if you are nearby you simply must go to Barnsley Gardens and see their lotus pond.

Positive lmelling On Nov 9, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

The Empress lotus sprouts huge 12"+ pads of a medium green that look velvety, both on the surface of the water and also held high above. In summer very beautiful large white "balls" form, steaked with a rose pink along the edges, that will eventually open to a lovely flower. They are held high above the water on strong stems. As the flowers fade they will leave behind a triangular pod containing seeds. The pod is first green, then yellow and becomes dark brown with age as it dries. Wonderful for use in dried arrangements. The pods are on the smaller side - approximately 2" in diameter - not the huge pods found in stores which sell dried flowers.

When wintering over, make sure pot is in deepest section of pond and will not freeze. Growth is fast. Needs a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight per day.

I purchased an empress lotus in an 18" diameter, shallow lotus pot where it had lots of room to grow. It grew happily for several years - I would simply fertilize in spring and cut down and remove all the stalks, leaves and pods when I winterized the pond in fall. About the 4th spring I pulled the (then terribly heavy) pot out of the pond, read up on how to divide a lotus via online instructions, and set out to divide my enormous lotus. Well...I did something terribly wrong because I killed it. Probably should have waited until later in the spring when it's growing tips had leafed out and were more visable. Not a job for beginner do-it-yourselfers! I still miss it and will probably try again!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cleveland, Georgia
Silver Spring, Maryland
Lees Summit, Missouri
Ithaca, New York
Hulbert, Oklahoma

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