Nelumbo 'Momo Botan'
Common Name: sacred lotus 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Nelumbonaceae
Zone: 4 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Rose pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in calm water in full sun. Winter hardy to USDA Zone 4 as long as the roots do not freeze (i.e., water does not freeze down to the roots). Established plants are generally less aggressive than the species, but will spread and colonize over time. Roots may be planted in containers about 4-6" below the surface and anchored in the mud at the bottom of the water body in order to both control growth and facilitate any later moving of the plants. Rhizomes of container-grown plants may be lifted in fall after plants die back and stored in a cool location (basement, root cellar or other frost-free area) until spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Nelumbo is a genus of 2 species of rhizomatous perennials from Asia, North Australia and Eastern North America.

Genus name comes from the Sinhalese name.

'Momo Botan' is a dwarf lotus cultivar which typically grows 1-2' tall in shallow water and spreads by thickened rhizomes rooted in the mud. An aquatic perennial which features rounded, parasol-like, upward-cupped, green leaves (4-10" diameter) which appear above the water on long petioles which attach in the middle of the leaf underside (peltate). Large, cupped, very fragrant, double, rose-pink flowers (to 5" diameter) appear in summer on stiff stems above the water and often above the foliage. Each flower blooms for about three days, opening in the morning and closing at night each day. Flowers are followed by nut-like fruits which are imbedded in the flat surface of a turbinate (inversely conical) receptacle (2-3" diameter) which resembles the shape of a watering can rose. Receptacles acquire a woody texture when dried (suggestive of wasps' nests) and are highly prized for dried flower arrangements. The rhizomes, leaves and seeds of lotus are edible and are sometimes used in Asian cooking. The species N. nucifera is commonly called sacred lotus in reference to the sacred and symbolic status the flower holds in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids and red spider mites are occasional pests (fish can help control these, however).

Garden Uses

Flowers, seed receptacles and foliage are all unique, attractive and interesting additions to a water garden or small pond. This dwarf cultivar is particularly well-suited for lined half whiskey barrels or other hole-less containers including ones as small as 12" pots.