Nelumbo nucifera 'Perry's Giant Sunburst'
Common Name: sacred lotus
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Nelumbonaceae
Zone: 4 to 10
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Yellow (double)
Sun: Full sun
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Easily grown in rich loams in calm water margins 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). For water gardens or small ponds, plant roots in large containers or planting baskets with up to 24” of water covering the crowns. Container-grown plants are easier to control and, if desired, to move to other locations. For naturalizing in larger ponds, roots may be anchored directly in the muddy bottom near the water margin where, once established, they will spread and colonize. In fall, containers submerged in very shallow water (less than 6”) should be moved into deeper water or brought indoors (basement, root cellar or other frost-free area) for overwintering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Perry’s Giant Sunburst’ is a large-flowered lotus that typically grows 4-6’ tall in shallow water and spreads by thickened rhizomes rooted in the mud. This is a marginal aquatic perennial that features rounded, parasol-like, upward-cupped, waxy green leaves (4-16” across) that appear above the water on long petioles which attach at the middle of the leaf underside (peltate). Large, cupped, very fragrant, double, yellow flowers (10-12” diameter) appear in summer on stiff stems 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 that 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 pond.