BLUE WATER LILY Nymphaea nouchali
Nymphaea nouchali is often known by its synonym Nymphaea stellata, or by common Names blue lotus, star lotus, blue star water lily or manel. It is a day-blooming plant. Part of the leaves are submerged, while others rise slightly above the surface. The leaves are round and green on top; they usually have a darker underside. The floating leaves have undulating edges that give them a crenellated appearance. Their size is about 20–23 cm and their spread is 0.9 to 1.8 m.
This water lily has a beautiful flower which violet blue in color with reddish edges. The flower has four or five sepals and 13-15 petals that have an angular appearance, making the flower look star-shaped from above. The cup-like calyx has a diameter of 11–14 cm.
Buddhist lore in Sri Lanka claims that this flower was one of the 108 auspicious signs found on Prince Siddhartha's footprint. It is said that when Buddha died, lotus flowers blossomed everywhere he had walked in his lifetime.
N. nouchali is used as an ornamental plant because of its spectacular flowers, and is most commonly used for the traditional and cultural festivals in Sri Lanka.
Hardiness zones: 10-11, or brought indoors for the winter in colder climates
Seeds per pack: 5
Germination: These seeds are fairly easy to germinate, and germination rates are high! A loamy soil is best. Place the seeds on the surface of the soil, and cover with a very thin layer of sand to help anchor the seeds down (so they don't float away). Then, gently submerge the container into water, with 1-2 cm of water above the soil level. Place the pot in a sunny, warm location. Once seeds germinate, at first they will appear like grass, and later developing their true leaves. Germination usually takes approximately 4 weeks, but can take up to 12 weeks, so patience may be required (they are worth the wait!).