The Lotus Vs. Water Lily

Monday, August 28, 2023

5 long years during which I had researched, asked specialists, and tried several things to get my water lilies to bloom. And they didn't. Until I had almost given up on them when I noticed the beautiful little bud that later transformed into a beautiful flower 🥰

Both lotus and water lilies are aquatic plants that have similar flowers. Most commonly white and pink, they come in an array of colors. The main disparities between the lotus and water lily flowers/plants are as follows:
- the lotus flower grows above water level whereas water lilies float on the water surface
- furthermore, the water lily flowers have regular-looking centers with pistils and stamens, while the lotus flowers display an additional ring in the middle
- the water lily grows pads that look smoother with a cut from their edge to the center. The lotus leaves are not flat and are usually larger than the ones of the water lilies
- the seed of the water lily ripens underwater and the lotus seed above the water's surface
- water lilies can be grown in more locations than lotuses and require less soil and fertilizers.

Tips on growing your lotus and water lilies:
- both thrive in warm/tropical climates so make sure they get enough daily sun exposure (at least 5-6 hours)
- water habitat doesn't need to be crystal clear, murky waters are preferred. However, temperature fluctuations of the water are not appreciated by these plants
- to help growth and blooming, you can use a slow-release natural fertilizer such as seaweed extract. I added some iron to my mini-pond and it proved good to both leaves and flowers
- their soil needs to be rich in organic matter: I mixed some pebbles with some compost I had made
- there is no need to prune or spray either lotus plants or water lilies.

Water lilies are scientifically named Nymphaeaceae, which explains how Greek and Latin associate them with nymphs, who are feminine souls living by the rivers or lakes. They hence embody purity, virtue, and innocence. They are the national flower of Bangladesh. In Ancient Egypt, they showed unity: the emblem of Lower Egypt was the papyrus flower, and Upper Egypt's token was the water lily that interconnected the two kingdoms. In Buddhism and Hinduism, water lilies illustrate the possibility of rising and obtaining enlightenment, a spiritual renewal in connection with the divine. The white water lilies convey sympathy and revival of the soul. Pink ones stand for feminine beauty as well as wisdom. The red water lilies are considered to be fiery and vibrant, indicating romantic emotions of passion and admiration. Orange water lilies stand out and suggest uniqueness. Purple ones are linked to pride and dignity. Yellow blooms express friendship and happiness. And finally, blue water lilies, rare and native to the Nile Delta, represent calmness, fertility, and recovery.

When it comes to the lotus flower, many perceive it as a calming and peaceful sight. It is the symbol of divine grace in many cultures across Asia. In Buddhism, it portrays transcendental awakening and faithfulness. It is even thought to be the throne of the gods. Christians associate the fact that the lotus flower blooms for 3 days with transformation and resurrection. Many cultures perceive the lotus flower as a representation of longevity and eternal life. It is the national flower in India and Vietnam. A white lotus flower shows purity and transcendence. Feng shui adepts link it to the metal element that can cut through obstacles. Pink lotuses are associated with feminine energy. Red lotus flowers symbolize passion and inspiration. Yellow lotuses stand for curiosity and openness. Blue and purple lotuses are rare. They disclose wisdom and self-enlightenment respectively.

Lotus and water lilies are not only decorative and smell good. The leaves, roots, and seeds of the lotus plant are edible. Leaves are used to wrap/steam food. Seeds can be roasted and added to a salad or as a garnish to a warm dish. Some compounds of the lotus have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can be an antibacterial agent and could reduce sugar levels. This is not the case for all water lilies, with some being dangerous for ingestion. Some people use the water lily plant to cure chronic diarrhea and pharyngitis. The stem of the plant is an antiseptic. Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding or just want to heal a disorder naturally, make sure to consult your physician before using or consuming lotuses and/or water lilies.

Happy gardening 🌱🌱🌱

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