File, sand, or nick the seeds so water can easily penetrate. Carefully go through the outer layer to the cream-colored inside. Sand either the side or rounded end, however doing the end helps it sprout faster.
Carefully observe what’s happening with a clear container, such as a plastic cup or soda bottle. Add the seeds and hot, but not boiling, water. Put the container where you see it often. Change the water daily using warm water, not softened by chemicals. Keep the water between 70-85°F (21-29°C). The seeds will swell and then sprout, usually within a week (N. lutea takes longer than N. nucifera). If the water gets cloudy, change it with warm water.
When the seeds sprout and the leaf stems get about 4″ long put them in a dishpan with about 3″ of sand or a thin layer of clay soil covered with sand.
Remember that lotus like warmth and light. Change the water when cloudy. If aphids attack the new growth, overflow the pan to wash them off or squish by hand. (Repeat as often as necessary.)When the developing plant has several standing (aerial) leaves, sStart a feeding schedule for every 2-3 weeks during the growing season or follow the recommended aquatic plant fertilizer instructions. Plant the new seedling by making a slight depression in the soil and putting a little bit of sand/dirt around it to hold the roots. If you plant it in a container for the pond, it should be round. Unless the lotus is a very small variety, the container should be at least 10” across, but 16″ or bigger is better.With the next several leaves the lotus will start to produce runners and grow rapidly. (Sometimes during the first year, the plant enters a temporary resting period. Growth will cease, leaves turn yellow, and the plant will appear to be dying. During this normal 3-week dormant phase, the rhizomes thicken to form tubers. Then growth starts again with renewed vigor.) Usually only leaves are formed during the first season and no blooms until the second year, but you could get lucky with lots of TLC.
By Kelly Billing and Paula Biles