Although the symmetrical form and brilliant colors of the red lotus flower are head-turners, there are much deeper meanings and symbolism attached to the different lotus flower types. In fact, lotus flowers in any shade are considered to be sacred in parts of the world, especially in Eastern culture. So, what makes the red lotus flower unique?
If you’re wondering the answer to this question, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the red lotus flower, including general information, symbolism, meanings, and more. We’ll also touch on the religious and cultural significance of this plant, and you’ll get a few quick tips on how to use them, FAQs, and more.
The red lotus flower is a very striking aquatic plant that stands out against the water when it blooms.
Red Lotus Flower – General Information
The lotus flower is the only flower that is the national flower of two different countries. It’s the national flower of India, and it’s the national flower of Vietnam. In Indian cultures, the broad meaning for the lotus flower is sanity and purity. In Vietnam, the Buddhist culture is very predominant, and the lotus flower is sacred to these beliefs. Gautam Buddah held a lotus flower in his arms as he achieved enlightenment.
The red lotus flower thrives in swamps and dirty water. However, it’s one of the prettiest flowers you can have in your ponds. It offers stunning textures with a very mild scent, and the blue lotus flower grows in the hills of the Himalayas, and this is the only area in the world where you can find it growing wild.
Lotus plants are herbaceous aquatic perennials that are native to Southern Asia and Australia, and they fall into the Nelumbonaceae botanical family. The two most popular species are the American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) and Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), and you can grow both in zones 4 to 10 without any issues.
The Sacred Lotus plant is called the Angel Lotus or Indian Lotus, and it’s known for producing eight-inch showy white to pink flowers with green, waxy leaves. The flowers stay open during the day and close at night for three days in a row.
The American Lotus is also referred to as the Yellow lotus for the bright yellow flowers. As another way to differentiate from the Sacred Lotus, the American Lotus originates in North America on the East Coast.
However, both species of lotus are edible. The underground stem of the plant, also called the rhizome, is commonly eaten by Native American Tribes and in Asian cultures for the starch. The leaves are used as vegetables, and they use the stamens to flavor teas. Lotus seeds are also something you can eat. You can have them like nuts or ground the dried form down into flour, and there are medicinal properties attached to the different parts of the red lotus flower.
How to Grow the Red Lotus Flower
The Lotus plant is a very hardy aquatic choice that makes a colorful addition to your space. It’s easy to cultivate and care for, as long as you can get the correct conditions. To help you get started and keep your red lotus flower healthy, the following guide can help.
No matter if it’s granules or liquid, slow or fast-release, any form or kind of fertilizers will help your red lotus flower grow better. But, the best thing you can give it is an aquatic plant fertilizer. Lotus plants produce floating leaves at first called aerial pads, and then they produce the standing leaves. You should only fertilize in the spring when the flower starts to produce the standing leaves. Be careful so you don’t add too much fertilizer as it can easily burn the leaves.
This perennial plant requires five to six hours of sunlight a day to grow and produce the eye-catching flowers. It is possible for it to grow in some shade, but it is best positioned in a warm and sunny spot. When the light isn’t enough, you may find that this plant has a hard time forming blooms.
You need to put your lotus flower in a space where it gets several hours of sunlight each day to encourage blooms.
Planting or Potting
When you plant your red lotus flower, pick a deep planter, pot, or container that allows for ample space as the plant grows. Any material is fine as long as your pot measures three to five feet wide, especially for cultivars that get up to five-feet wide. Submerge your hole-free planter roughly 6 to 12 inches below the surface of the water. You want to avoid using potting soil as it’ll only float out of the pot, so you want to use a dense or clay-based soil instead.
Temperature and Water
The temperature for your red lotus plant to thrive is between 75° and 87°F. The flowers won’t bloom early in the season when the weather is cooler. They need a few weeks of hotter weather before they start to grow the flowers and open.
The water depth is another critical aspect to consider with the red lotus flower. You should strive to keep it submerged in still water with a minimum of two to four inches of water above the soil. For dwarf red lotus flowers, the ideal water depth switches to 2 to 12 inches. You should flush the water occasionally to avoid mineral buildup around the roots of your plant.
Caring for Cut Red Lotus Flowers
Most people grow the red lotus flower for their blooms. So, it’s not out of the ordinary to have cut lotus flowers. They only last for a few hours once you pick them, so they work well for short-lived bouquets. Since these flowers won’t last anywhere near as long as other cut flowers, the seed pods make a great alternative to common floral arrangements. You can use them fresh or dry, and to make the most out of your cut red lotus flowers, consider the following:
- Gently folding the petals of your unopened lotus flower back will help it keep its shape for longer periods
- Hydrated your cut red lotus flower immediately by putting it in a vase of clean water right after you cut it
- Put the cut flower in average room temperatures between 69°F and 72°F, or in the refrigerator at 55°F to help extend the life of the plant by one or two days
How to Get Red Lotus Flowers to Bloom
It can take between two and three months for your red lotus flower to bloom. In some cases, the plants won’t bloom in the first year of growth. So, you won’t get immediate gratification, and this makes sense why the plant has links to spiritual practices. However, once this plant establishes itself in your container or pond, you’ll get rewarded each year for years to come.
Meanings and Symbolism of Lotus Flowers
Lotus flowers are sacred in many cultures, and they have various symbolism and meanings attached to them. They are referred to as the Flower of Life because of their associations with rebirth, death, and life. Also, the lotus flower, particularly the pink flower, is India’s national flower.
Different Colors of Lotus Flowers and Their Meanings
You can get lotus flowers in six colors, including blue, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow. As with any other flowers, their spiritual interpretations and meanings will vary, depending on the color.
Blue Lotus Flower
Blue lotus flowers are difficult to find but very captivating. These flowers symbolize thought over emotions, and they reference your mind. They symbolize knowledge, wisdom, and worldly aspirations.
Pink Lotus Flower
Pink lotus flowers have many ties to Buddhism, and these blooms are historically reported to represent Buddha’s earthly symbol. They hold several meanings, depending on the bud state. For example, if you have a pink lotus flower and the bud is closed, this represents passing through a spiritual path. However, if you have a bud that is fully open, this means enlightenment.
Purple Lotus Flower
Purple lotus flowers are another shade that is linked to Buddhism. It’s a second rare color, and they represent self-awakening. They also represent the balance and harmony between the different parts of yourself.
The purple lotus flower is very striking, and it has several meanings attached to it due to the regal look.
Red Lotus Flower
Red lotus flower meanings aren’t as different from other popular red flowers you can grow, like carnations or roses. This bold but delicate flower represents sympathy, compassion, and selfless love. They also represent passion, the heart, and generosity.
White Lotus Flower
White lotus flowers are one of the most popular colors you can get. They represent several things, including grace, beauty, wealth, purity of mind, fertility, knowledge, and faith. Their worldwide relevance and popularity have earned them the nickname of the “Womb of the World.”
Yellow Lotus Flower
You can also get lotus flowers in cheerful yellow shades. When you consider religion, this color symbolizes intellectual curiosity and joy inside spiritualism. The cheerful flowers also reference hospitality and openness.
Red Lotus Flower Religious Meaning
The spiritual meaning of the red lotus flower embodies achieving enlightenment and awakening. So, this is a very powerful bloom to meditate on as you lean into your spiritual practice. The lotus flower also represents anyone’s ability, no matter where they come from, to reach enlightenment.
In Ancient Egypt, the red lotus flower is a symbol for the sun and rebirth. The Egyptians believe that the lotus flower and the sun have one big thing in common, they disappear at night and re-emerge in the morning, fresh. Because of these links, the lotus flower is also a symbol for creation.
In Ancient Egypt, the lotus flower was also a symbol of death. The Egyptian text that commemorates the dead, the Book of the Dead, includes spells that were said to transform a person into this flower. Also, the lotus flower is a very frequent sight in the hieroglyphics, and it holds a place in helping unite upper and lower Egypt.
Lotus flowers are huge in Buddhism. They usually represent a spiritual awakening, faithfulness, and purity. This belief stems from the fact that this flower roots in muddy waters. For Buddhists, when the red lotus flower grows, it signifies the act of rising above despite challenges and moving toward wisdom. Depending on the color, the symbolism and meaning of the lotus flower will change in Buddhism.
For example, blue lotus flowers represent the victory of the spirit over wisdom and knowledge. White lotuses represent purity and peace, and red lotus flowers, like other red flowers, mean compassion and love. Purple lotus flowers have a deeper meaning attached to them because their petals represent Buddha’s teachings called the Noble Eightfold Path. The pink lotus flower is central to this religion, and it’s widely regarded as being the “true lotus” and the primary color of the plant.
Lotus flowers also have powerful meanings in Christianity. Generally, they represent the creation of the universe and purity. Christians generally won’t accept how material items like the red lotus flower have divine properties, they do recognize the links between Jesus and this sacred flower.
One of the biggest examples of this is that lotus flowers rise from the muddy water for three days before it starts to bloom. Another is that the roots of these plants can go six feet deep. Plus, the seeds from this plant will live for a long time, and you can resurrect them after a period of dormancy or inactivity. All of these characteristics have ties to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Christianity has ties to the white lotus flower, more so than any other color due to the purity and innocence meaning.
In Hinduism, the lotus flower is regarded as a famous symbol. Generally speaking, lotus flowers represent growth, spiritual enlightenment, birth, and purity. The flower also showcases a person’s ability to perform their duties without being influenced by any pleasure, desire, or gain.
In this religion, lotus flowers encapsulate the belief that life begins in the water. In the Hindu tradition, Lord Brahma appeared from Lord Vishnu, who was sitting on a lotus flower. There are other deities in this religion with ties to the lotus flower, like the Hindu goddess of wealth, Goddess Lakshmi, and the Hindu goddess of learning, Goddess Saraswati.
Lotus flowers also have several important symbolism and meanings in other cultures or religions. For example, in the West, these eye-catching flowers usually represent the search for the meaning of life. Due to their nature, they also symbolize birth and reincarnation. The meanings differ in Chinese culture since they believe that the lotus flower symbolizes marital happiness and femininity.
However, the same can’t be said for Japan. Here, the lotus flowers are considered to be enchanting and spiritual. In Japanese culture, this flower represents body and mind purity. It’s also a sacred plant in Jainism as the blue lotus flower is a symbol of Neminatha, the 21st Jina.
The lotus flower symbolizes resurrection. They tend to open their petals when rays from the sun hit them and close the petals at sunset. The spiritual meaning of the red lotus flower is resurrection and rebirth. The daily activities of this flower have strong links to the resurrection of life. In Eastern cultures, the lotus flower is a popular symbol for worship. It is widely considered to be a sacred symbol because it showcases the ways of life. Buddha attained enlightenment while sitting on a lotus leaf, and it’s believed that he will have a rebirth.
Lotus Flowers in Cultural Mythology and Folklore
The red lotus flower appears in dozens of folklore and cultural mythologies in different cultures. A few of the stories are:
In Egypt, a blue lotus flower grows in the Nile River Delta, and many people describe this as a traditional lotus flower. In ancient Egypt, the lotus flower symbolizes transformation, with a focus on death and being reborn in the afterlife. Egyptians also linked this flower to the sun god, Ra and the rising sun.
As in many Eastern traditions, the lotus symbolizes purity and transcendence in China. Also, in Chinese Culture, this plant represents matrimonial contentment and harmony with feminine beauty.
In Greek mythology, the red lotus flower has a much different meaning and symbolism than Eastern spiritual teachings portray. For the ancient Greks, this flower symbolized apathy and hedonism. In the Odyssey, Homer spoke of the lotus eaters. These were island inhabitants that subsisted on only these plants. When the islanders fed Odysseus this plant, they got high before falling into a lazy stupor. Some historians guessed that the lotus plants mentioned were actually poppies due to the opium-like effects.
In Japanese culture, the red lotus flower symbolizes soul, mind, and body purity.
Victorian Lotus Symbolism
In Victorian England, flower meanings and symbolism was a hugely popular pastime. For people in this era, exotic flowers were extremely interesting because they weren’t nearly as accessible in the 19th century as they are today. The red lotus flower was a symbol for estranged love in this period, and it also symbolized the ability to be verbally eloquent.
The lotus flower is the national flower of Vietnam. So, for the Vietnamese, this flower symbolizes hope and optimism.
Each culture has its own folklore and meanings for the red lotus flower or any lotus flower, so it’s important you do your research into them.
Spirit Animals and the Red Lotus Flower
The lotus flower shares a few traits with certain insects and wild animals. For example, both bees and beetles will pollinate these flowers, and aquatic animals, like frogs, fish, and turtles will find shelter under them. In return, these animals help to nourish the plant’s roots and promote healthy growth.
Also, the lotus plant has a symbolic meaning with the turtle, frog, dragonfly, and alligator as spirit animals because all of these animals symbolize transformation. All of them can move between an aquatic, watery environment, and this represents your subconscious, to a dry, land environment that represents material world or consciousness. The lotus also has links to the elephant as a spirit animal as they’re both Buddha symbols.
Uses for the Lotus Flower
Not only are red lotus flowers pretty to look at and have many meanings, they also come with practical uses. Besides offering a habitat for animals and insects, people can use them too.
The lotus seeds are nutritious and edible, and they’re referred to as makhana. Lotus seeds are packed with minerals like manganese, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, and calcium. They also have protein content, and the seeds are rich in antioxidants. They’re popular in Asian and Vietnamese recipes ranging from cakes to soups, and you can find them used in candles. They also have a place in traditional medicine, like to reduce inflammation or to help with stomach ailments.
Lotus Flower Tattoo Symbolism and Meaning
The red lotus flower is a fantastic symbol for a tattoo. Many people use them to show the world that they’re spiritual people, including students who are concentrating on their spiritual growth and works in progress. This tattoo can also show the world that you’re open-hearted and generous. Also, a red lotus flower tattoo can demonstrate that you have a reverence for consciousness expansion and Eastern spiritual teachings.
Tattoos are very personal to each individual. The lotus tattoo may also symbolize your own ability to rise above hardships or challenges in your past or your own personal journey through life. The lotus shows that regardless of the troubles in your life or your environment, you’re striving to remain pure of soul, mind, and heart.
Red Lotus Flower Frequently Asked Questions
There are several frequently asked questions about the red lotus flower, and we’ve picked out the most common ones for you below.
1. What is a lotus flower?
The red lotus flower is an aquatic plant that grows in ponds, lakes, and riverways. It’s native to parts of Asia, but you can find varieties growing in warm climates throughout the world. It looks a lot like a water lily, but the two plants come from different families. The water lily is from the Nymphaeaceae family and the lotus flower is from the Nelumbonaceae family. Since it grows from the mud and blooms on the water’s surface, many cultures have symbolic spiritual meanings attached to it.
2. Why is the lotus flower special?
Not only are lotus flowers beautiful, but they have several practical uses. To start, the seeds are very nutritious and you can use them in several different recipes. Also, there are medicinal uses attached to the lotus plant. They also symbolize spiritual growth and transformation.
3. What does the lotus flower represent?
When it comes to a symbolic level, this flower represents your ability to overcome your circumstances and become someone who is wiser, greater, and more enlightened on a spiritual level. Lotus flowers come from the mud under the surface of lakes, streams, or ponds, and they grow up through the water to bloom on the surface. For many cultures, this growth pattern signifies spiritual enlightenment and growth.
4. Is the lotus flower considered to be the Flower of Life?
The lotus flower has symbolic meanings about spiritual growth and life, it’s different from the Flower of Life. The lotus flower is a living, natural plant while the Flower of Life is a two-dimensional creation that has its own symbolic meaning that represents existence or the building blocks of life. For anyone who follows sacred geometry, the Flower of Life is evidence that there is a divine creator.
The red lotus flower’s beauty goes far beyond its aesthetics. Many cultures and religions consider it to be sacred, and it has several different meanings. This very impressive aquatic plant continues to capture attention with the enchanting flowers that come in shades of red, yellow, pink, white, purple, and blue. Even though it’s short-lived, the flowers are highly valued as cut flowers too. Growing it is relatively easy, and if you give it the correct care and growing environment, you’ll get a host of stunning blooms year after year.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.