Nymphaea caerulea (Blue lotus, Sacred blue lily of the Nile, Egyptian blue water lily, Blue Egyptian lotus)

With toothed or edged leaves and breathtaking blue flowers, Nymphaea caerula is highly prized for water gardens. The bright blue (sometimes violet, pink, or white) flowers give off a pleasant fragrance in addition to their beautiful aesthetic appeal. Although native to the Nile, it is now endangered in most of Egypt, where it was a very important medicine and part of the Egyptian creation story.

Nymphaea caerulea  (Blue lotus, Sacred blue lily of the Nile, Egyptian blue water lily, Blue Egyptian lotus)
Deciduous: no
Hardiness Zones: 10-12 (Water temperature should be around 21 degrees Celsius, or 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Height: 0.75-1.00 feet tall
Diameter: spreads 6-8 feet
Growth Rate: Fast once etsbalished and with sufficient nutrients
Age: perennial
Root System: presumably only enough to anchor the plant down (not sufficiently researched)
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Subspecies: not sufficiently researched

Tolerates: not a significant amount
Problems (major): no major problems other than a weakness to cold temperatures
Problems (minor): Leaf mining midges and aphids are problematic in select areas.
Poisonous: no, although due to the many medicinal effects of this Blue lotus, consumption is not recommended

Soil requirements: Muddy soil with a significant amount of nutrients. The plant anchors to the ground primarily to stop it from endlessly floating away.
Air Requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: Water should be relatively still.
Sun requirement: Full-sun (up to 14 hours of sunlight) leads to optimal growth, but N. caerulea will still flower in part-shade.

Monocot/Dicot: dicot
Herb: yes
Annual/Biennial/Perennial: perennial
Flowering: The flowers are 4-6 inches long, star-shaped, blue (blue is most common, white and violet varietes also exist), and day-blooming. The flowers have a nice fragrance. A long stalk (the petiole) connects the flowers directly to the leaves. Flowering usually occurs from July until September.

Depth: An appropriate depth for most plants is 1-6 feet of water.
Freshwater/Saltwater native: freshwater
Location (Pond, Stream, River, Lake, Sea, Ocean): primarily ponds, rivers (native to the lowlands of the Nile), lake shores
Unicellular/Multicellular: multicellular
Colonization: Asexually reproduces by producing rhizomes (roots) in the spring that can turn into new, independent plants.
Motility: Non-motile, anchors to the soil
Nautical reproductive cycle: Germination, Growth, Flowering, Pollination, Seed Production, Seed Dispersal, Germination, etc.
Alternation of isomorphic/heteromorphic generations: “Typical” plant reproductive cycle

Notable characteristics:
Revered by ancient Egyptians and Buddhism to an unspecific degree. Once used a cure for illnesses, the Blue lotus was a major part of the Egyptian creation story. The blue flowers and buds are prized for their beauty.

Sometimes used as tea or wine. It ancient times, it was used to create a feeling of euphoria and ecstacy when eaten. It was once used for pain relief and as a stimulant. Buds and flowers used to be used as ornaments or as “jewelry”. It is claimed to have helped fight off toxins and digestive system problems. If consumed, the Blue lotus can have several potentially psychoactive effects. Therefore, it is not advised that any action be taken before consulting with your doctor or health professional first. Nowadays, though, it is primarily used in water garden ponds. The flowers add a nice fragrance and color to the garden.

Sources used:



Nymphaea_caerulea_5 2 opening flowers

Nymphaea_caerulea_1 A mostly opened, light blue flower

Nymphaea_caerulea_2 A dark blue, fully opened flower

Nymphaea_caerulea_3 A white flower rising up in between several lily pads

Nymphaea_caerulea_4 Several N. caerulea seeds

I do not own the rights of these images; all credit goes to its original creator(s).





Filed under Plant Analysis

2 responses to “Nymphaea caerulea (Blue lotus, Sacred blue lily of the Nile, Egyptian blue water lily, Blue Egyptian lotus)

  1. May I register for your articles?? I don’t know how to do it
    and don’t want to miss your next ones.

    • I don’t think you need to “register”. I believe (although I may be wrong about this) there is a “follow” button on this site to get the latest uploads. Doing that should send you an e-mail every time another post is added. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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