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Water Lily vs Lotus – What Is The Difference Between Them?

Whenever you walk past a pond it must have immediately caught your attention. Not only because of the serene water but also because of the beautiful flowers growing on it.

You easily could spend hours gazing at them in awe. That is the power of plants and that is the beauty of Mother Nature.

Though all pond flowers look great, water lilies and lotus are the favorites of most. These are the first choices of anyone who plans to build a pond in their backyards.

We shall learn more about them but before that let us also learn about the importance of pond plants.

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Importance of Pond Plants

Pond plants or water plants as they are also known as plays a very important role in the development of ponds. They are helpful from a functional as well as an aesthetic point of view.

We are not speaking about the naturally occurring huge ponds alone, but also those that you create in your backyard.

In fact, every pond owner would want to create a natural look in the backyard or garden and herein plants have a very important role to play.

These plants can easily transform an otherwise dull landscape into a fresh and healthy one. They naturally help filter the water. Also, they offer oxygen, shade, and beneficial nutrients to the fishes that may be present in the pond.

The pond plants can also absorb some metals, ammonium, nitrates, and phosphates present in the water. Furthermore, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the water as well as the air.

Plant life growing in a pond even gives a natural competition to the algae. They use up the nutrients present in the water that they algae otherwise would use to grow.

So, pond plants are very important and the two most popular ones that you must have seen and desired surely are water lily and lotus.

We shall share a water lily vs lotus comparison and learn about their differences and similarities.

But before that, let us learn about both these plants in brief.

Water Lily

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Water lilies (Nymphaea) are the favorites of many and considered to be the jewels of any pond. They undoubtedly look beautiful but also have an important purpose to serve.

These gorgeous looking plants spread across the surface of the water and fill it with vibrancy and color. At the same time, it helps keep the pond and the fishes in it healthy and safe.

The stunning [amazon link=”B01CVA94VM” title=”water lilies” link_icon=”amazon” /] offer shade and thus helps keep the temperature of the pond water down during the scorching summer months.

Also, the shade they offer serves as a shelter to the fishes that may be living in the pond. The fishes are protected not only from the sun but also from any predators nearby.

The floating leaves of water lilies are known as lily pads and frogs enjoy sitting on them. Though most of the leaves of this plant are seen floating on the surface, sometimes they also are underwater.

The water lilies have a cup or star-like shape and they can be cream, white, pink, purple, orange, red, and yellow in color.

A combination of these beautiful colors will certainly make your pond look attractive. At the same, time the pond water and the fishes will be healthy and safe.


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The Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera) is symbolic of beauty, purity, grace, majesty, fertility, serenity, knowledge, richness, and wealth. The pink lotus, in fact, is India’s National Flower.

Lotuses are commonly seen in white and pink color and they grow in murky and shallow waters.

They love warm sunlight and cannot withstand cold weather. The roots of this plant stay firmly in the mud and it has long stems to which the leaves stay attached.

The [amazon link=”B08CMJ8BGV” title=”lotus flowers” link_icon=”amazon” /] always remain above the water surface. You will see the flowers open their petals in the morning, and in the afternoon these petals fall.

What is very interesting about this plant is that its flowers, stem, young leaves, rhizomes, and even seeds are all edible.

One thing to remember is the fact that lotus plants are very invasive. You need to take great care when growing it, or else, it will take over its environment really fast.

Water Lily vs Lotus

Now that we have learned a bit about both these plants let us discover what is it that a water lily and lotus share in common and how are they different.

What they share in common?

1Both of these are plants that grow in water.
2You can find water lily and lotus in pink and white colors.
3Both of them have numerous and large petals.
4Lotus and water lilies are easy to grow.
5Both of them are popular for their beauty.

Difference between Water Lily and Lotus

1Lotus is part of the Nelumbonaceae family whereas water lily is a part of the Nymphaeaceae family.
2The flowers and leaves of water lily grow on the surface of water whereas the flowers and leaves of lotus are emergent. They rise above the surface of the water.
3Water lily has leaves that are usually variegated. The leaves are green with dark purple spots and can even be fully dark purple. The lotus plant leaves, on the other hand, are not variegated.
4Lotus leaves are a full circle whereas the water lily leaves have a distinctive cut.
5The lotus plant has wider and larger petals with a blunt towards the end. The water lily has petals that are comparatively thin, small, and have tapered ends.
6Water lily has petals that are much thicker compared to that of lotus.
7The water lily plant is native to North America. Lotus, on the other hand, has a great native distribution. It is native to southern Asia and Australia and flourishes in various climatic conditions from India to China.

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To conclude this water lily vs lotus comparison, we can only say that both of them are beautiful and beneficial. If you have been trying to decide which one to opt for your garden pond, then both make a perfect choice.

No matter which one you choose, it will make your garden look beautiful for sure.

Since both water lily and lotus offers shade, your fishes will get some relief from the warmth of the sun. At the same time, they will get a place to hide and be safe from predators.

Both of them are perfect, and you simply need to select the one that you find more attractive.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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