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The Red water lily, also Indian red waterlily, is a tropical species from India and also widespread in the rest of tropical Asia. It is popular as an ornamental pond plant in warm countries. Nymphaea rubra is often mistakenly sold as Nymphaea stellata and is sometimes included in N. pubescens. It is closely related to Nymphaea lotus from Africa and, like the latter, is a night bloomer. Its splendid, approx. 9 - 15 cm wide flowers, which open in the evening and close in the morning to mid-morning, are not white, however, but pinkish red to purplish red. The large underwater leaves have brown-red tones and no or few small dark red spots. The round floating leaves are dark red when they emerge, later olive green and have about 20 - 40 cm long blades (usually smaller in aquariums). The margin of the floating leaves is more or less toothed. The rhizome is a tuber with runners.
Like the Tiger lotus (Nymphaea lotus), Nymphaea rubra is not very demanding, but should be planted in a free, bright spot. It is suitable as a solitary plant for large aquariums. Narrow arrow-shaped, later broad heart-shaped underwater leaves sprout from the tuber. Nutrient-rich substrate is very conducive, but overly lush plants can quickly develop long-stalked floating leaves that shade the aquarium considerably. If you remove these as soon as they appear, shorter-stalked underwater leaves will sprout again. The beautiful red flowers of N. rubra only appear, however, if the plant is allowed to grow undisturbed as a floating leaf plant in a large, wide tank.
The plant is mostly supplied as a tuber that sprouts in the aquarium. A short shoot grows from the tuber, at the end of which a rosette of leaves with roots appears. This young plant breaks off easily from the tuber. Even if Nymphaea rubra is supplied as a young plant without a mother tuber, it is viable and continues to grow independently. As an adult plant it again develops a tuber.