Water lilies (Nymphaea) and lotus (Nelumbo) are jewels of the aquatic world. Symbolic in both ancient and modern times, they are celebrated for their beauty and immortalized in art and religion. Many of them are easy to grow and reward the gardener with fragrant and sumptuous blossoms from June until October. Both plants are best planted in spring. Water lilies start faster and typically have a faster growth rate than lotus, which are notoriously slow to start and need warmth and plenty of sun to flower.