Compared to growing a lotus, waterlilies are a piece of cake. Sure they come with lots of instructions, but once you plunk them in the pond, assuming they aren't eaten and they get plenty of sun, they usually do just fine. A lotus is another matter - the prima dona of the pond flowers. This one is Shewanbatsu - and I haven't a clue how that's spelled. This was taken yesterday and today it is more open and you can see the yellow center. The center part which become the seed case is what you can buy in places that sell dried flowers. A lotus needs lots more room than a waterlily. We have a couple of smaller ones that are confined to small tubs, but the full sized ones need their own ponds. This one has a pond that is about 8 feet across and the Imperial lotus lives in a 10-12 foot pond. They start out slow, but once they have made themselves at home, watch out.
The trickiest part is getting the darned thing planted. You have to dig them in early spring, just as they're starting to wake up from the winter, but you also have to be sure the water they come from is the same temperature as the water they're going to. The tubers, or bananas as they're called, have one end that is a growing tip. Any damage to that, even touching it too much, may cause the plant to die. Once established, they're hard to get rid of, but extreme care is needed to get one started. They're heavy feeders also, so be sure to give them some fertilizer in the spring. Whatever problems they might give you in the beginning, they show they put on from midsummer to frost is well worth it.