Growing plant bulbs: Good rule of thumb on any bulb: Aponogetons, Dwarf Lilies, Lotus, Barclaya. If you squeeze them and they are hard, that is good, if they squish and or smell bad, they are no good. Drop them in the water, and let them sink, if they float for a day, no worries. Once they sink, they will eventually send out leaves, usually within a week (Apons) or as fast as overnight (Dwarf Lilies). Barclayas are the slowest germinators. Leave your bulbs alone and don t actually push them into your substrate until they ve germinated. The first poking protrusions are the leaves NOT roots. They will grow roots later. So when these first leaves start to grow (you ll know which end is to be upright), you can push them gently into the substrate and into the location you really want them to grow and allowing just the tip, or crown of the bulb to be exposed.