|Lotus (Nelumbo) is one of the most majestic plants to have in a water garden.
It is by far the most exotic of all pond plants. And it is the one plant
that scares water gardeners. Quite a few people tend to shy away from them, and
are intimidated by them. NO NEED! They are very easy to grow once
you understand the basic care of them.|
The colors available are white, yellow, pink, and even bi-color. The blooming
period is usually in late summer in colder climates because Lotus love
the heat. They are very fragrant and the perfume will permeate the evening air.
The flowers, which last 3 to 5 days, close up at night. Most florists and craft
people love the dried Lotus pods because of their uniqueness in fresh and dried
arrangements. The seeds that dry in the pods will rattle when shaken. It is
reported that the seeds remain viable for centuries! They are reports that
folks were able to germinate lotus seeds left in the tombs of the pharaohs after
Lotus are hardy from zones 5 to 10 and there are some varieties that are
hardy to zone 4 so be sure to check the zone hardiness of the variety that
you are purchasing.
Sun requirements are at least 6 hours a day.
They will not bloom well in 6 hours but they will grow. To bloom well
they need full all day sun. The most important factor is sun. In order to
bloom well they need around 90 days of soil temperature of 75 to 87
The height will vary from
18 to 60" depending on the variety.
Ideally they like 4 to 10" of water over the pot. I start out in the
spring at a shallow depth of a couple of inches over the rim of the pan. This
shallow depth will be warmer too. As new growth begins to sprout the pan can be
gradually lowered to a deeper depth, but no deeper than 10 inches, if need be.
It is recommend that you float your
lotus tuber in aged pond water for 10-14 days in a warm sunny place before
planting. This allows the tuber to sprout and will increase your success in
growing lotus. Be sure to change the water if it becomes nasty
Lotus is planted in pans (large and shallower than a pot). The pan should be at
least 13" x 9", but larger is much more preferred. In a pinch a kitty
litter pan works great. To the pan add half a mixture of garden soil and half of
commercially prepared topsoil so the pan has about 4 inches of soil. Also the
pan will warm up faster than a deep pot. Warmth is essential.
One trick if you keep your
house on the cool side is to set the pan on a heating pad that is set to
Then the tuber arrives it should be dormant. Handle the tuber carefully so
you do not break off the growing tip, called an “eye”. The eye is
described as the part of the tuber where the leaves will grow from. You should
be able to detect a spot on the tuber where leaves, not roots,
were once growing. This eye must not be covered with
either soil or gravel. Lay the tuber horizontally on the soil with
the eye sticking up so it will protrude from the soil and gravel and cover with
Before covering the tuber with the dirt, place a large flat stone on the
tuber to help keep it weighted down and to keep the fish from bothering the
tuber. The tubers have a tendency to float out of the dirt until the roots have
developed. Push a couple of pond tablet fertilizer tablets in the soil near the
outer rim of the pans. Finally add a couple of inches of pea gravel on top of
the dirt. Set the pan in a sunny area and add a couple of inches of water to the
Once you see leaves coming up then you can add more water. This little
trick will also help keep the tuber from floating out of the pan. OR you can add
the plant to the pond if the water is warm so that no more than a couple of
inches are over the top of the pan. Lower the pan a couple of inches every few
TIP: Upside down clay pots are very useful and can be stacked until
you get the depth you want. NOTE: You do not need to purchase
special prepared pond soil. Save your money for more plants! Wondering what I
mean by ordinary garden soil? It is any soil that will grow plants. Go out and
dig up some soil where you have a vegetable garden or flowerbed. If it is good
enough to grow garden plants, it is good enough for pond plants! And if it is
clay based that is even better.