HOW TO GROW GREAT LOTUS
By Nancy deGarmeaux
1.) Start with a healthy, firm lotus tuber
2.) Be careful not to bruise, break or bury growth tips
3.) Choose a solid container without holes in the appropriate size (even if you are planting your lotus in a pond)
4.) Start with heavy clay soil, top soil or aquatic planting media (NEVER USE POTTING SOIL AS IT WILL FLOAT UP AND OUT OF YOUR CONTAINER!)
5.) Gently add water to soil bringing water level 2-3” above surface of soil
6.) Gently plant lotus tuber in the mud with growth tips exposed and pointing up
7.) Place your container in a sunny location and replenish the water as it evaporates
8.) Coin leaves will soon appear on the surface of the water from the growth tips
9.) Aerial leaves will appear a few days after the coin leaves, these normally stand above the waters surface.
10.) Once aerial leaves are growing up, out of the water, you may begin to fertilize your lotus with granular fertilizer or fertilizer tabbs. The first treatment should be a half dose! 2 - 3 tablets a few inches from the tuber.
11.) Gently lower your lotus container into your pond in full sun or place your lotus container in a sunny location on your porch or patio. Enjoy!
Container sizes for LOTUS are as follows: The wider the container the more blooms you will have. More leaves make sugar for the plant to create the buds/flowers.
11” or smaller in diameter for Teacup or Exquisite of Bowl Lotus
12-15” in diameter for Small or Bowl Lotus
16-20” in diameter for Dwarf Lotus
18-28” in diameter for Medium Lotus
24-48” in diameter for Large Lotus
Not until two leaves are standing out of the water should fertilizer tabs be added. The first treatment is a half dose. Planting the tubers deep will cause the whole plant to spend its energy on the first leaves and may not develop for you the first year. Planting properly and very shallow plants should bloom quite a bit the first year. Some varieties in as little as 6-7 weeks from planting.
NEVER START LOTUS INDOORS, yes it has been done but the plant will be very weak the 1st year and is susceptible to disease and rotting. Keeping a dormant tuber in the fridge until night temps are no lower than 47 degrees and then planting will help you get rapid growth. Though these are winter hardy perennials, early planting is NOT a benefit.
in fall or winter be sure to only trim them ABOVE the water line as stems are hollow connections to a breathing hollow tuber. You do not want to flood the air chambers. Leave the pot IN the pond where it has grown all year, DO NOT place at the bottom of the pond. In the spring the plant should return more vigorous.
For best blooms divide every 2 years. Only the yellowish hard tubers are good, all the black mass above them in the pot can be tossed out and the good tubers replanted.