Lotus are grown for their magnificent flowers, food and medicine. They are revered as a symbol of spiritual perfection. When grown in a pond, lotus are best contained in pots that prevent their tubers from running rampant throughout your water garden. They can overtake other plants if not contained in a pot.
Lotus cultivars are available in many sizes and colors. Some are considered miniature, while others can reach heights of over 6 feet tall with leaves reaching over 2 feet in diameter. Lotus begin to flower usually several weeks later than waterlilies, usually beginning in July and will continue to bloom until the first frost, into September and October depending on your climate.
Lotus are best grown in a rich, clay like soil and prefer an acid or neutral pH. They are susceptible to disease when they are grown in hard water that has a high pH. A good range would be 5.5 to 7.5 pH.
They prefer soil and water temperatures between 70 degrees and 86 degrees which kept at these temps will encourage rampant growth. In the early spring you may want to raise your lotus pot within a few inches below the water surface to be warmed by the spring sunlight. When first planting a lotus tuber you shouldn't put it in your pond until the water temps are about 65 degrees. Lotus should be fertilized regularly during the summer months. At least once a month is recommended. Take the fertilizer tablets and push them into the soil so the fertilizer reaches the tubers at the bottom of the pot. Make sure you push back the dirt over the fertilizer tablet so it doesn't dissolve back into the water, which can promote algae growth.
Planting a lotus is fairly easy and we found the best method to be successful is floating your lotus tuber. You would want to fill your pot roughly half full with soil and then add a few inches of water to the pot. Then float the tuber in the water and keep it in a sunny location keeping it warm , between 75 degrees and 86 degrees. Change the water every few days to prevent it from fouling and infecting the lotus tuber. Once the lotus plant has sprouted several leaves, gently place the tuber on the soil, holding it in place with a smooth, flat rock. As it begins to grow, it develops retractor roots that pull the tuber down into the soil. After your lotus has grown six or seven leaves you can place the plant in your pond increasing its depth gradually not covering the leaves.
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