Hardy Water Lotus - Lotus are hardy perennials considered sacred in Buddhist's beliefs. This group of water garden plants are sold as tubers and dependent upon the variety, vary from as little as 3" long up to 18" long. The larger varieties have leaves capable of reaching 2 feet in circumference and colossal flowers up to 1 foot in diameter! The smaller varieties can have leaves and flowers as small as 2-3" but still require a spacious container to be able to spread out and attain optimum development.
All lotus are shipped as tubers. Follow planting instructions that will be emailed to you after you order. Lotus are very easy to grow, but need to be fertilized monthly as they are voracious eaters. Lotus cannot tolerate ANY level of salt. You can preorder your lotus at any time of year and we will ship them when your USDA Zone is ready for them.
Lotus (Nelumbo) is a spectacular aquatic plant and features vibrant blooms and huge waxy green leaves. Lotus have three kinds of leaves, the first is the small coin leaf that floats on the waters surface. Then when larger it is called a floating leaf, and when it extends above the water on its stalk it is called a standing leaf. Lotus is known for their lush foliage and magnificent flowers which bloom in July, August and September. The fragrant flower, which last 3-5 days, closes up at night and permeates the night air. When the bloom is done, the seed pod that remains is also interesting. Lotus is a hardy perennial and grows very well in garden ponds, large containers or floating islands. The exotic Lotus is related to water lilies. The most significant difference is the root system. Instead of the rhizomes or bulbs, Lotus produce elongated tubers that need special care and treatment, to insure their success. Handle the tuber with care so that you do not break the growing tips called the eye. Lotus means love, good health, long life, honor, divinity, and fertility, and it symbolizes creativity, power, purity and faithfulness. Hardiness from Zones 3-10.
It is recommended to start them inside to see a bloom in the first year. The colder the zone the more crucial it is to start early. Lotus love warmth and you can set the container on heating pad on low. The key to rooting a tuber is warmth. The warmer the growing area the faster it will root. Once the air reaches 70 degrees or warmer the lotus can be moved outside. Lotus need full sun most of the day, at the least 6 hours, and prefer to be out of the way of splashing water.
Choose a wide and shallow pot depending on the variety of Lotus being grown and available space. Generally the dwarf will be 1-3’, semi-dwarf 3-4’ and a full size 4-6’. If the plant is to be grown within a pond, it needs to be contained. Suggested container size is 18 inches across for a dwarf or semi dwarf. For Medium to larger varieties a container that is 36 inches across is needed. Plants will produce long runners that can jump over the pot if not given ample room to grow. It should be 6”- 12” below the surface of the water. Fill the container to within 3” or 4” of the top with soil. If the lotus is going to be located along with fish, put a little sand on top of the soil and follow that with some black lava rock and then more sand. This will help prevent the fish from digging them up. Instead of putting the tuber into the soil, set the tuber on it embedding it slightly in the sand and weighing it down with stones. Then allow the plant to plant itself, the roots will instinctively pull the tuber down into the dirt as the roots form. This helps prevent the tuber from rotting. By fertilizing during the growing season, you may get better blooming results. Take a stick and push a small hole into the soil near the outer rim of the pot and push 2 or 3 pond plant fertilizer tablets down in the hole and the cover with soil. In the fall lower the pot into the deeper water. In the spring return the pot to the proper depth for growth.
Lotus is an ancient plant and is one of the earliest plants in the Gymnosperm. Lotus was growing in the northern hemisphere about 135 million years ago. Petrified lotus seeds have been found in various areas of China during recent exploration. Generally the seeds are 1.6-1.8 cm in length and 1.1-1.2 cm wide. Recently viable seeds have been dug up in China which may be 1,000 to 2,000 years old. The shell around the seed is very hard. This could be attributed to their hard shells. Generally the ascorbic acid content of most seeds decreases with storage, but changes very little in lotus seeds during long periods of time.
The Lotus flower has been appreciated by poets, scholars and artists as well as ordinary citizens for thousands of years. In China lotus is an economically important aquatic plant. Use of the root, as food can be traced in history for three to five thousand years. Lotus seeds are also used as food and are known to be healthful. Immature seed pods and leaves are also used in food preparation. All parts of the lotus plant are known to be used in Chinese medicine. Lotus plants also have a religious significance in Buddhism.