If you have just received an order of lotus rhizomes, open the box immediately and float the rhizomes in water until you can plant them.
The best time to plant lotus is when it is still dormant. Select a round container appropriate for the size of plant. A minimum size for most varieties is 20-24" diameter and 10-12" deep. (For more detail on pot sizes and other lotus related topics see the Billings & Biles book listed below.) Fill the pot with a minimum of 4-6 inches of topsoil containing enough clay that it sticks together when squeezed in your hand. Too much clay inhibits tuber development. Place the tuber on top of the soil with the cut edge next to the pot and the growing tip in the center. Gently move the tuber around to anchor it in the soil or place a rock on top to hold it down. Some growers simply float the tuber and let it pull itself into the soil with special roots that develop. Add several inches of water. It may be necessary to change the water if it becomes foul.
After two or three months of continuous temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees F. the plant will begin to bloom. Prior to blooming the first sign of growth will be a "coin" leaf. This leaf will float on the water. Next you will see aerial leaves. These herald the time to begin fertilizing. Any aquatic fertilizer will work for this hungry plant. Check out our aquatic fertilizer tablets under aquatic supplies in eshop catalog. Insert 10-12 tablets being careful to not damage the tubers and roots. After inserting the tablets carefully close up the holes made in the potting medium. Thereafter apply 4-6 tablets at monthly intervals again being careful to not disturb the tubers. Gently push the planting medium to cover up the holes. When the lotus is no longer producing flowers discontinue fertilizing as the tubers are now using up the remaining nutrients and storing them for the dormant period.
Grooming is quite simple. Remove unsightly leaves by cutting them off above the water line. Do not cut off spent flowers if you want to use the seed pods for crafts or in flower arrangements or if you want seeds. When the seed pods have dried, cut them off above the water line.
Kelly Billings & Paula Biles, The Lotus: Know It and Grow It. International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society, 2007. wwwAboutTheLotus.com
Greg & Sue Speichert, Encyclopedia of Water Garden Plants. Timber Press 2004.
Perry D. Slocum,. Waterlilies and Lotuses: . Timber Press, 2005.
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