Lotus, the sacred flower of the Hindus, produces round aerial leaves that stand 18″ to 4′ above the water. The exotic fragrant blossoms produce the unusual seed pod seen in many flower arrangements.
Lotuses require many weeks of sunny, warm weather, large containers and rich soil in order to bloom well, although they are HARDY to Zone 5. Sometimes they produce only aerial leaves in their first year. They will spread rapidly in natural ponds if planted deep enough to protect the rhizome from freezing. We provide bare root rhizomes (which resemble bananas) during the month of May. Lotus in 27L (3/4 bu.) containers are available from May to September. Stock & variety availability varies from year-to-year.
Lotus rhizomes are sometimes difficult to get established, so please handle them carefully and follow directions closely.
Bare-root lotuses may be planted from late April to early June. Lotuses MUST be planted into a 27 litre (3/4 bushel) container or larger. The container must be solid with rounded corners, i.e. no holes, or the lotus will escape from the tub. NEVER plant a lotus directly into the pond as they are very invasive. Fill the container 3/4 full of moistened, firmed soil. Set the lotus rhizome on top of the soil. Dig a trench in the soil beneath the rhizome 2″ deep. Set the rhizome into the trench. Cover the rhizome with soil, just enough to fill the trench, being careful not to damage or cover the growing tips which are very fragile. Push 6 to 8 fertilizer tablets per 27 litre tub into the soil around the rhizome and cover any holes with soil. Gently tamp down soil. Add thin layer of pea gravel, making sure there is no gravel on the growing tips, as they will have a hard time growing up through the gravel. The gravel will keep the soil from being stirred up and discolouring the water. Soak the soil with pond water before placing the containers in the pond to prevent muddying the pond water.
In the spring, lotus tubs should be placed so 1″ to 2″ of water is above the top of the tub. If you do not have an Aquascape pond with marginal shelves, blocks may be needed to raise the tubs up in deeper areas. This allows for more sunlight and heat to stimulate growth. As growth becomes established with aerial leaves, water depth may be increased to 6″ or 8″ of water above the top of the tub.
Similar to lilies, lotuses should not be placed close to waterfalls or fountains where they will be splashed. Lotus are heavy feeders and should be fertilized once a month with 4 to 6 fertilizer tablets from April to August, for maximum growth and bloom.
Lotuses will overwinter if their roots do not freeze solid. Foliage will die back mid to late fall but roots will remain alive. Steps to overwinter lotuses should be taken at this time. DO NOT COVER winterize your pond or bring plants inside until late fall when dormancy has begun.
A. Move your lotus containers to the deepest area of the pond. Do not remove the dead leaves. It is recommended that your pond be at least 2 1/2′ to 3′ deep in one area if this method is chosen. Colder zones in Canada should increase this depth. You may cover pond with boards or framed plastic to provide extra insulation, but do not make it airtight. Return the lotus containers to their original positions in spring.
B. Use this method if your pond is shallow and will likely freeze solid. Remove the old leaves from the lotus and bring planted containers indoors to cold storage, approximately 40°F (5°C), for the winter. Keep containers moist and dark at all times. More lotuses are lost from drying out than from freezing. Return plants to the pond after the ice has melted the following spring.
Note: Northern sections of Canada (< Zone 3) should bring plants indoors or use a pond heater just to be safe.
Bareroot Lotuses are available throughout the month of May, container grown Lotuses are available April 1st – Sept 30th.