Water Gardening, The Beautiful Lotus

Lotus in still pool of a lake

Lotus in still pool of a lake

The beautiful and majestic lotus is a wonderful addition to your pond. Asia, north Australia and easter North America offer two species of this plant. Lotuses have 4 general size categories which are miniature, dwarf, medium, and large. They are marginal plants found in the shallows and muddy banks of pools. Lotuses have very large, circular leaves, held horizontally above the waters surface by their stems, which may reach as high as 6 feet. Some of the leaves can get as large as 2 feet in diameter with blooms 12 inches across. There are also miniature lotuses that grow only to about a foot high with leaves about 6 inches in diameter and blooms about the size of a tennis ball.

Lotuses should be contained in the largest pot possible.

Lotuses should be contained in the largest pot possible.

Lotus sizing:

Miniature ……… 6 to 8 inches

Dwarf ………….. 10 to 12 inches

Medium ……….. 2 to 4 feet

Large …………… over 4 feet

The lotus bloom contains a seedpod in it’s center with the bloom petals arranged around the pod. These seed pods are often dried and used in flower arrangements, as well as the wonderfully strong and fragrant blooms when harvested while the bloom is open. The blooms petals have been used as an air freshener for centuries by placing them in a bowl of water.

The lotus needs lots of sunlight, but there are some that may do ok in partial shade. They flower for 6 to 8 weeks beginning in May or June in the deep south in the United States, and July farther north. In the south the plants may bloom a second time in September. They also require temperatures in the 80’s in order to produce their blooms. Lotuses love humid weather and thrive in the muggy heat. Although the blooms only last 4 days, they will continue to grow new blooms throughout the blooming season.

Lotuses come in many colors and sizes

Lotuses come in many colors and sizes

Lotuses are planted in pond pots, the largest possible for your pond, just under the surface of the water or at a depth of about 8 inches at most. The pot you plant them in will keep the tubers, or roots, from spreading and taking over your pond. Select a location where the plant will get as much light as possible. After the growing season is over the leaves and stems will turn brown, now is the time to cut the dead foliage. Trim them all the way down to the waters surface. And never expose them to chlorinated water, which could burn their leaves.

All lotuses are hardy plants and will winter well in freezing temperatures, as long as their tubers (roots) do not freeze. If the plants pot is near the surface, relocate it to deeper water for the winter to protect it from freezing. If the plants are not to be wintered under water, put the pot in a trash bag and store it where it will stay cool, but not freezing, and in a dark and damp location.

Lotuses come primarily in yellow, white, pink, and some with mixed coloring. There are some in blue and purple as well. You should be able to find the color you want in the size you need with a little research.

If your climate is warm enough in the summer, plant a lotus or two and enjoy your home improvement project.