Where Does Water Lotus Grow?
Water Lotus can grow in any climate, from very hot and dry climates to arctic climates. It grows well in ponds both large and small, and in small container ponds too. Unlike waterlily, water lotus is easy to grow from seed.
Understanding this sacred plant is the first step in being successful with having a beautiful lotus garden. If growing from seed, the water temperature outdoors must be over 60 degrees F. The ideal temperature to grow lotus successfully is 75 degrees. So the key to successful lotus growing is to make sure the water does not freeze solid in winter and that the water does not get so hot in summer that it cooks the plants. This can happen if the lotus is planted in a small container in full sun. If the water is too cold, the use of an aquarium heater is generally not successful.
How to Get Started
You will need:
- Location: A sunny outdoor location. Lotus do not grow well indoors. Lotus grown in severe hot climates grow well in filtered light, such as under a shade tree.
- Lotus Plant: A lotus root called a rhizome. I have water lotus available for sale on my website.
- Container: A large round plastic container that is at least 2' feet across and at least 12" inches deep. A wine or whiskey barrel is perfect as long as it has a plastic liner. You can also purchase a resin wine barrel which does not need a liner. There are also large plastic terracotta pots. A ceramic terracotta pot may work as long as it holds water well.
- Fertilizer: Highland Rim Aquatic plant fertilizer and a bag of bone meal
- Planting Media: Clay is best. I have also been successful with river sand
- 1 bag Pea Gravel (optional)
- Non-Chlorinated Water. If your water is high in iron (such as many Arizona locations or those on well water) you will need to treat the water first
- Water Thermometer
- Fish: Gold Fish or Mosquito Minnows
Planting Your Water Lotus
- Fertilizer: Place 2 Fertilizer tabs and 1 tablespoon bone meal at the bottom of container.
- Planting Media: Fill the the bottom of container with about 2"-3" inches of good garden soil with a low organic content; either sandy soil or clay. A mix of clay and sand is ideal.
- Do not use a commercial house plant or garden mix, as the ingredients float.
- Water Lotus: Place lotus rhizome on top of the soil and against the side of the container
- Planting Media: Cover lotus with the rest of the soil media, about 4" to 6" inches. If using sand, a layer of pea gravel over the very top of the soil may be necessary to prevent the lotus rhizome from surfacing.
- Fertilize once per month with aquatic plant fertilizer and bone meal during the growing season. Keep in mind that cheap or inexpensive fertilizer will produce poor results. Push the fertilizer and bone meal down near the bottom of the container. The bone meal can be inserted down into the soil by wrapping it first in a paper towel or a piece of newspaper.
- DO NOT FERTILIZE YOUNG SEEDLINGS: Fertilizer will burn young lotus seedlings. If growing from seed, make sure your young plants have at least 2 mature leaves that are at least 5" inches wide.
- Fish: Remember to add small fish such as feeder goldfish or mosquito minnows for mosquito control. Koi is not recommended as they may destroy your plants. I do not recommend feeding your fish. Feeding the fish will cause excess waste in the water as well as increased algae problems. The fish will have plenty to eat with the small bugs that naturally fall into the water.
Enjoy your garden! The next article will be about lotus care during the growing season and how to winter over your lotus plant at the end of the season.
Gail the Pond Plant Girl