3/15/2011

Lotus Update

There isn't a lot to do in Michigan from January to March, so this has given me something to keep from going insane. If i lived in Florida it wouldn't be this difficult. Down south the hot and humid air allows the plant to grow almost all year round. The problem is that my house is cold and dry. The first thing i learned is that i can't just put the growing seed in an open bowl of water like people online suggest. Once the shoot reaches the surface it immediately dries out and dies. The air in my house is way too dry and instead of the shoot reaching the surface, unrolling and becoming a lillypad, it reaches the surface, dries up, turns black and dies. So i've had to use Saran wrap to keep the air above the water like a mini-greenhouse. This seems to work. It also holds in heat, which helps too.

But in order for the plant to really get big it needed more space, so i got a big bucket from Home Depot for $5. I actually got 2. The second one is in case the first one leaks.
Then i went to the clearance area of Meijer and bought a water heater, aerator, grow light and a timer.
what you need to grow lotus plant indoors, heater, airator, thermometer
The optimum temperature for the plant to grow is somewhere around 77 degrees. The bowls that i put over the heat vent only got up to around 65. So i tied the water heater to a rock and set it on the mud in the center of the bucket. The grow light and the aerator run through the timer which is set to run between 7am and 9pm. I also added a thin layer of sand over top of the clay to try and help keep the clay particles from floating around in the water.
how to grow a lotus, lilly pad, indoors, bucket, light

Here it is with the Saran wrap covering the top. The moisture does build up on the inside and i have to periodically wipe it down to let as much light in as possible.
saran wrap on bucket to keep the lotus plant humidity high

I thought everything was going great but i killed some of the older plants when i moved them to the big bucket. They started getting white, then brown then they slowly sank and died.

lotus leaves brown, dead, too dry, too cold, not enough sunlight

lotus leaves brown, dead, too dry, too cold, not enough sunlight
I might have added too much fertilizer. I broke in half 2 sticks of slow release fertilizer and stuck it into the mud. But i put fertilizer in the small pots and it didn't kill them. It also might have been a chemical i put in to make the water clearer. Whatever it was the plants weren't doing as well as i had hoped. It might just be that they just need more time to grow. The good thing is that i do have plenty of time. I probably won't be able to move them outside till May or June when the outside air stays above 50.

Once again the process in which i learn something stays the same: I completely screw it up the first time, guess and get it less wrong the second time, understand why i screwed up the third time, then finally get it right the fourth or fifth time. Hopefully by summer i'll have it all figured out.


I also got Asian Lotus seeds when i saw them at a store, 3 pods for $4. The pods were only about half full of seeds so i got around 20 in total. Online it would cost $10 or more to have them shipped.
asian lotus seeds, seed pods, michaels, crafts store
The seeds look a little different from the American Lotus i got in Lake Erie. The Erie ones are much rounder and a lighter brown color. They are the ones on the left.
american lotus versus asian lotus, seeds, shape

We'll see how these new seeds do. I scarified the outside, put them in a jar of warm water and set the jar on the heat vent, just like before.
asian lotus seeds, scour, sand seed shell
So far they seem to be just fine and they started sprouting after only 3 days.

sprouting lotus seed, asian lotus, 3 days

I also noticed that the 2 seeds grow differently. The American lotus seed put most of its energy into growing its first main stem, which is green. The Asian lotus quickly grows 3 smaller stems, which are brown.
how to grow a lotus in a cup, indoors
Hopefully things go better this time.
grow lotus plant inside, in water
The asian lotus also started growing roots sooner.

asian lotus plant grows fast, roots, leaf

Here's one that i grew just in a bowl of water, covered in Saran wrap, over a heat vent. It did the best of any yet. Maybe there's something in the clay or sand that i'm using that is causing the plants to die.many roots from the lotus seed, leaf

Here are the roots from that plant in the water.
lotus seed in water, in a cup, bowl of water, roots, leaf

As of right now i know 20 ways to grow a lotus, then have it slowly die. Hopefully i realize what's going wrong.

1 comment:

Michael Chen said...

Did it bloom flower?