8/14/2013

How to Grow a Lotus Plant


Here's a blog post that i should have published back in 2012.  I had started writing it over a year ago and never got around to finishing it.  So i figured that i might as well finish writing it and post it now.

Firstly here's the links to me making the pond and growing the banana tree:
Homemade Concrete Pond and Waterfall 
Grow a Banana Tree in Cold Climate

Before i could put the lotus plants outside i started them indoors.  I used a 5 gallon fish tank with a filter, air pump, heater and light.  The hotter the better, lotus plants seem to grow best when the temperature is near 90 degrees.
how to grow lotus plant indoors, fish tank, aquatic plant, grow light

This is what the first leaves in fish tank looked like.
lotus leaf grow indoors, humidity, temperature, sun light

Then back in March of 2012 the weather got really nice and temperatures went up to 75 degrees. So i figured it would be a perfect time to move all of my plants outside. I had 3 buckets of mud and water in the basement with my lotus tubers in them. My banana tree was growing slowly in my dining room all year and i had a new bamboo tree that was growing great in my indoor greenhouse.

Here's everything moved outside.
transplant outdoor plants, yucca, banana, lotus

I refilled the buckets that had been sitting in the basements.
dormant lotus plant, buckets, fill with water

This is where i left them off last year, in the basement:  Keep Dormant Lotus Lilly Pad Plant

I think the reason why i never finished writing this blog post is because of what happened that year.  When i moved the buckets from the basement to the backyard, the plants started started sending up leaves when it got warm, but then got really cold and they died.  Luckily the lotus plants survived but the banana tree wasn't as lucky. 

It later warmed up into the 70's and i started seeing small leaves again.
growing lotus, american, asian, leaves, aerial leaves, backyard

So it was at this point that they were ready to put into the pond.  I took my time digging out lotus tubers, but i still broke some. it was really muddy and the tubers are super delicate.
lotus tubers dug out of mud, delicate, transplant, roots

In the process some of the leaves broke off from the roots and died
transplant aquatic plant, lotus, lillypad, mud, pond, how to

But here's what it looked like with them all transplanted into their own buckets.  I added stone on top to keep down the mud.  This was still back in 2012 when Karrie and i had just finished painting the pond blue.  It looked great then with the clean water.
how to transplant aquatic plants from bucket to pond, lotus, lillypad

And last year everything turned out great.  The lotus's grew well in their own buckets and having room in the pond for them to spread out their leaves helped.  They weren't confined to the small buckets and were able to send up aerial leaves.
lotus plant leaves doing great, flourishing, warm weather


Like before the hotter the better, when it got up to 90 degrees they were growing fast.  Then one day i went out side to look at the plants and saw this.
lotus flower, new plant, pond, lilly pad, stem, grow

I remember reading how the first flower always comes up really close to a main leaf. That's exactly how it was growing, about 2 inches from one of the largest aerial leaves.  Then this is a few weeks later, it sent up another flower from the same plant.
grow a lotus flower, plant, pond, cold weather, hot, how to

Here's what it looked like opened up, probably 8" across.
lotus flower, united states, usa, how to grow, plant

This was just a grasshopper that landed on it one day.
budda and lotus flower, grasshopper, animal, plant

After all the petals of the flower fell off, the center of the flower continued to grow.  This is the seed pod that i found back in the very beginning.
lotus seed pod, seeds, flower, grow, how to grow lotus

The bummer news is that this past winter i took those 3 buckets and put them in the basement.  I tried my best to keep them wet but they ended up drying out.  Actually some time in the middle of February they sent up shoots, but then died.  I was hoping that i could just put them back in the pond this year, but it seems like they didn't make it.  

I guess that i'll have to start them from a seed every year, or else find a better method for keeping them alive.  Maybe i'll just leave them in the pond and hope they don't freeze solid.

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