Growing a lotus plant is an easy task, and it gives your garden a tropical look. Surprisingly, you can even grow and leave this plant outdoors in Chicago as it is cold hardy to zone 5. Lotus flowers come in various colors such as white, red, pink, yellow, lavender and blue. They bloom from early to late summer, making them one of the most grandiose aquatic plants that you can cultivate. It is no surprise that lotus is the national flower of India. Lotus plants are related to water lilies, but unlike lilies, their flowers and foliage are held on stalks above the water’s surface. Water lily flowers and foliage pads, on the other hand, float on the water’s surface (except for tropical water lilies). Lotus is hardy from zones 5 to 10, which covers most parts of North America.
Lotus flowers come in a variety of colors. When it comes to growing them, it’s recommended to plant them in a container, even if you plan on placing them in a pond. This allows for easier movement and fertilization. For optimal growth and blooming, lotus plants require at least 6 hours of daily sunlight. It’s best to use soil that is specifically made for pond plants, or a heavy topsoil or clay mixture. Avoid garden soil or anything with peat moss or too much organic material, as it can cause the seeds or tubers to rot. A small amount of compost can be added to the soil mixture, using a ratio of 80% clay or topsoil to 20% composted soil. When purchasing a live lotus plant, it will come with a tuber or tubers, which should be planted in the soil.
When you receive your lotus tubers, don’t be alarmed if they look wilted or half-dead. This is normal and they can easily be revived. It’s important to plant them as soon as possible after receiving them or purchasing them from a local nursery. The lobster claw-like growth tips on the tuber are where leaves and flowers will sprout from, so be careful not to damage them when planting.
To plant the tuber, use a water-tight container without drainage holes and fill it with at least 4 inches of soil. Wet the soil with enough water to dampen it but not create standing water. Gently place the tuber on top of the soil and cover it with about 4 inches of soil, leaving the growth tips slightly above the surface. Cover the soil with a thin layer of sand or gravel to keep the tuber in place and prevent muddy water. Water the tuber daily or every other day to keep the growth tips covered.
Once you have aerial leaf growth, you can transfer the growing container to a pond or larger container for further growth. To get more blooms, make sure your lotus receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and fertilize it with a pond plant fertilizer with a ratio of “10-14-8” or similar. Wait until you have aerial pads before applying fertilizer and always follow the package directions for best results.
Looking to buy lotus plants? You have a few options at your disposal! Local water garden nurseries and online retailers are great places to start your search. To make things easier for you, we’ve included some links below that you can check out. Just to be transparent, we should mention that our website is an Amazon affiliate, but please know that this won’t affect our recommendations to you. In addition to Amazon, you might also want to explore Ebay, Etsy, Pond Megastore (if you’re in the U.S. or Canada), and Waterside Nurseries (if you’re in the U.K.).
If you’re planning on growing lotus plants, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the necessary resources on hand. You can find a variety of lotus seeds, tubers, fertilizer, and planting supplies online. Here are just a few examples: you can purchase ‘Pink China’ lotus seeds, ‘Sapphire Blue’ lotus seeds, or an assorted colors pack of lotus seeds on Amazon. You can also buy tubers/live plants, such as Oriental lotus tubers ‘Beautiful Dancer’ in pink or red flowering lotus tubers. Additionally, you may want to consider pond plant fertilizer, potting soil for pond plants, or a 19.5″ pot planter for growing lotus. Happy shopping!
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