Bloom like a Lotus: The Journey of Growth

Growing a lotus plant is a simple and rewarding endeavor, despite its exotic appearance. Surprisingly, it can even withstand the harsh climate of Chicago as it is able to withstand cold temperatures down to zone 5. The lotus flower boasts a range of colors, including white, red, pink, yellow, lavender, and blue, blooming from early to late summer. As one of the most majestic aquatic plants, it is no wonder that the national flower of India is the lotus. While lotus plants are similar to water lilies, they differ in that their flowers and foliage are held on stalks above the water rather than floating on the water’s surface like water lilies. However, tropical water lilies bloom similarly above the water line. With its hardiness ranging from zones 5-10, growing lotus plants is achievable in most regions of North America.

Lotus flowers come in various shades and hues. When it comes to growing them, it’s recommended to plant them in containers, even if you plan on submerging them in a pond. This will allow you to easily move and fertilize them. To thrive, lotus plants need a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. As for soil, you can opt for pond plant-specific soil or use topsoil or clay. Avoid garden soil or anything with peat moss or too much organic matter as they tend to float and cause rot. However, a small amount of compost can be added. A blend of 80% clay or topsoil and 20% compost works well. To start growing lotus, purchase a live plant online or from a mail-order nursery, which will come with a tuber or tubers – the bottom part of the plant that includes the roots.

The tubers may appear droopy and lifeless upon arrival, but don’t worry โ€“ this is normal. Just make sure to plant them promptly, either upon receipt or after purchasing from a local nursery. The growth tips on the tuber, which resemble lobster claws, are where the leaves and flower stems will sprout from. When planting, handle them with care as any damage to the growth tips could be fatal for your new lotus plant.

To plant your lotus, use a container without drainage holes and fill it with at least 4 inches of soil. Add enough water to moisten the soil without creating standing water. Carefully place the tuber on top of the soil and cover it with a thin layer of soil โ€“ about 4 inches โ€“ while leaving the growth tips exposed. Cover the soil with sand or gravel to hold the tuber in place and prevent the water from getting muddy. Fill the container with more water to cover the tuber above the growth tips, and place it in a sunny spot. As the water evaporates, be sure to replace it daily or every other day to keep the growth tips submerged.

Once the plant has some aerial leaf growth, you can transfer it to a larger pond or container. To ensure prolific blooms, make sure your lotus gets at least 6 hours of daily sunlight and fertilize it with a “10-14-8” or similar fertilizer made specifically for aquatic pond plants once there are some aerial pads present. Push the small tabs into the soil according to the package instructions, and follow these guidelines for healthy foliage and beautiful flowers.

Looking for where to purchase lotus plants? You can find them at local water garden nurseries or through online retailers. To make things easier for you, we have provided links in this article. It is important to note that our website participates in the Amazon affiliate program, but our recommendations remain unbiased. In addition to Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy, we suggest Pond Megastore for those residing in the United States and Canada, and Waterside Nurseries for those based in the United Kingdom. For those looking to grow lotus plants, we have listed resources for purchasing seeds, tubers (live plants), fertilizer, and planting containers with growing media. Happy shopping and happy growing!

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