Lotus flowers are a beautiful addition to any koi pond or water garden. While they are considered a hardier flower than many, certain conditions are necessary in order to grow them well.
Lotus flowers are usually planted in the mid-spring season. To grow a lotus from a tuber, you will first want to find a nice sunny spot to grow your lotus and a deep pot to plant the flower. A large lotus requires a pot 24-48 inches in diameter, medium lotuses require a pot 18-30 inches in diameter, and small lotuses require pots that are at least 12-15 inches in diameter. Keep in mind, if you choose a pot with holes on it and plan to place the pot in a pond or water garden, it is likely that the lotuses will eventually start to grow outside of the pot. Once a pot and a spot are chosen, fill the pot with amended soil, leaving approximately 4 inches at the top. Fill the pot with water until it rises about 2-3 inches above the soil. Next, plant the tuber with the growing tips pointed up. It may be necessary to weigh the tuber with some stones to make sure the tuber does not float to the top of the pot. The pot can then be placed in a pond or water garden. It is important not to fertilize the plants too soon. Wait to add fertilizer until after standing leaves are visible from the plant. Re-fertilize the plants every 2-3 weeks.
Lotus flowers need certain conditions to grow well, and may not even bloom until the second summer. Water hardness can affect the growth of lotuses that are not grown in ponds. To prevent an accumulation of minerals in the soil, flush out the water in the soil by over filling the pot. While unnecessary, it still may be beneficial to apply this process to pots submerged in a pond as well. Lotuses also require at least 3-4 weeks of temperatures above 80°F to start blooming. To speed up the process, you can even place an aquatic water heater in the container for a month. In colder climates, it is important to protect the tubers from freezing during the winter. Koi fish have a habit of sometimes disturbing the soil, while gold fish don’t usually cause problems. If your koi are starting to get too involved in the lotus pots, place some stones over the soil to prevent damage.
Pruning is another essential part of maintenance to grow healthy lotuses. Yellow leaves should be removed. It is recommended you only cut the yellow leaves that are visible above water, and never to cut those growing beneath the surface of the water. After about 2 years of growth, it will be important to move the plant into a bigger pot to allow the lotus to grow more.
Pests prove to be an obstacle when growing lotuses, since insecticides and oil-based sprays and detergents can damage the leaves of the plant. Only solutions like diatomaceous earth powder can be used for cases such as an aphid infestation but be careful! While diatomaceous earth powder is an effective treatment for aphids, it is not safe for aquatic life, such as koi fish, which may reside in your pond.