I used to be looking on-line final winter, pondering of ordering some new water lilies, when a number of lotuses caught my eye. I might by no means envisioned rising these unique beauties in my very own backyard, as a result of I by no means imagined I may put them in containers or go away them exterior over the winter. However right here had been phrases like “bowl lotus” and “hardy in zones 4-11.” Oh boy!
These astonishingly lovely flowers are additionally astonishingly straightforward to develop. Also referred to as “Sacred Water Lily,” lotus (Nelumbo) hybrids are available a wide range of white, yellow, and pink shades. True “bowl lotus” might be grown in containers as small as one or two gallons. Bigger varieties will want bigger containers, and some massive ones are actually solely appropriate for pond plantings. It is simpler to discover a “large enough” container for lotus than for water lilies, since many lotus varieties are pleased in very shallow water. With water lilies for container gardening, a big potted plant will get sunk in a container of water giant sufficient to cowl the planting pot by at the very least six inches. A lotus, however, might have solely a pair inches of water above the soil stage, so meaning tons extra room for soil and roots in a given container.
Lotus tubers are solely obtainable seasonally, as they’re almost unimaginable to ship as soon as they break dormancy in late spring. Now’s a time for looking on-line picks and searching for good gross sales on giant no-hole containers. I just like the double-wall plastic containers for his or her attractiveness and light-weight sturdiness. In the event you change your thoughts about utilizing the container for water gardening down the road, drill just a few drainage holes via the underside.
I discovered nice costs and even higher recommendation at a sale this yr from Texas Water Lilies. Utilizing their planting pointers, I put a bigger lotus (‘Pink Fairly Princess Payton’) in a 22-inch container, and it changed into this huge bloom machine! The compact selection (‘Chawan Basu’) that I put into an 18-inch container has plenty of leaves however no blooms but. Possibly it is ready to bloom till after it has crammed the container with roots. Subsequent yr, I will strive some “bowl lotus” varieties in smaller two or three gallon containers and see what occurs.
Hardiness might be tough to estimate when vegetation are in containers relatively than within the floor or in a pond. I made a decision to hedge my wager by digging my containers partway into the bottom. I dug my gap, positioned my pot, leveled it, and continued to verify the extent whereas filling in across the edges with unfastened filth. To verify the extent, put a straight board throughout the highest of the pot, and use a carpenter’s stage on the board. If you do not have a stage, use a glass of water on the board and eyeball it. Lean on the sting of the pot to regulate the extent, then agency up the filth across the sides of the pot.
When your container is chock-full of water, you will be glad you took the time to get it as near completely stage as doable. I’ve heavy clay soil, so as soon as I received that pot positioned and full of water, I knew it wasn’t going wherever!
That very same heavy clay soil is a perfect planting medium for lotus & waterlily tubers. (Who knew clay might be excellent?) Lilies do fantastic in pure clay, however for lotus you wish to fill your pot with one thing nearer to river backside soil, a mixture of clay and sand and good backyard filth. Fill your pot about ¾ stuffed with soil, leaving a number of inches on the prime for water. Lotus tubers are usually lengthy and knobby. They have to be planted cross-wise within the pot, not up and down like a carrot. Do not plant your tuber too deeply, or it will not discover its method out of the filth. You may even simply lay the tuber on the floor of the soil and put a fist-sized rock on prime to maintain it from floating.
Fill the container with water, and you’ll suppose you will have an unattractive container of muddy water. It’s going to be engaging to mosquitoes, although, so add a bit of mosquito dunk or just a few mosquito management granules. Give it just a few hours, and the filth will settle. Quickly, little leaves will sprout and make their option to the floor. They will get larger and larger, and a few leaf stalks will attain excessive out of the pot. When the leaves are as massive as your hand (and never earlier than), stick two or three pond plant fertilizer tablets down into the mud. You should definitely use the particular tablets made for aquatic vegetation; different fertilizers might be damaging. Add a pair extra fertilizer tablets each month or so for vigorous development.
You will love the leaves in your lotus plant. They make a putting assertion all on their very own, catching your eye from the opposite facet of the yard. After the rain, or when watering, you should definitely discover the exceptional method water droplets sit on the leaves. They appear like little drops of mercury, and so they skitter at a contact. The blooms, nevertheless, are what is going to take your breath away! Monumental, elegant buds unfold into an unique sculpture of petals round a novel middle. When the petals drop, that middle matures into the lotus pods that floral designers love to make use of in dried preparations.
Like different hardy perennials, lotus vegetation enter dormancy in late summer time or early fall. Their leaves fade or flip crispy, and you might suppose your vegetation are dying. No worries! They’re simply getting their magnificence relaxation. Repot them in recent filth subsequent spring, and so they’ll sprout up once more, all fats and sassy and prepared for an additional summer time of spectacular blooms.
Possibly I had newbie’s luck this summer time, however I’ll positively be holding my eye out for good offers on massive containers and ordering extra lotus tubers subsequent spring. Give these straightforward beauties a strive!
An enormous Thank You! to my nephew, Johnathon, whose pictures actually captured the play of sunshine on the lotus bloom and leaf.