Caring for Lotus Plants in Your Lotus Pond
Lotus plants have been referred to as the "jewels of the garden" for their fabulous explosion of colorful flowers during the summer months. Though relatively easy to grow, the best way to maintain the health of this beautiful pond flower is to follow these simple care guidelines.
Never plant your lotus directly into an earth bottomed pond. The prolific growth of the lotus will completely choke out any space in and on the water's surface. Once this extensive root system is in place, it will take massive amounts of effort to control.
To prevent this problem, purchase or plant your lotus in round pots with no drainage holes. The best type of pot is the plastic Tupperware type bin. Be sure to to use a round bin. If it's square, the lotus' roots can glob up in corners and choke itself to death.
Lotus plants love heat and sun, so you need to find a location that contains the best of both. 70 degrees and above is the best temperature to encourage healthy growth.
The pot should be placed deep enough so 2" to 3" of water covers the top of the pot and away from drastically moving water. They prefer the gentle flow and movement of water over the violent splashes and ripples of a pond fountain or garden water fall.
Koi love to eat lotus and if the fish is large enough, will kill the plant if they are not protected. To protect the root base of the plant, cover the potted soil with lava rock, the Koi don't like digging for their food.
Lotus need a significant amount of fertilizer to produce flowers.
Don't fertilize in the early spring months of April and May as it begins to prepare for summer growing. The first fertilization should be in June, using only 1/2 the recommended amount of fertilizer. Then in July, August, and September during the peak summer heat, use the full dose.
In October, the plant needs to start getting ready for winter. The best way to apply fertilizer is to purchase special water fertilizing tablets, found at most water gardening centers or online. Press the tablet up against the side of the pot and push it deep into the soil.
As the Lotus prepares for the winter months, the leaves will begin to yellow, then turn brown and die. It is best to allow them to fall off the plant naturally before cleaning the pond.
Doing it sooner risks leaving a tuber exposed. The tuber is the straw-like stem and when left open, water and other elements can get in which can choke the plant and kill it.
If these leaves are just too unsightly for you, don't snap them off in your effort to clean them up. Pinch the leaf off, then fold the stem over and secure it with a rubber band. The best time to clean up these dead leaves is to patiently wait for them to drop off naturally, then sweep them off the surface of the water in the spring before new growth begins.