Lotus - Water Garden Plants (2024)

Contrary to popular belief it is perfectly possible to grow some varieties of lotus outdoors all year, at least in the southern counties of the United Kingdom. We have been growing them outside here in East Anglia totally unprotected from frost since 1998. We experimented with different varieties until we found three which grow in our climate year after year. All the tubers we sell are our own, grown on the premises here.

They do however need specific growing conditions in order to succeed. It is important to understand that the difficulty with growing lotuses in the UK isour lack of summer heat. Lotuses have no problem with winter cold, but they do need a period of high temperatures in order to bloom and lay down tubers for the following year. So, if you are north of a line stretching from the Severn estuary to The Wash, if you are growing very near the coast, or if you are growing at high altitude, then theywill probably not get enough summer warmth to bloom and return the next year. If your garden is within this geographical area, then the right spot for them is somewhere very sunny and warm (at least 6 hours direct sunlight per day from April to late September) and sheltered, so that the heat is retained and the foliage is not damaged by strong winds - rather like the rules for growing tomatoes outdoors. A warm south-facing wall would be ideal.

If you like lotuses but your garden doesn't have anywhere suitable or you're too far north, you can grow them in a well-lit unheated polytunnel or greenhouse. They love the high summer temperatures these produce (although don't allow temperatures to exceed 35°C, since this is too hot even for lotuses). You can also grow them in a polytunnel or greenhouse for most of the year, to benefit from the higher temperatures, and then bring them outside at the height of summer. We have not done this ourselves, but it was done by an RHS garden when growing our lotuses in the north of England.

Lotusesalso need different pots from standard aquatic plants. They should always be planted in round containers,because the growing points may be damaged by growing into corners, and this damage can cause the plant to die. For the same reason, do not use open mesh baskets such as traditional aquatic baskets, as the growing points can get stuck in the holes in them and die - use solid containers. The growing container also needs to be large in order to encourage flowering - we would recommend something at least 45 - 90cm (18 - 36 inches) in diameter and at least 15cm (6 inches) deep. Black containers are best, as these absorb sunlight and warm up the plants more quickly. Because of these requirements, many people choose to plant their lotuses straight into very large round water-tightpotswhich in effect become a small pond in their own right. This also enables you to pick the exact perfect spot in the garden for them and, particularly if you are in a cooler location, means they will warm up more during the day than if they were in a traditional pond.

Lotus tubers are very brittle and fragile, especially around the growing points (the 'joints' where the shoots emerge). If a tuber snaps in two it will usually survive but will grow less well. However, if it snaps again it will usually die, so unwrap and handle your lotus with great care at all times. Plant the lotus in heavy clay loam or, if this is not available,shop-bought aquatic soil. Place the tuber horizontally just under the soil - the tuber itself should be buried (otherwise it will float) but the top of the shootswill be poking out. Thenplace it so that there is 5cm (2 inches) of water overthe soil and no more - the plants need as much sun and warmth as possible in order to put on sufficient growth to make tubers for next year, and this is only achieved if they are just under the water surface. When you see emergent leaves, carefully pusha couple of slow-release fertiliser tablets into the soil under the tuber (we supply these with the plant).Flowers appearJulyto September, depending on how warm a summer we get (in a cool summer the plant may not flower at all; in a hot summer it will flower more).During the winterleave the tuber where it is and it will be fine.It does not need extra protection from frost nor to come into a greenhouse or garage.

Please note there is only a short window to ship lotus tubers - usually two or three weeks somewhere between early March and late April, depending on the weather. This is because a tuber has to be visibly sprouting before it can be sold (to confirm that it is a living tuber with growing points) but as the shoots grow further the plant becomes simply too delicate to package and post.

We usually have many more people wanting lotuses than we can supply; if you would like to buy one we would recommend putting yourself on the 'waiting list' by clicking the notification link on each plant's page. We will offer plants first to those people who have been waiting on the list for the longest. Alternatively, when it gets too late in the year to wait for people on the list to let us know if they want a lotus, we will sometimes put the last ones directly up on the website.

Lotus - Water Garden Plants (1) Lotus - Water Garden Plants (2) Lotus - Water Garden Plants (3)

Lotus - Water Garden Plants (2024)


Do lotus plants clean water? ›

Natural Filtration: Lotus plants help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and toxins, making them a natural choice for ornamental ponds.

Are lotus plants good for pond? ›

Lotuses require lots of sunlight — preferably five to six hours a day. Few plants lend a more enchanting touch to the garden than the water lotus. Its dramatic leaves and fragrant blooms strike a dramatic pose in any pond or water feature — so much so that often all that's needed is one plant to enjoy the full impact.

How long do water lotus flowers last? ›

Lotuses are day-blooming plants, opening early in the morning and closing by mid-afternoon. They completely close up at night. This bloom pattern continues throughout their lifespan, which is typically 3 to 5 days. On the third day, the petals begin to fall, leaving behind their seedpod.

Do lotus plants filter water? ›

This experiment has shown that lotus plants grown in production systems or partition pond systems can efficiently reduce nutrients and sediment, improving the water quality.

What is the difference between a pond lily and a lotus flower? ›

Both are pond blooming plants that emerge from rhizomes and share a rich color palette, but there are some easy ways to tell them apart: Water lily flowers and leaves are thick and waxy while the lotus' are thin and papery. A water lily also has a recognizable notch in each leaf.

What if a pond has 40 lotus plants last year? ›

If in a pond there are 40 Lotus plants last year and through reproduction 16 new plants are added, taking the current population to 56, then the birth rate will be (56−40)/40=0.4.

What is difference between water lily and lotus? ›

Lily leaves are typically resting just at water level, while lotus leaves are elevated above the water's surface. At a distance, the easiest way to tell them apart is by their leaves. Lily leaves rest on the water, while lotus leaves are always growing up over the water.

Does water lotus need soil? ›

And good soil is essential in making sure your new lotus roots thrive rather than rot! Be sure to have a mixture rich in sand and clay with little organic matter. Regular potting soil is rich in organic material and will float to the top of your pot or pond rather than settle to the bottom.

Do lotus plants spread? ›

Although American lotus regularly produces seeds, it spreads mainly through its thick rhizomes that grow along the pond bottom. Despite its ornamental qualities, American lotus should not be introduced into most fishing ponds. Lotus spreads rapidly in shallow water and can soon completely cover a pond.

How tall do lotus plants get? ›

Standard lotus cultivars can grow 5' or taller. In order to do this, and to also maximize the size and frequency of bloom, they should be potted into a container a minimum of 2' across. A container of 3'-5' across will create a striking display specimen.

What eats water lotus? ›

The large acorn like seeds of American lotus are utilized by some ducks and other wildlife. Beavers and muskrats will consume the rhizomes. Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates.

Are water lotus invasive? ›

It is considered invasive due to the large, dense colonies it can produce if released into natural areas from cultivation.

How do you start a lotus pond? ›

To make a lotus pond, start by digging a hole in a sunny spot that's at least 8 inches deep. If you live somewhere with cold winters, make the pond at least 32 inches deep so it's below frost level. Next, line the pond with a synthetic rubber liner, and fill it with 4 inches of sand, clay, and fertilizer.

Does lotus oxygenate water? ›

The leaves and roots of lotus plants can: Absorb excess nutrients like nitrates and phosphates from the water. This helps control algae growth that can be harmful to fish. Release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis during the day.

What plant can purify water? ›

Several aquatic plants have been used in water purification and wastewater treatment. Among die most widely used are cattails, totora, water hyacinth, and duckweed.

What are the benefits of lotus in water? ›

Lotus Water Skin Benefits

It is a restorative and toxin-absorbing plant packed with antioxidants. Lotus flower contains “Kaempferol,” a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from damage caused by free radicals and helps regulate and balance your skin.

Do lotus plants oxygenate water? ›

This is not to be confused with when a lotus stalk breaks and water enters the hollow channels.


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