Lotus tubers vary widely in size and appearance depending on the type. Rhizomes, or tubers, from ornamental varieties are usually small and may be no larger than a pencil in diameter while some of the edible varieties have very large tubers.
Dr. Tian harvests edible lotus tubers from a dormant lotus
A healthy tuber is usually firm to the touch with one or more growing tips for leaves and flowers. Be very careful when handling the tuber because breaking the growing tips will slow the growth of your lotus and in some cases will keep it from growing at all. The tuber should not be allowed to freeze.
If you plant your lotus in a pot with holes and drop it into your ornamental pond there is a good chance that the lotus will escape through the holes and grow to fill a large portion of your pond.
Our lotus are all intended for ornamental use. Please do not plant them in open water unless you want them to fill the entire area.
How to Plant Lotus
Put several inches of good topsoil – just plain dirt - into the pot. This topsoil can be purchased in bags at a garden center or dug from your pond bottom or yard. Do not use potting soil; it is too light and will float and foam when water is added and the lotus rhizomes tend to float when planted in it.
Add enough water to raise the water level to about 2-3” above the soil.
Place the tuber into the mud with the growing tips pointed up (see video at top of Lotus Information page.) Chinese growers leave the 'tail', the cut end, of the lotus tuber above water for a few days. Try not to cover the growing tips completely with soil. In a few days the true roots, small hair-like projections, will grow and anchor the tuber into the soil.
Place the pot in a warm, sunny area. Be sure to replace the water as it evaporates.
The growing tips will soon give way to the first small leaves, called coin leaves. These leaves will float on the surface of the water as they begin the process of photosynthesis to help provide energy for the plant to grow. Within a few days the first aerial leaf will emerge from the water. At this time you can begin to raise the level of the water in the pot. When the weather outside has warmed up and chances of freezing have passed your lotus can be placed on your patio or put into your pond, preferably in full sun. Remember to plant the smaller varieties of lotus in shallower water than large varieties.
Once aerial leaves appear begin to fertilize the lotus.
Coin leaf emerges with furled leaf.
The coin leaves are small and float on the water.
Aerial leaves rise above the water.
Containers for Planting Lotus
Any water-tight rounded container with no holes is acceptable for growing lotus. The size of the pot is determined by the type of lotus you are growing with larger varieties requiring larger pots. The mature size of a lotus will be affected by the size of the pot in which it grows. Using a bigger pot allows more room for rhizhome production, thus resulting in more and larger leaves and flowers. Larger pots will encourage the lotus to grow to the larger extreme for their variety. Planting the same lotus in a healthy pond environment will allow it to reach its full potential resulting in a plant much larger than if it had been planted in a small pot. Lotus classified as Exquisites of Bowl Lotus are prized for their ability to grow in the smallest pots, producing miniature lotus that can be brought inside easily for a day or two when they are in bloom.
Suggested pot sizes are:
Exquisite of Bowl lotus: pot less than 11" in diameter
Small or Bowl lotus – pot 15” or less in diameter
Dwarf lotus – 16-20 “ in diameter
Medium lotus – 18-30” in diameter
Large lotus – 24-48” in diameter
The round container allows the runners of the lotus to grow around the bottom of the pot in a circular pattern instead of getting jammed into a corner.