How to Store Lotus in Winter

How do I prepare my lotus plants for winter?

Need to get your lotus plants ready for winter? 

Hardy lotus are cyclic plants that go dormant in winter when temperatures are cooler and hours of sunlight are reduced as the days become shorter. Here are several methods that will allow you to safely store, protect and preserve your lotus until next growing season. Choose the method best suited to your climate and the storage facilities available to you.

  1. Pond Storage
    Do you have a garden pond that does not freeze solid during the winter? Remove dead and dried leaves from the lotus and drop the pot to the floor of your pond. Raise the pot again in the spring.
  2. Pot Storage
    If your climate is moderate you can simply leave your lotus pot where it is. Water is a great insulator so keep the pot full during the winter. Do not add fertilizer when the plant is dormant. If you feel that your pot is not safe outside move it into a garage or basement for protection from extreme weather. Pour out the water to make it easier to move. Place against an inside wall and refill with water. Remember to replace water as it evaporates. No light is necessary during the winter. Another way to keep the lotus pot safe through the winter is to dig a hole the size of the pot. Drop the pot is the hole and fill in around the sides with soil. Cover the pot with cloth and put several inches of mulch on top. Add water to the top of the mulch occasionally to keep the soil from drying out completely. Remove mulch and cloth once temperatures increase in early spring.
  3. Tuber Harvest and Storage
    Don’t have room to store the whole pot? Potted lotus can usually be harvested in late fall and the tubers stored until you are ready to plant them in the spring. The new tubers that you will harvest will be found coiled around the bottom of the pot. Tip the pot upside down and gently allow the entire contents of the pot to fall out leaving what was on the bottom of the pot face up. Use a water hose to wash away most of the soil. There may be several tubers large enough to cut and save for next year. Each section that you cut should have at least two growing tips (located at the nodes) and two swollen sections of tuber (internodes). Cut in the middle of the third internode. Wash the cut tubers carefully to remove soil. Prepare a solution of 1 tablespoon Clorox mixed with 1 gallon of water. Place tubers in the Clorox solution and let them soak for about an hour. Remove tubers and store in cool, dark area until spring. Tubers may be placed in a closed Ziploc plastic bag and stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. Other growers prefer to wrap the tubers in sphagnum moss and store them in a dark, unheated storage area with cool but not freezing temperatures. Be careful not to break growing tips!

Almost all lotus pots should be harvested at least once every three years to avoid overcrowding. Once a pot becomes overcrowded the leaves and flowers will become smaller. Flowering becomes less frequent.