Light and heat: Lotus will handle some shade, especially in warmer climates, but to grow and bloom their best they prefer full sunlight. Except in hot desert climates, where some shade cloth is desirable. Lotus require temperatures of at least 75° F. for at least three months in summer to do well.
Potting: Lotus can easily grow 5’ tall or even taller (Large Varieties) Even small/dwarf varieties will grow 3’-4’ tall. Starting with the right size container is important for growth and bloom production. Lotus should be potted in a container without holes, at least 15”-16” in diameter and no more than 10” high.
Using a heavy loam/topsoil either sandy or clay (a mix of clay and sand is ideal). Do not use potting soil, house plant or garden mix. Only 4”- 5” of soil is required in the pot. Add enough water so the soil raises a couple of inches or so. Mix the water and soil together until it forms a good muddy mixture. Place tuber on top of the soil with growing tips up, cover main tuber body with 1” of soil. Leave the growing tips and cut end exposed. Place container in a sunny warm spot.
In the 1st week the tuber will produce small hair like spurs that will grow and hold the tuber in the soil.
Growing tips will soon develop small leaves (coin leaves) that float on the water and begin the photosynthesis to supply the tuber with energy to grow. Need to keep at least 2” of water over the top of the tuber. After a few days, the lotus will grow the 1st aerial leaf which will soon stand above the water, when you have 2-3 aerial leaves you can fertilize your lotus and increase the water level above the tuber.
Fertilizer: Use Pondtabbs aquatic plant fertilizer or Nutra Pond slow-release fertilizer and follow the instructions. Lotus grow vigorously, use double the amount of fertilizer per gallon of soil that the label recommends for hardy waterlilies. In late summer/autumn, stop fertilizing so that lotus can exhaust the fertilizer in their pot in preparation for dormancy.
Water depth: Always have at least 2” - 4” of water over the top of the soil. Tall/Large lotus can grow in water up to 18” deep or even deeper in very warm climates, but the lotus will expend more energy to send growth up and slow budding/blooming. In spring and in cool climates lotus benefit from the extra warmth in shallow water. Dwarf lotus should be grown with water 2” to 12” over the pot.
Water chemistry: Lotus adapt extremely well to different water types but react badly to extremely hard water. Lotus do not tolerate much over 1000 ppm water hardness.
Pruning: When pruning or trimming, never cut flower or leaf stems below the water level, as roots and tubers use stems (even dead ones) to help provide oxygen. In the winter, trim spent leaves but leave the stalk intact.
Overwintering: All Lotus go dormant but will over-winter in ponds even in Michigan or Minnesota, if the tubers are below the depth of the ice or move the Lotus into a frost-protected area (garage). If you pull your lotus container out of the pond and place it in full sun in the spring (after frost danger is over), your lotus will wake up faster for a jump start to the season.