Potting And Caring For Your Lotus

Your lotus will be packed in damp paper in a plastic bag with an identifying label. Carefully unpack it as soon as possible after arrival. The growing points on lotus plants, where the shoots emerge, are extremely fragile. If these snap off they will not re-sprout and if none of the growing points can sprout the plant will die, so please unwrap and handle your lotus with great care at all times.

The lotus should ideally be planted up immediately. If you can't do this, place it in a container of water, large enough to fully accommodate it, outside but in a frost-free place, until you are able to pot it up.

The lotus tuber should be planted in a round container, as the growing points may be damaged by growing into corners. Do not use an open mesh basket such as a traditional aquatic basket, as the growing points will get stuck in the holes in this - use a solid container. The growing container needs to be large - we 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 in spring more quickly.

Pot the lotus tuber in heavy loam or special aquatic soil. Add a slow-release fertiliser tablet to the soil. Place the tuber itself horizontally on the surface of the soil, with any shoots in an approximately upward position. Then add an inch or so of soil over it - enough soil to cover the the whitish tuber but not the shoots, so that when you add the water the tuber won't float, but will be held by the soil. Do not use a layer of gravel over the plant, as this will make it more difficult for shoots to come up. Then put 5cm (2 inches) of water over the soil – no more than this as the plants need as much sun and warmth as possible in order to put on sufficient growth to make tubers for next year. The plants do better in rain water than tap water. If the tuber floats up when you add the water, try to gently wriggle it back into the soil and add a little more soil over it until it is deep enough not to float.

As the plant grows, it will help it if you remove any excessive duckweed or thick blanketweed that grows around it, or basically anything that absorbs the sun's light and heat instead of that light and heat getting to the soil or the shoots.

Flowers appear August to September. During the winter leave the tuber where it is, below the frost line, and it will be fine.