How to grow a lotus in your garden

How to grow a lotus in your garden

Payel Mukherjee Payel Mukherjee
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Whether you have a garden pond or manicured lawn, it will look unfinished without a lotus plant. With dancing pink and white petals and leaves catching the dew, a blooming lotus is a sight that brings serenity to our thoughts! Rather than buying one, it’s great to know how to grow a lotus on your own.

Historically, we’ve always been inclined to place objects in our home that have a symbolic value in our life. Rising from murky waters, a lotus symbolizes us overcoming obstacles in life. It stands as an inspiration suggesting that you can have a pure, beautiful and sincere heart, overcoming the gloom from which you have risen. Even the leaves, which don’t hold water signify that we don’t let troubles stay too long.

The lotus embodies religious and cultural significance in many communities. Also called the ‘Lian Hua’ in Chinese, it is a universal symbol of purity and enlightenment. Many Feng Shui masters believe that the flower brings good fortune, turns bad luck to good luck and heightens your sense of joy and peace.

Have you been wondering how to grow lotus? Many people choose to directly buy lotus plants from a local nursery as the plant requires quite a bit of patience (another virtue!) to tend and grow. But a true gardener knows in his heart that there is no bigger pleasure than watching a seed sprout the first sign of life, showering it with love and watching it grow into a wonderful plant. With a little time and care, here is how you can grow lotus from seed. Enjoy!

Lotus seed preparation

You can get lotus seeds from your local nursery. Though most label the color of the lotus, you may not really know the shade for sure until that bud blooms. You can also check on the age of the seeds. Typically the plant will grow fine even if the seeds are 2-3 years old. The next step is to choose which seeds you want to use. Not all seeds are made equal. Check for your seed to be nice and big in size with no cuts or blemishes. Avoid the thin and skinny ones as they may not have the nutritional content to support a healthy plant. Compare the seeds side by side to know the difference.

Next, use a file or a bench grinder to file the tip of the seed. Put a scratch towards the top node of the seed. Rub the end with sandpaper. Then hold the seed with a plier and use the other to remove the outer shell covering from the part your scratched to expose the white inner seed. If you do your lotus seed preparation right, you will be able to see 4 layers on the seed – the outer black shell, the inner light brown shell, the dark brown layer and the small white core from where the germination will take place.

If you are a rookie, be sure to get a few extra seeds as it will take some practice to cut them right. Doing this in with a bench grinder will take just about a minute but you’ll need to be very careful not to overexpose the seed or get your hand stuck. To grow lotus from seed the good old fashioned way will take a bit of time and effort but can be done with patience and care.

Place in a cup of water for 1-2 weeks

Place the seed in a cup of water where it is completely submerged. Do not use boiled water – just regular water will do. Here are some important lotus growing tips for your next steps. When you drop the seeds in water, check whether they sink or float. Good seeds will sink and bad seeds will float. There is a 90% chance that a floating seed will not sprout. Leave the bowl in a place where it catches sunlight and replenish the water a couple of times.

In two days you’ll notice that the seeds have bloated to almost double their size. Rub off any mold you see on the seed’s surface. And viola! Nature’s magic takes over and you see the first sign of life that has been hiding inside all along. A small green sprout is visible in 36 hours or less after you’ve dropped the seed in the water.

Wait until 3 leaves appear

Now that the magic has begun, you need to wait and watch as the small sprout grows into a stem. Don’t forget to change the water frequently and expose the water to sunlight. At this stage, the plant doesn’t require any fertilizers. The seed in itself is a reservoir of nutrients which will support the plant’s growing needs. In a couple of weeks, you’ll start to notice the leaves sprouting from the stem. It amazing to see how such a tiny patch of green can take such a huge space in your heart.

Once you see the leaves growing well, the clear white roots and the runner, it is the time you shift your lotus plant to its permanent home.

This lovely sight is a creation of Wasserpflanzen Appenzeller based in Uedem, Germany.

Plant it in bucket with mud and water

You can now shift your prized procession into a bucket or a garden lotus pond where it can find a new home that fits its size requirements. If you are choosing the sacred lotus, your container or garden lotus pond should be at least 2 feet in diameter and 1 and ½ feet in depth.

This home should have mud at the bottom and water on top in a 1:3 ratio. Even better if you can find clay and fill the container with around 9 inches of it. Place the tuber into the mud with the growing tips pointed up so that the leaves come to settle and float on the surface.

Place it in the sun

Lotuses love the sun. In Egyptian mythology, a lotus is associated with the sun as it blooms by the day and closes at night. Lotus loves a warm weather and needs to be exposed at least six hours of sunlight every day. You’ll soon start seeing more leaves and a few which will have strong stems and stand out of the water.

Wait until next year

Lotuses that start from the seed are less likely to bloom in the first year. In the meanwhile, you’ll need to ensure the leaves don’t take over your container. With proper sunlight, good lotus growing tips, the right season, perfect care and some good luck you should be able to have a handful of blooms smiling at you soon!

More more delightful outdoor ideas see Get your garden ready for March.

Are you a big lotus fan? Have you any gardening tips for us? Let us know in the comments!
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