Growing Lotus Plant in Containers at Apartments
Most on the population in various countries lives in apartments. Which means having your dream garden is difficult. But not anymore!!! I bring in front of you the steps of having a small pond in your apartment Balcony/Porch. Yes! You read it right. All you need are – -
- Lotus Seeds (available at Ebay.com, Amazon, aliexpress.com .etc)
· A big Tub (20-24 inches in diameter and 12 – 15 in height)
· Black/Red/Clayey soil
· Small Bowl (10-15 inches in diameter and 2-3 inches in height). (SHOULD BE CIRCULAR BOWL)
· Manure/Vermi-compost/rose mix/Fertilizer Tabs/Liquid fertiliser.
· Gravel/Pebbles (Optional).
Introduction to Lotus Plant
The lotus is a beautiful water plant with round bluish green leaves held well above the water. They vary in size from the miniature Chinese noodle bowl lotus, which has flowers the size of a watch face, to huge standard size plants which can stand 6-7 feet above the water surface. The flowers open mid-morning and close mid-afternoon. Each flower lasts three days before the petals fall away revealing a distinctive seed pod. The pods continue to grow another 6 weeks until double in size. Flower colours are combinations of white, pink, red and yellow. Newly planted lotus will not always flower the first year. The chances of flowering are better if the early summer season is very warm and sunny. Lotus grows in zones 4-10. Most hybrids are developed from species native to East India.
Phase 1: Germinating Lotus Seeds
Germinating lotus seeds can be a tricky job. Lotus seed is covered with hard coating which will NOT let water pass into it. (In nature the seed takes 100 years or so to sprout). To speed up the process, we need to remove a small bit of that outer coat to let water pass into the embryo. To do that, I used a sharp knife. Cut off a small bit of outer (dark brown) coat to reveal some cream colour cotyledon (Don’t do that too much, you may hurt the seed). After doing so, put the seeds in a container of water and wait. Change the water once every day. After 3 days, your seeds will swell up almost 2 times. And after 2 more days, you can find that the seeds will split and green shoots will be emerging. And, for 2-3 weeks, place them in different long jars. They will grow really fast.
Phase 2: Potting
After 1 month or so, the plant is ready to be planted in its pot. Fill the smaller bowl half with clayey/Black soil and press it hard. Make a hole in the middle and plant the seed in it. Spread some manure/rose mix around the seed and cover the entire pot with thick layer of sand. Place some stones/pebbles for good look and place it in the bigger tub. Fill the tub with water. Make sure that the temperature outside DO NOT drop below, 15 degree Celsius before planting them outside. Lotus love heat and sunshine. So, place them in a sunny and hot spot. Place them at a place in your porch where they will get at least 4-5 hours of direst sunshine. (More sunshine – better growth).
Phase 3: Maintenance
The first spring leaves to appear will float on the water surface. Active growth begins when water temperature reaches 35 degree Celsius. After some 4-5 months of hot sunshine, probably the lotus will begin to send up leaves which will stand above the water surface.
In the winter you can store you lotus in an unheated garage, a greenhouse or drop it to the deepest part of your pond (the tuber cannot be allowed to freeze). After the last frost the next spring, the lotus should be lifted from the pond or moved from the garage and placed in a sunny, warm & protected location to begin its seasonal growth. When the plant has developed its aerial leaves & the pond again reaches 70 degrees, you can return the lotus to the pond.
(If the temperatures at your area do not go below 15 degrees Celsius at night times, you need not let your lotus go for dormant stage.)
Feeding is not necessary for 3-4 months after the planting. As soon as lotus starts sending aerial leaves, use fertilizer tabs very carefully. (As too much fertilizer might burn the plant).