DSC06381Lotus are hardy water plants that thrive in the garden pond!  Their round light green leaves rise above the water’s surface and make a nice light green to blueish-green backdrop for their stunning cupped blooms in Summer.  Blossoms can be pink, yellow, red, white or a combination.  Although they look like a tropical plant they are actually cold hardy as far north as Alaska!  They will survive a cold winter as long as their tubers (roots) do not freeze.  In colder climates or harsh winters lotus will be best protected in the deepest part of the pond.

shutterstock_182813195Lotus Care

Once you get your Lotus home, you’ll want to place it in a mostly sunny place in your pond.  They will tolerate some dappled shade as well.  Pots should be placed in at least 2-3” of water and no deeper than 24”.

Lotus need fertilization every 3-4 weeks while it’s growing. This will help the plants get the most nutrients and ensure the best blooms.  It’s important to use only fertilizer tabs for water plants – other fertilizers are not intended for aquatic plants.  Stop fertilizing in fall when the plants will start preparing for the winter season.  Don’t fertilize again until the plants break dormancy in spring.  You’ll see the leaves starting to grow back (move it from the deeper water that kept it safe over winter to the appropriate depth) and when leaves are about the size of your hand you’ll want to start feeding again. Each spring lotus will also benefit greatly from re-potting.

Lotus History & Lore

Various parts of the lotus are used in Asian cuisine & medicine.  In fact it’s always been an important part of Asian cultures.  The lotus flower has been widely used as a divine symbol in Asia for centuries – being present in nearly every culture and religion on the continent.  Many deities of Asian religions are depicted with the lotus flower.  It is also a prominent part of many ancient spiritual writings, poems and songs.  According to Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body and mind – floating above muddy waters of attachment and desire. It also shows itself in the Christian religion as the base of the St. Thomas cross, as St. Thomas is believed to be the apostle that brought Christianity to India.