“Master the Art of Growing Lotus Seeds at Home”
If you’re an aspiring gardener with an interest in exotic and mesmerizing plants, a lotus plant can be an intriguing addition to your green space. Not only does the lotus have significant symbolic importance in various cultures, but it’s also a fascinating plant to nurture and watch grow. This guide will walk you through the process of growing your own lotus plant from seeds.
Understanding the Lotus Plant
The lotus plant, scientifically identified as Nelumbo nucifera, is an aquatic perennial, often cultivated for its mesmerizing blooms and bold leaves. Beside its natural beauty, in different cultures, especially Asian, lotus symbolizes purity, divinity, and spiritual awakening. They flourish in the wild within calm freshwater habitats that receive plenty of sunlight.
It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the nature of the lotus plant before you attempt to grow one. This will help you provide the appropriate conditions for its growth and optimize its development. You can grow lotus plants directly in small ponds, or if space is a problem, try using large, water-tight containers or pots.
The Right Way to Prepare the Lotus Seeds
Preparing the lotus seeds is an integral part of the germination process. With a metallic file or a grinder, scratch the seed coat until you can see the whitish core on the inside. This process, known as scarification, creates an opening in the seed coat to facilitate water absorption. Be careful not to damage the core inside, or else the seed will not germinate.
Next, drop the seeds in warm water. You should change the water daily to prevent rotting, and within a week, you may expect to see sprouts appearing from the seeds. It’s important to note that not all seeds will germinate, so don’t be disheartened if some don’t sprout.
Planting the Germinated Seeds
When the sprouts are around 4 inches long, they’re ready for planting. You should plant them in pots, at least 10 inches in diameter, filled with around 6 inches of topsoil. Follow this with a small layer of sand or finely gravelled soil to prevent soil particles from muddling the water. Placement of the sprouted seed should be such that the sprout stands upward, while the seed is buried just beneath the soil surface.
Now, gently pour distilled water into the pot until it’s about 2 inches above the soil surface. Try to maintain this water level throughout the growing phase. It’s best to place the pots in a sunny, outdoor spot where they will receive at least 6 hours of sunshine each day.
Caring for Your Lotus Plant
Once planted, the lotus plant requires minimal care. However, you should always keep an eye on the water level in the pot and replenish when necessary. It’s also important to avoid letting the water freeze during winter. Lotus plants typically don’t need fertilization until the leaf-stem stand, or petioles, start emerging above the water.
Once you spot small leaves floating on the water surface, carefully introduce water-soluble lotus-specific fertilizer for additional nutrients. At this growing phase, the lotus plant may start demanding more sunlight, around 8-10 hours per day, to bloom efficiently.
Overwintering Your Lotus Plant
If you live in an area where the winters are cold, you’ll need to take steps to ensure your lotus survives the season. One option is to relocate the lotus pot indoors to an unheated garage or shed during the coldest months. If this isn’t possible, cover the surface of the pond or container with a few inches of straw or other insulating material to prevent freezing.
When spring arrives, and temperatures stabilize, you can return your lotus plants to their usual place. You might need to repot them in fresh soil, ensuring that they are not crowded and have room for growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can all types of lotus be grown from seeds?
Yes, all species of the lotus can germinate from seeds. However, hybrid varieties usually not reproduce true to type and may give unexpected results. Therefore, if you want a specific hybrid lotus, it’s better to purchase tubers instead.
2. How long does it take for a lotus plant to flower?
From seed, a lotus plant can take 2 to 3 years before it produces flowers. However, once the plant is established, it will bloom every year, typically from early summer through to early fall, depending on climate conditions.
3. How often should I change the water in my lotus container?
Initially, when seeds are trying to germinate, changing the water daily helps prevent them from rotting. Once the lotus plant is placed in a pot with soil, though, you usually only need to top up the water level as it evaporates or gets absorbed by the plant.