Lotus can easily be grown in backyard pond or water container
In Buddhism the lotus represents purity of body, speech and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire -- pretty heady stuff for a plant that prefers to grow in the thick mud of shallow ponds, lakes and drainage ditches throughout greater
One need not travel to
Lotuses come in three sizes: large, semi-dwarf and dwarf. They are vigorous growers, and the large varieties require a lot of space. For patio smaller spaces or and backyard water features, dwarf varieties are the way to go.
Recently, I learned how more about these exquisite plants from
The first step is to select a container that can hold water. The lotus plant will remain in a 6-inch pot that is placed in the container of water, so the container needs to be deep enough to allow the lotus pot to sit about 4 to 5 inches below the surface of the water.
Lotuses love warm water to get growing in the spring, but as the summer progresses they prefer to sit in water that does not get hot. Richard recommended using bricks in the spring to raise the plant's pot closer to the surface where the water is warm. Then remove bricks as the season progresses and the plant starts growing.
After the lotus is positioned in the container, add one or two other aquatic plants for interest. Richard explained that aquatic marginal plants -- i.e., plants that naturally grow at the sides of ponds -- are perfect companion plants for lotus in a container. We chose a water chestnut and a corkscrew rush. These plants, also in pots, were positioned in the container alongside the dwarf lotus and propped up with bricks as well.
The next step is to add a 1-inch layer of pea gravel on top of the soil of each plant to prevent the soil from washing out of the pot and clouding up the water in the container.
Next, water is added, and -- voila! -- the perfect water garden for a small space.
Remember to build your container in place, as once the water is added it will be too heavy to move, and be sure to choose a spot with at least six hours of direct sun. Lotuses are heavy feeders, and you will need to feed your plant two to three times each month during the growing season by adding fertilizer tablets to the soil.
If your container is large enough, add a goldfish or two to keep mosquitoes from using your water garden as a maternity ward. (For smaller containers, add a few guppies.) If adding fish isn't your thing, a floating biological control called a mosquito dunk will work as well.
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