Lotus is a graceful water plant used in many landscaping water features and Koi ponds. The flower is related to the water lily, but the rooting system is quite different. The water lily grows from either a bulb or rhizome, while the lotus grows from a delicate tuber. To successfully grow a beautiful lotus flower, the tubers must be handled with great care while planting. Flowers bloom on 3- to 4-foot stalks from the floating leaves. The blooms normally last about a week.
Choose a location in your pond that receives a full day of sun, otherwise the flowers will not bloom. The water should not be flowing in the area you are going to place the plant.
Use a lotus container found in gardening stores or find a pan that is at least 12 inches long by 9 inches wide by 6 inches deep. Mix 1 part garden soil to 1 part top soil and fill the pan 4 inches deep with the amended soil. Place the pan on a heating pad set to the low setting and warm the soil.
Lay the tuber on the soil with the eye facing up. You will be able to see a spot or spots where leaves once came from the tuber, this is the eye. The eye must not be covered with soil or gravel. Place a flat stone on top of the tuber to hold it in place and cover with the amended soil, keeping the eye protruding.
Cover with a 2-inch layer of pea gravel to hold the soil in place and to add weight to the pan. Set the pan in a sunny area.
Add 2 inches of water to the pan. Keep the soil evenly moist at this level until you start to see leaves sprouting from the eye, then add 2 more inches of water. Once the plant is established and the pond water is at least 75 degrees F, you can start to place your lotus plant in the water.
Stack some heavy flower pots upside down or use cinder blocks in the pond to hold the pan to 2 inches under the water. Once the leaf reaches the top of the water, lower the pan another 2 inches. After another week, lower the pan to a depth of 9 to 10 inches depending on the variety of lotus.
Stick new fertilizer tablets into the soil every 3 weeks during the growing season. Follow manufacturer's recommendations as to how many to use per type of lotus.