Lotus plants add interest to water gardens and ponds in the landscape because of their large floating leaves and large, multi-petaled blooms in shades of white, pink and lavender. Lotus require minimal sunlight to thrive, making them suitable for ponds located in shaded areas. Lotus grow from a root section called a rhizome, which has buds or growing tips along one side. Lotus can be planted directly in the pond bottom if it has a soil bottom, but planting in containers makes it easier to move and care for the plants.
Fill a 32-quart pond basket with a garden soil or other heavy soil sold for planting submerged pond plants. Pond baskets are specially made plant pots that have openings throughout the sides and bottom.
Place the lotus rhizome on top of the soil in the basket so that the buds or growing tips are facing up. Cover with 1 inch of soil and then cover with an additional 1 inch of gravel. The gravel helps hold the soil in the basket.
Set the basket in the water so it is 4 inches beneath the water surface. Place in shallower areas of the pond or place rocks or bricks under the basket to elevate to the proper height in deeper areas.
Fertilize at the time of planting with 4 oz. of 5-10-5 fertilizer per cubic foot of soil in the basket. Use fertilizer tablets made for pond plants. Push the recommended number of tablets into the soil so they are at least 1 inch beneath the soil surface. Fertilize a second time at midsummer.