The Q&A Archives: Lotus Vine

Question: My mother doesn't have computer and wanted me to find some info on Lotus Vines, care of them and the different kinds there are I hope you can help us we have had no luck yet from anyone. Thank you

Answer: Perhaps you're having trouble locating information because Lotus Vine is the common name for both 'Parrot's Beak' and Nelumbo, a water plant. Parrots Beak is a trailing perennial with stems 2'-3' long, thickly covered with silvery gray foliage and very narrow 1-" long scarlet blossoms. The plants bloom in June and July, then die back when the weather turns cold. It grows best in full sun or part afternoon shade, in well-drainng soil.

Lotus, or Nelumbo, are water plants. You will need a wide, shallow container for these plants. They have extensive root systems and like a lot of room. Consider carefully before you place a lotus tuber in the ground of a natural bottom pond. They can be very invasive and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to control.

Handle your tuber carefully as they are fragile and can be easily damaged. Use the same type of soil that you use for lilies -- heavy garden soil or a garden soil/clay mix. Do not use artificial soil as it will float out of the pot and cloud the water.

Fill the planting container with soil and then make a depression approximately 2 inches deep in the middle of the pot.

Place the tuber in the soil with the thickest portion so that it will ultimately be covered with about two inches of soil. Place it with the smaller end, the growing tip, pointing up and out of the soil.

Like lilies, lotus will not grow if this tip is not exposed to water at all times.

Cover the lotus tuber and the depression with soil, then cover the soil with 0.5 to 1 inch of pea gravel leaving the growing tip exposed. Fertilize lotus once a month, as lotus are heavy feeders. When you are planting the lotus put about three fertilizer tablets in the soil but make sure that these tablets do not touch the tuber itself.

Place the pot with the lotus in the pond, initially letting it bubble to remove any air pockets. You should place a newly potted lotus so that the growing tip is no deeper than 2 inches in the water. Once healthy growth begins to show, you can drop the plant to it's ultimate depth of 4-6 inches. Dwarf varieties should be ultimately placed no more than 4 inches and full sized varieties should be place no deeper than 6 inches.

The most commonly grown lotus are Nelumbo lutea (American lotus), and N. nucifera (East Indian lotus, Hindu lotus, Oriental lotus, sacred lotus, and water lotus).

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