Texas Gardening forum: Nelumba lutea aka American Lotus

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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
May 25, 2018 3:00 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-05-25/needrain/65b130

I think with Jay's input this will be Nelumba lutea also known as American Lotus. The experiment is off to a good start. This morning there were 3 leaves on the water surface. One is new today, but the other two are older leaves that had to grow the leaf stems longer to reach the surface. Another leaf has grown, but it may or may not reach the surface. I think the oldest leaf on the runner will stay submerged.

It's interesting to me to watch the cattle trough come to life. It's filled with water for human consumption with all the associated chemicals that sort of treated water contains. In my case, the water is also from wells currently and has lots of minerals in it. Very corrosive. My coffee pots are short lived as a result. Even running vinegar at full strength through it only buys time. The water will kill feeder goldfish when it is fresh.

But the process of taking dead water and converting it to a living body of water starts almost immediately. I filled the trough up over a period of three days to give the lotus a chance to adjust to the deeper depth. When I went to fill it the 3rd day there was already an aquatic insect swimming in it. I think a water boatman or backswimmer. On the next day there was another. Insects are drowning on the surface. When the moon is reflected, they fly to the light and drown. When the cattle drink, they add cow slobber and snot and a lot of dirt and vegetation debris. All that begins to decompose and the water starts coming to life. Even adding new water to replace what the cows drink and what evaporates will not be enough to have dead water again. In a week or so, I'll be able to add a few feeder goldfish. Soon there will likely be more kinds of aquatic insects including dragonfly nymphs. I watched one of the water insects dining on a little moth this morning and watched an insect with the ability to run along the surface of the water. A mean-looking house spider was walking around the rim of the trough yesterday and today. Mosquitoes can't be far behind. There will be more and more life in the water. With all the decomposing vegetable and insect matter, algae will soon show up. Hopefully, the lotus and the fish will help keep it all in balance, especially the algae and the mosquitoes nodding

And it's a bit of relief to see the cows trekking up to the trough instead of my big earthen pond which is heading into the danger zone rapidly under the current weather conditions. It will still be a potential danger to the cattle, but if they are thinking of the trough first as the primary drinking water supply, then they will only be around that pond when they happen to be in the area. It won't be a special trip for a drink of water, which reduces the chances of one being caught in the much. I hate drought conditions.
Donald
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Bromeliad Butterflies Canning and food preservation Bulbs Birds Vermiculture
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pod
May 25, 2018 8:42 PM CST
This is an interesting project. I am fascinated at the multi purpose uses you have laid out. I wish you success with it from providing a safe source of water for your livestock to the pure enjoyment you will get out of the living stock pond. Please keep us posted on its' progress. Thumbs up
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jun 4, 2018 7:22 PM CST
I stopped by the neighbors' pond today. The dozer is still parked, so the Lotus are still there - and blooming. I risked getting mired in the muck and walked into the edge of it working on the theory that I don't weigh nearly as much as the cattle - at least not yet :). Here are some photos.
Thumb of 2018-06-05/needrain/15344d

The blooms were just a bit further than I was willing to attempt, so they were just beyond touching distance, but I got closest to this one.
Thumb of 2018-06-05/needrain/e21e42

I really thought the opening buds were as nice or nicer than the blooms. Here are a couple of those.
Thumb of 2018-06-05/needrain/b9abb9
Thumb of 2018-06-05/needrain/314d1b

The little piece I have in the stock trough is way behind these, but it is visibly actively growing. Maybe I'll see a bloom later in the summer.

Donald
Name: tfc
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jun 5, 2018 10:56 PM CST
Beautiful pics! Like you, I kinda prefer the buds. Can you actually see them open? Are they fragrant?
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Jun 6, 2018 4:49 AM CST
I couldn't get close enough to smell one directly and the dead cow smell is still prevalent in the air, so any fragrance from the blooms will have to wait for another time. I don't know how long it takes a bud to open, that's just where they were when I stopped to get the photos.
Donald
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jun 25, 2019 9:29 AM CST
Here's an update of my experiment growing the lotus in the stock trough. So far, it is staying confined to the rubber tub in the bottom of the trough. It could use some fertilize, but this year my back is not cooperating well enough for me to climb in the trough. The biggest problem is that the cattle eat the leaves and buds that grow above the water line. They don't bother those that float on the surface. Don't know why. I had wanted to try to set up a couple of cannas (which they don't eat) to block them off at least a portion of the lotus, but that didn't happen either. Might not have worked anyway because even if they don't eat the cannas, they might have knocked them over. Here's a photo from this week.
Thumb of 2019-06-25/needrain/c88591

Donald
[Last edited by needrain - Jun 25, 2019 7:08 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2007661 (6)
Name: Moondog
Jourdanton, TX (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Birds Dog Lover Keeps Horses Roses Deer
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Moondog
Jun 26, 2019 3:36 PM CST
Don:
Did you start with a seed, or with a growing plant?
I like that idea and I've ordered some seeds on Amazon.
Gonna try it in my horse trough.

Thanks.

BTW: I lost one of my gold fish, today, in my horse trough. We put 3 of them in there 6 years ago.
Life is too short, no matter how long we're here. PLAY HARD and LOVE someone, with everything you got!
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Jun 26, 2019 4:40 PM CST
@Moondog
I started with a plant. The American Lotus has taken over a couple of the neighbors' stock ponds. They eventually ruin the floor of an earthen pond and one of them was scheduled to be dozed in. I went and collected a piece - or maybe two pieces - after I'd read how to control the growth. I collected seeds and gave most away, but never planted any myself. In the meantime, the pond didn't get dozed in, but was fenced off for the safety of the cattle. The lotus is really growing well the last couple of weeks. With all the rain, the pond may have caught enough water that it will last until fall.

My observation comparing the Nymphaea and the Lotus is that the Lotus has a much shorter growing season. It's slower to wake up and grow in the spring by almost a month and shuts down in early September before cool weather really sets in. The Nymphaea will start growing in the winter if there are a few warm days. One of mine got started too early this year and had to start over due to a late freeze that got too cold. They also grew until the first really cold spell before they really start going dormant. Here that usually in December, sometimes earlier.

I wonder if your horses will eat it or ignore it. Good luck with it :).
Donald
[Last edited by needrain - Jun 26, 2019 4:45 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2008715 (8)
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Herbs
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kittriana
Jun 26, 2019 5:13 PM CST
Horses will eat it- if they think it is more interesting than the hay.
Should you go first, and I remain, to walk the road alone- I'll live in Memory's garden, dear, with happy days we've known.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Jun 26, 2019 5:27 PM CST
kittriana said:Horses will eat it- if they think it is more interesting than the hay.


Hilarious!
Donald

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