posted by Cherokee joe on conversations.

sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)March 21, 2013

Posted by cherokee_joeshoeboot 6 (My Page) on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 21:56
After much research on this and other sites I decided to try raising some lotus from seeds. I went to a nearby Hobby Lobby and purchased some lotus seed heads. They didn't have any single heads so I had to buy a bunch contained 5 heads. I picked a bunch that had the largest heads with the most seeds still in place. I got them from there because I read on a forum somewhere that they were just as reliably viable as those you buy from a dealer. We'll see. I took the seeds from one head and got 25 seeds. After breaking the hard cover of the seeds with my dremel tool I placed them in warm water to start the process. 2 of them floated so I took them out and discarded them. I paid only $3 for all 5 seed heads so if only 10% germinate I'm way ahead of the game financially. I'm anxious to see what happens and will update my post as things progress. If anyone has tips or tricks for raising lotus from seed please let me know.
A question: is it possible to get more than one color from the same seed head? I assumed that it was because the random pollination could have multiple contributing plants as the other (male) parent. Just a guess. Let me know what you think.

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Just a couple of suggestions, joe. You will have more survivors if you rinse the seeds with Hydrogen peroxide before they sprout. They get Rot very easily. Change the water carefully and frequently. You can add some peroxide to that water as well. You will need a lot of light to keep the sprouts from twisting and tangling. Don't let the water get cold. Don't put too many(more than 5) to a container. I got better results by nuking the soil before It went in the pot.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 3:50AM
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cherokee_joeshoeboot

Update: This morning when I changed the water I had 3 little stems just starting to emerge. I was out of town all day and just got back. When I changed the water I had 9 started now and looks like more are getting ready to break through. I guess I better get some more flower vases, which is what I'm using to start them in. sleeplessinftwayne suggested that I keep no more than 5 in one container so I'll have to spread them out now that they are sprouting. Goes to show that those lotus heads you get from hobby lobby for flower arrangement do have viable seeds. Don't know what I'll do if all 23 of them survive. Guess I'll be giving them away for the cost of the pots this summer. BUT I don't want to count my chicks before they hatch - still got a long way to go. Thanks to everyone who has posted on this forum with their success and instructions. It's kinda like going to school online.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 9:47PM
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cherokee_joeshoeboot

The photo show the lotus progress after 3 full days since initial placement into the water. I must have miscounted my original seeds as I know I threw 2 away when they floated when I put them in water. I thought I had 23 remaining but I only have 21. Of those 17 have now sprouted and all but one of the remaining 4 show signs of sprouting. I imagine when I do the nightly water change they will be sprouted. Now to wait for the stems to extend and start gathering pots to plant them all in. Guess I should have saved all those milk cartons huh?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 5:06PM
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cherokee_joeshoeboot

Short update for today. This morning all 21 of my hobby lobby lotus seeds have germinated. The first ones to germinate now have stems reaching to 3 inches and on some I can see a second stem starting to emerge. Gotta find pots!!! and soon.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:03PM
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cherokee_joeshoeboot

I think I am having a problem with my lotus seedlings. If you can provide any help or feedback I would appreciate it. Most of the stems don't seem to be straightening out the way I expected and on some of them the stem seems to be brown in the middle near where the bend is at. In addition I expected that by this time the stems would be a lot longer than they are. Most are about 4". On the positive side (I think) many of them are sending out the second stem and it appears to be ok. Finally a couple of them develop a cottony substance over the area where I cleared the hard shell. I assume this may be fungus but am not sure. All the seeds seem to develep lots of bubbles on them and especially on the stuff I think is fungus. When I change the water (twice daily) I clean the stuff I think is fungus off with a small wet sponge but it always comes back. I also add a small amount of peroxide to the water but maybe that doesn't help or I'm not adding enough.

Will I be able to save the seedlings that have the fungus? What happens when I put them in soil, which I am planning to do soon, maybe tomorrow? Is the brown on the stems something I should be concerned about or is it normal? Thanks you your input.

I feel overwhelmed since this is my first attempt at growing lotus from seeds and I was so optimistic when all of them germinated.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:05PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Hey Joe. Did you soak the shelled seeds in peroxide? Once a fungus (Rot) takes hold you should get rid of that seedling. The fact that the spots show more activity(bubbling) when touched by peroxide shows the infection is present. I haven't checked in the past couple of years but there is(was?) no treatment for Rot. I have had previously healthy mature plants collapse into a puddle of slime in a matter of hours after it appeared. Neighboring plants were quickly affected. Soil calcium is helpful to avoid the fungus but won't work once it is present.

The curly stems seem to be typical. Too little light makes it worse. I can't determine what the brown spots are but I suspect those seedlings are not going to survive. Bruising is a possibility. At 4 inches, soil should be added to the container. Heavy soil such as clay (kitty litter?)will do fine.

I am not a regular grower of lotus so I hope someone else steps in here.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:42PM
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cherokee_joeshoeboot

Thank you sleeplessinftwayne for your response. I didn't understand your question about "shelled" seeds. I did not remove any of the shell except scarifying them. I did soak them in peroxide after doing that. I also add a llittle peroxide after each water change (twice daily). The bubbles that form are not just on the suspected fungus but all of the seeds and stems. I first thought it was just the natural creation of oxygen but I guess that is wrong.

I keep the plants in a east facing window and have discover that placing a mason jar lid ring on top of a candle warmer and the putting the plant jar on top of that keeps the water at a pretty consistant 75 to 80 degrees (F).

The brown is not spots but just a general browning of the stem, kinda like a green new growth of a shrub as it begins to harden off and turn brown. I have been very careful in handling the plants during water changes and only handle them by the seed case. In addition the stems do seem to still be growing (elongating) so I haven't given up just yet.

Since the stems are mostly at 4 in. I did put some of them in sand today. I put about 3-4 inches of sand in the bottom of a container and added water to the top of the sand. I then placed the seeds just under the sand and gently covered them just a little, enough to keep them from floating. I then added about 3 inches of water above the surface of the sand. Not sure what will happen but I'm just not ready to throw in the towel yet.

One issue that I identified on another site was that maybe using regular tap water could be a problem. Some suggest that only distilled water should be used, others say it doesn't matter. Just a thought. What do you think??

Again, thanks for your help. I have 4 more seed heads so I want to learn from this experience even if it fails so I can try again.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 8:42PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
Been a LONG time since I've grown lotus from seed but as i recall it was easy though mine were started in a shallow marsh garden. The first several leaves are floaters much like water lily,very soft and pliable. they also seem to start developing a tuber before the stand
up leaves .
I used pots with peat and silt with fert spikes in the bottom . They need lots of sun and warmth though I only grew the tropical types .
I grew Victoria lily from seed and with those had to use a heated aquarium. wasn't difficult to germinate BUt had lots of die-off in the seedling stage .
My guess would be your seedlings are not getting enough sun?? gary

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:17AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Since I had over a hundred seeds from various lots of lotus pods I decided to try every method I could think of. I used twenty tumbler sized plastic glasses with five seeds per tumbler.I soaked the seeds to soften the shell and then carefully cut them with the Dremel. They were soaked for several days in a half and half solution of hydrogen peroxide and aged tap water. Once the seeds began to swell I distributed them to the tumblers.

Several tumblers were placed in a south facing window. Several were placed under grow lights and the remainder; about half were under grow lights angled toward reflective Mylar behind the tumblers. All were on electric grow mats to maintain temperature except the ones under Mylar since there were fluorescent tubes lit under that rack. Two in each smaller group had two inches of clay kitty litter in the tumbler. The larger group of ten had five with the two inches of kitty litter because I expected better results with the Mylar.

The ones that had the least difficulty putting up a stem were the ones that had the softened shell completely removed after a few days of swelling. Some that had the shell left on never lost it and eventually stopped growing. I decided once the seed was swollen, the shell was no longer needed and only hindered growth. I removed the shells from all but one tumbler in each group. Those that had the shell remaining never did put down a proper root whether there was soil or not. I removed the shell but those seedlings did not develop very well.

I decided to put a dark cover around half of the tumblers. The stems did not twist as much in the uncovered tumblers so I removed them. II think I should have left them covered longer.

I expected problems with tap water so I allowed it to age. I had been aware of the problems the chemicals used to purify tap water caused. I do use unaged tap water sometimes but for the lotus seeds I let the fresh water sit overnight to allow those chemicals to dissipate and the water to reach room temperature. I added water to most glasses by allowing it to overflow the rim of the tumbler. This seemed to be most successful as the stems did not twist round each other and tangle as did the ones where I tried to empty the water first. I added two tbs. of fresh hydrogen peroxide each time I changed the water which was every two days. I rotated the tumblers 180o each time I changed the water.

After this length of time I don't remember how long it took the groups to develop but the ones in natural sun were the slowest and least stocky, the ones under grow lights somewhat faster and the ones with Mylar were much faster. Those had stronger, more substantial stems and the floating leaves were much larger under Mylar than the other groups. Root development followed the same track with the ones having kitty litter in the bottom developing best.

Since things seemed to be stalled at that point, I added soaked kitty litter to all the tumblers. It took some gentle agitation and nudging with a straw to cover the least developed roots and I had to remove an inch or so of water from the tumbler to keep the roots in the clay. I had to spritz the leaves to flush off the sediment. The next time I will try some sandy silt.

The plants in the Southern window with only natural light were the least developed when I put them out. There was a fairly wide roof line. The ones that had the Mylar reflector were by far the best of the lot. Over all I had lost about 15% of the seedlings, most in the smaller groups. I placed them all in a preformed 4 foot wide 14 inch deep pond after decanting them. There was 6 inches of soil and stone in the bottom. I used a stone on top of the roots to hold them in place. They stressed for a few days although a cover of floating row cover at night helped. I lost 5 more seedlings apparently from stress.

They seemed to be doing quite well at that point with the leaves rising above the water. Then the raccoon visited and totally destroyed all of them. I tried to salvage a few but had no luck.

I hope this memory will be some help. The end proved to be very frustrating. I will try again someday and have been collecting seeds. This was my third attempt although I had never used that many seeds before.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:01PM
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cherokee_joeshoeboot

Update on my attempt. As I have stated before I got 100% germination of my seeds. I had a problem with what I thought was rot or a fungus but kept them cleaned and changed water twice daily adding a small about of peroxide with each water change.

Most of them started putting out the second stem so I decided it was time to put them in some soil. I placed them in groups in large dishpan type containers with about 3 in. of sand. Each group is about 4 seedlings. I then filled the containers with water so the tops of the stems were just below the water level. That was 2 to 3 inches of water above the sand.

I placed the containers near the french doors to give the maximum light. I didn't have a heat source for this arrangement so they are just using the ambient temperature of the house now.

I have been gone for several days and when I checked on them after returning all seem to be OK. They haven't grown much but I didn't expect much since they are not on a heat source now. At least they seem to still be alive. One had a much longer stem when I planted them that was a couple of inches out of the water. That stem had dried up but it has two more stems growing so I think it will be ok.

I'm wondering if it will be OK to take them outside and place them in the sun on warm days and then bring back in at night until the nights are warm enough to leave them out. Any feedback on this would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:03PM
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