Overwintering lotus

oldginger_gardenerAugust 6, 2013

Can one first divide lotus tubers and then repot them and resubmerge them for the winter, or must I take them indoors once the tubers are separated? The plant did quite well this summer after having been left in the pond all last winter (with 7 blooms currently open right now), but I'm thinking maybe 2 years without thinning would be pushing it. On the other hand, I want an early start next spring as the pond is to be featured in a May garden tour. Leaving the tubers in the water undisturbed seemed to promote much earlier growth this year. Thanks for any advice you can send my way!

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catherinet(5 IN)

I would imagine that they would be fine, if they are all used to being submerged during winter. But I'm thinking if you have 7 blooms this year, it must be doing fine. Usually, when they start getting crowded, they produce less blooms. and act unhealthy.
How deep is your pond? I really think the thinned tubers will be fine in the pond.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 7:32AM
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oldginger_gardener

Catherine, thanks so much for your welcome comments, it's what I'd hoped to hear. The pond is a bit over 3 feet deep and our winters have become milder every year. One reason for the multiple blooms, I think, is liberal use of Jobes tomato spikes. In the past I'd get only one or two blooms at the same time. I believe I was underfeeding.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 12:33PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Good luck with the "experiment" oldginger. Just curious...what size tubs do you have them in, and how much and how often do you use the jobe's tomato spikes? I use them on my container water lilies and use about 3 every 3-4 weeks. (in about 7 gallon tubs down in larger stocktanks.)
My lotus is in a sunken 300 gallon Rubbermaid stocktank that is all soil and water and I think I have under-fertilized it, since I don't have any blooms yet.......just lots of leaves. I think I'll put more spikes in today and see if I can't convince them to put up a few blooms! :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 1:26PM
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oldginger_gardener

Catherine, I use 7 gallon tubs for both lilies and lotus due to limited space. The lilies get 3 spikes every 2-3 weeks and now the lotus gets 6-7 spikes every 3 weeks (these are the smaller spikes in a 50 pack). I wish I had another pond twice the size for the lotus to expand plus more room for my glorious Blue Hawaii colocasia and cypress papyrus and my favorite tropical lily, Evelyn Radick. Yours must be a very large pond.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 7:12PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

You should post some pictures oldginger! It all sounds wonderful. You have alot more options living in the zone you do.
My ponds are really small and the lotus bog is only about 5'x5'. But its enough to keep us happy. I would love a larger pond, but the older I get, the less energy I have to make these things happen! I have great ideas in spring, but when all the weeds start growing, its a bit overwhelming.
Your place sounds really nice!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 12:07PM
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oldginger_gardener

Catherine, thanks for your interest and, of course, one can't resist such a flattering request. Please respond in kind! I want to see your bog and pond. You do well to maintain one in zone 5. A lotus bog is a great idea that I may be able to incorporate in another bed across the walk from our pond. The pond itself is next to the front porch 6 ft. X 19 ft., sheltered from the street by a stand of black bamboo. I attached about 8 photos with labels but they do not show in the preview. Hope this works. If not I'll try again.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:01PM
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oldginger_gardener

The Brugmansia in the first picture is at the corner of the pond, replacing the earlier mandevilla in a photo that did not appear. This one shows lilies, an "arrowhead" plant and Illustris calocasia. I guess I may have to put all the pics in one folder then import that folder? Will try that.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:49PM
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oldginger_gardener

No, that won't work either, so I'll just send them one at a time. This new one is a close up of Evelyn Randig, the hardiest tropical I've ever had, blooming until late October. It'd be a good one for your zone, Catherine. I get it from ewaterlily.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:44PM
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oldginger_gardener

Next up is Nancy's Revenge and Blue Hawaii Colocasia as seen from my kitchen window. This was last year. Nancy's Revenge did not survive the winter, even buried under heavy mulch, but Blue Hawaii came back bigger than ever this year. It thrives in the pond as well as in soil and can tolerate the brutal Alabama sun. I have more delicate varieties of Alocasia in the shadier backyard. If you're wondering, the blue and black strips are an unsightly but necessary part of our filtering system. It quickly covers over with algae and then isn't so noticeable.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:53PM
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oldginger_gardener

In the last photo you can also see crocosmia lucifer in front of the colocasia and a juncus effusis spiralis or corkscrew plant in the resivoir. Here is another view of the raised resevoir. Behind it is akebia vine covering the large E-ZPod filtering tank. It's the best we've found: had to order it from U.K., unfortunately.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:10PM
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oldginger_gardener

This is cypress papyrus, a feathery, delicate version of the regular papyrus which we have growing everywhere and is indestructible. This one gets pretty tall and wants to tip over in a wind so must be well anchored. You can see a bit of the black bamboo in the background.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:16PM
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oldginger_gardener

And here is this year's lotus, the guy who started this long thread. The biggest leaves and blooms are already gone by August, but it's still putting out. My fish are all goldfish. Had to give away all my koi as they would NOT co-exist with the plants--had to choose between them, sadly.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:21PM
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oldginger_gardener

Last picture--the wonderful Black Diamond alocasia (I think, maybe colocasia) which cannot take the full sun of the pond, so I stick it in this semi-shady corner behind the reservoir. Am sure this is more than you ever wanted to know. I eagerly await yours!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:27PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Oh wow Ginger.........beautiful pics, and a beautiful yard! Do you do all that work yourself? I'm embarrassed to show any of my pics now! haha It was hard to find any that weren't covered in weeds!
So I'll just show you a couple........but they're not that great.
The weeds here are unbelievable. We live out in the country in Indiana, and you just wouldn't believe the weeds!

The first pic is of a Juno night-blooming tropical lily. Even though its not a vibrant color, it was quite a bloomer and I really enjoyed it. I'm not able to keep tropicals through the winter, unfortunately.......not even inside.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 7:48PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Here's a Panama Pacific tropical. I really liked it. This year I bought a pygmy purple tropical and it looks alot like it, but takes up alot less space. I usually buy from William Tricker.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 7:57PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

And lastly, here is a pic of my Egyptian lotus ....which I'm trying to get to bloom this year. I planted it in a sunken 300 gallon stocktank in 2006, but it hasn't bloomed this year yet. So I really socked the fertilizer tabs to it yesterday. I hope it will still bloom this season.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:08PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

A close up of the lotus blossom.......with a bee coming in for a landing.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:10PM
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nbptsunshine

Hello fellow lotus/lilly lovers! The pics are beautiful!! I'm new to the forum and I'm looking for info on growing aquatic plants in containers, no pond, in zone 5. I LOVE the idea of a pond, but don't want to invest when renting. I was given some lotus tubers this past spring, no blooms this year (didn't fertilize enough), but had some pretty leaves. Catherinet, you said you've tried overwintering inside? Can you, or anyone else, tell me more about your attempts? It's so hard to toss plants ;)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 10:26AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi nbptsunshine,

You can just dig a hole next to your house (on a protected side) and put the container of lotus in the hole, cover it with lots of leaves. You should water it several times well, during the winter. Then you can put it back in the above-ground container in the spring. I've never tried to overwinter a lotus in the house. Too much trouble! I bury the hardy waterlilies in holes for the winter too. I've given up trying to overwinter tropical lilies.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Craigger7

Hey guys, first off, pictures are heart stopping. I was thinking of starting a new thread but it looks like you guys have what I'm looking for. I've been a ponder for a few years now, I just put in my second pond. So far, I'm having good success just cutting my hardy lilies back for the winter. In my bigger pond, I made 24 quart totes into pots, and submerged them into my top pond.
I live in zone 5a, I'm looking to grow lotus. Do you need to take them out of the pond every year? Also, would love to have huge water Hyacinth. Every year I use the old ones for mulch and buy new ones in the spring. I've attempted to store them in garbage bags. I've tried keeping them in the house in a tote full of water next to the window, all failed. This year I've made a little green house with clear plastic and have them in a tote of water. I've seen a woman on you tube do that. Wish me luck

Craig

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:21AM
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oldginger_gardener

Catherine, your lilies are wonderful, esp. the white night bloomers. When do they open, late afternoon? And that picture of the lotus and bee is just great! Thanks for those pictures. Craig, the totes are an interesting idea--where did you get them? Probably easy to lift out of the pond. Can you post a photo? I can't answer your question about overwintering lotus in zone 5 (I'm in 8) as it rarely freezes here. Mine stay in the pond all year. But perhaps if you have a warm, dark basement and are kept moist? By now you must have done something with them as the arctic air has already arrived!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Craigger7

Unfortunately I can't post a picture. I got the idea from a picture in the 2013 Pond and Garden magazine. I have 2 ponds, both are liner ponds. I noticed cleaning my 2000 gallon pond last year that almost all the media in the pots were gone. The root system had dung its way deep into my gravel bottom. The pond has high circulation with a swift 30 foot waterfall.
I just installed a 45000 gallon pond which has a 6000 gallon upper pond for plants. Yes I love the sound of water. This has been a project that I've planned for 4 years. I noticed in a section called Dream Ponds, that with a non-gravel bottom. They placed their plants in totes. I placed the media and plant directly in the tote. Then filled the rest of the tote to the plant level with river stone. This is basically the same thing that I have on the bottom of my 2000 gallon. I figured this way the plant can spread to its hearts content, but still be contained.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 4:35AM
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oldginger_gardener

That is one ambitious pond plan! With that much room for plants, I can see why you need to figure out a way to overwinter them. Starting over every spring would cost a fortune. Investing in a small greenhouse might be more cost effective. . . ? Be sure to post pictures next year or when you get it all together.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 8:17PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Very beautiful photographs from both of you. I am going to have to get myself one of those beautiful Colocasia I like both the blue/purple one and the blue/green one. Do they go dormant in the winter months? I love those big leaves...they would be perfect in my greenhouse pond.

Thank you for sharing the photos...

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:56AM
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oldginger_gardener

Dear Ladylotus,
Yes, they go dormant in zone 8, but I don't know what they'd do in a green house. They flourish in Hawaii, maybe all year long. The black diamond head is not as hardy and can't take as much sun or cold as the Blue Hawaii, which is quite vigorous. Both are from Florida Hill Nursery. You must have a big greenhouse!
Oldginger

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 5:46PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Thanks Oldginger I appreciate the information about the hardiness for the cultivars you have. I don't have a big greenhouse just a nice sized one for me.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 9:39PM
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tomsg(8)

A s you probably know lotus go dormant in winter so if the pond or container does not freeze below water level they will be fine. You harvest new tubers in Feb.- March when they are coming out of dormancy-when first growing tips emerge. After they have broken the water surface they are too sensitive and fragile to harvest. I have transplanted some into larger containers by just breaking or cutting away the container inside the larger new one. Lotus can handle a lot of fertilizer to help bloom but deep into the soil under the tubers.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 5:01PM
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cliff_and_joann

Wow old ginger, you have some serious gorgeous landscaping and
lotus...We have our lotus planted in large pots buried in the ground next
to the pond, to keep them safe from the koi.

again, I love all your landscaping and plants.

My favorite lotus shot, taken this summer...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 8:15AM
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Craigger7

Hey guys was surfing through youtube trying to find an easy way to store Tropical lilies and lotus over the winter. Check this video out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7vd1Jws82o

Also, I just ordered some lotus seeds, when would you start them, I have an area with big windows and allot of light.

Craig

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 10:19PM
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