Three Techniques For Overwintering Lotus

Three Techniques For Overwintering Lotus

When I was running the nursery, we had several different display lotus plants and some for my own gardens that all needed to be overwintered. Our ponds were too shallow to trust leaving them so I worked out other means. Here are your options:

Overwintering lotus isn’t all that difficult if you live in a zone 4–5 garden.

You just leave them in the garden (assuming they are growing in the soil) and they are usually quite hardy.

Colder gardens need to follow some of the instructions below.

Container Grown Lotus

If you are concerned about them or you are growing them in pots, try these techniques.

1) Deep Water

If your pond doesn’t freeze solid. After the top growth has been lightly frosted and the plant is dormant, cut back the foliage to pot level and put the pot into the deepest part of the pond. It will overwinter there.

In the spring, return it to its regular position in the shallow section of your pond.

If your pond is shallow (and freezes solid) or if you’re growing a lotus in a container then your objective is to keep it cool and dormant without
 freezing it solid.

2)Cold Cellar

With container grown plants, I’ve overwintered lotus by leaving them in their containers and setting that container into a shallow tub in a cold area where the temperatures did not go below freezing (or if they did, they thawed out immediately) or did not get above 45F (this would force them into growth)

The odd bit of freezing normally won’t hurt them if they are dormant; the bigger problem is in cycles of freezing and thawing (turns them a little mushy). So a steady, cool temperature is ideal. Think cold cellar or attached garage that doesn’t freeze solid — that kind of place.

You also do not want to let them dry right out — hence sitting the tub in a shallow pan of water. The soil will be damp constantly.

3) Freezer Treatment

I’ve also successfully overwintered them by putting them in an old freezer out in the barn, filling the freezer with water, putting a stock tank heating element (you can purchase these as pond heaters) into the freezer and shutting the lid. The thermostat on the heater stopped the water from freezing solid and the lotus survived.

The one year we got a power outage and the freezer froze solid was the year I lost all the plants in the freezer. It also produced a very powerful fragrance in the spring when it thawed out.

Those are the three easy ways for overwintering lotus.

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How To Successfully Grow Water Lettuce In The Backyard Pond

Easy to grow and here’s how to overwinter water lettuce

Water Lettuce( Pistia stratiodes)is a tender zone 9 tropical that grows in a similar manner to a hyacinth.

The trailing roots function in much the same way as a fish food and fish haven. The major difference is that the lettuce doesn’t flower and will grow more successfully in part shade. The velvety blue-green leaves are quite attractive.

You’ll sometimes see huge specimens for sale at garden shops. Don’t pay more for these as they are simply either mother plants or those formed under high light intensity. Your mature plants will easily reach this size in mid-summer.

water lettuce and frog
And yes, sometimes frogs take advantage of the larger specimens. 🙂 Image Pixabay

Overwintering

These can be easier than water hyacinths but will still stretch out in too-low light levels.

Provide 72F water and a full 12 hours of sunlight (grow lamps) a day to keep them alive.

The odds are the leaves will stretch out and become very ugly. Relax. As long as they’re alive in the spring when the water warms up enough for them, you can divide and use the babies to start fresh with short bushy plants.

Cutting them down — reducing the height of the leaves by half — works nicely.

Propagation

Propagation in the spring (or anytime) is by division. Simple rip the baby (that has roots) away from the mother plant and float it freely by itself.

Water garden oxygenator plants at Amazon.

Problems

Note that mature fish love to eat the roots of this plant and consider it a bit of a delicacy.

And as the picture shows, yellowing outer or more mature leaves are not uncommon, particularly in colder water or cool nights. See below.

Sometimes in low light or cold water, the plant will start to rot. Remove the rotting sections and refloat (but do correct the water temperature or light levels if you want to see improvements.

This is more a problem indoors, while growing this plant in the shade or at the shoulder fall and spring seasons.

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