Lotus is a flowering aquatic plant that resembles a water lily in its flowering. Unlike the water lily, which spreads its foliage over the pond surface, lotus holds its leaves gracefully up around its blossoms. It comes in many varieties ranging from white to pink, rose and blue. Some even change colour through the growing season. Like any other plant in a garden, pay attention to the proper light, soil, fertiliser and depth of planting for lotus to thrive.
Plan to plant lotus when the water temperature of your pond reaches 10 degrees C or above. In most areas, this can be as early as mid-to-late spring.
Fill a 15-inch diameter container two-thirds full with clay soil. Preferably, you can dig it out of the bottom of your pond with a spade. Keep in mind that the larger the container is, the larger the lotus will eventually become.
Set the lotus rhizome in the centre of the container so that its buds or "eyes" are pointing up. Handle it carefully, because lotus rhizomes are delicate and can be easily damaged. Gently press the thin roots of the rhizomes into the soil.
Cover the rhizome with 2 to 4 inches of soil, leaving the buds exposed. Add a layer of gravel on top of the soil and around the buds to keep soil from floating away. This will also prevent fish from burrowing in the lotus container before it can establish.
Plant the lotus in its container at the proper depth. The water line should be 4 to 6 inches above the top of the container. You many need to set the container on concrete blocks to raise it to the proper level, depending on the depth of your pond.
Fertilise lotus at time of planting. Press a tablet of fertiliser into the soil at the edge of the pot, as far as your finger will go. It will slowly dissolve and provide nutrients to help the lotus get established.
Do not use potting soil when planting lotus. It is too light and will float away, exposing the rhizomes.
Don't over-fertilise aquatic plants. Adding too much fertiliser will encourage algae growth.