How to grow tiger lotus

Written by kelly shetsky
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How to grow tiger lotus
Plant tiger lotus in an aquarium to add visual interest. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The tiger lotus or Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri) is a type of water lily that grows in aquariums. It is visually interesting because of its bright red/rust and green colour. The native African tiger lotus grows more than 24 inches tall and twice as wide. In your fish tank, the plant will dominate. The leaves are large and heart-shaped, with dark spotting and speckling. Some of the leaves grow underwater and others reach for the water surface. The tiger lotus also develops a pretty white bloom with a yellow centre, similar to that of hardy water lilies.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Soil
  • Planting containers
  • Pea gravel
  • Water
  • Bricks or pots
  • Fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Plant tiger lotus in a pond that gets moderate to intense light. The plant needs a nutrient-rich substrate and good lighting to develop into a stout plant.

  2. 2

    Fill the planting container two-thirds with damp soil. Handle the tiger lotus rhizome gently because it is brittle and can become damaged. Place it at the centre of the pot.

  3. 3

    Cover the lotus rhizome with about 2 to 4 inches of soil. Keep the tip of the rhizome above the soil.

  4. 4

    Pot tiger lotus plants if you're able to buy them as developed specimens. Fill the pot with some soil, centre the plant, and cover the roots with soil.

  5. 5

    Cover the soil with 1/2 to 3/4 inch of pea gravel. It will keep the soil from travelling into the water and clouding it. Add water to the pot carefully to settle the soil. Place the container into the pond.

  6. 6

    Put the container at a depth of 4 to 6 inches under water. Lotus can handle lower water temperatures of 50F. Use bricks or upside-down pots as props to get the container at the correct depth.

  7. 7

    Fertilise tiger lotus with food with a ratio such as 5-10-5, 12-8-8 or 10-6-4. Apply 113gr. per 1 cubic foot of soil. Mix it into the soil. Make applications once a month until August. Use tablet fertilisers for an easier method. Push them right into the soil.

Tips and warnings

  • Tiger lotus bulbs can also grow if dropped right on the substrate. These don't need to be buried in soil. The sprouts will anchor into the substrate.
  • Prune leaves that try to grow on the water surface to encourage more growth underwater.
  • Watch what you plant around tiger lotus. They consume nutrients very fast, stealing them from other plants. The plant also produces a phenolic compound that can slow down the growth of other plants. Give the tiger lotus ample room to grow.

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