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I guess I'll have to start lurking around here .. I've been convinced by lotus pictures to make a container water garden. I've checked out some books at the library but there are some things that they are not answering or very clear on. First of all, they suggest kitty litter to hold plants down. Will any old kitty litter do? It seems the clumping and scented stuff would make a mess and not be very plant friendly, or is there a better substrate? Second, are there a certain size (depth and width) that is best for lotus? Third, are water pumps necessary (some in the books have them, other don't they don't really address the reason for them)? Fourth, I live in zone 8a and it can get into the teens at night for a few hours. Do lotus have to be "wintered over"?
Thanks! I'm looking forward to making my water garden and am enjoying reading your posts.
That will be great Rob! What finally convinced me was looking at all the beautiful lotus pictures in this forum. I had no idea that water lilies came in so many different colors! Another Dave's member has promised to send me some lotus once I get mine up and running. I also love that dwarf papyrus, but I'm thinking it will get too big for containers. But there are all sorts of other companion plants you can use.
kitty litter? I would use aquarum gravel or creek rock. Just be sure to wash it good with the water hose. If you can invest in a filter & pump you shouldnt have to clean it as much.
Are you putting fish in it to?
How are your hollyhock babies doing? My Cherub's have rooted & are doing great.
They are doing great! .. brugs are so easy to root thank goodness.
The babies are doing great! They are in the greenhouse and growing .. I'll hit them up with some food tomorrow then put them in the ground in about a week or so.
I had thought about using rock, but then nixed the idea because of the weight. When I finally decide on a container I'll probably get some of that commercial substrate for my first time around the water garden container block.
If there is a Walmart near you you can use the kitty litter they sell in the RED bag (special kitty). I can't remember if it's 25lb or 50lb bag $2.50. It is straight clay, no perfumes or dyes. Or you can order clay from a pond store and pay 10-20 times for the same thing. I use it in all my pond plants, it doesn't cloud the water either ☺
X -- I'll be renovating my ponds here in the near future (probably later this fall or spring) to remove the two small ones I have and creating one larger pond. I have two that are pre-formed, hard-plastic that are curved, and go in the ground or can be supported for an above-ground application. Not sure what type of container you're planning to use, but thought I'd mention it, in the event you want something larger for your lotus, as they do need room to spread a bit from what I've read. Also, they can then overwinter right in the pond if it's below-ground. One of the ponds I have is 50 gallons; the other is 165 gallons.
If you'd be interested in one of the ponds I have for your lotus bed, let me know. I just hate to see them go to waste once I install the new, larger pond. Also, I come through Florence, SC every few months to bring my daughter down to her dad's so we could meet up there if you are interested. Just let me know.
Hello there! I might be interested in one of those large, below-ground ponds... Perhaps it would be less trouble to buy one locally; I haven't done much research on where to find such items. Of course, I still have to buy a little utility trailer for my car and build a retaining wall to level out my rather small, steeply-sloped yard. What kind of surface area does a 165-gallon pond take up?
BTW, I'm looking into in water plants because they include so many productive and highly-esteemed edibles. Lotus is particularly valued for its excellent tubers and seeds. It's too bad I wasn't thinking of a garden when I bought my house, because it really doesn't have much room. If it weren't such a bad investment, I'd convert the silly in-ground swimming pool I never use into a huge, nine-foot deep pond!
My advice (I have a small 88 gal corner pond) is to have plants OR fish, not both.
I bought 4 goldfish and feed them almost everyday, yet they eat every plant I've ever put in there with the exception of Elephant Ears. I spent a lot of money trying and give up on plants which is what I basically wanted, I just thought a few goldfish would be nice. Yeah, right. They were about 2" long when I bought them at the beginning of the summer and now are about 6". I bought duckweed (fish candy), mosiac plants (not cheap) water clover, Parrots' feather (which I love) and more - all gone, all eaten. I moved a Louisiana Iris out of the water and (I think it's called) a blood lily. Just my experience. The EE has grown huge though. Oh, almost forgot they even ate my one waterlily "Attraction" - there is one ragged leaf left - I'm really disappointed, next spring, I'll try to find a home for them in a large pond, then and only then will I spend money on plants.
P.S. Fish attract destructive animals - raccoons especially, had a raccoon attack JUST after planting that ate 4 of the 5 original fish and trashed all my plants trying to get them (that was before I realized the fish ate plants, roots and all) so I replaced them with the present 4 and placed a wrought iron grate I had over the water. No more raccoons, but no more plants either. That's my sad story (for now).
You may want to consider putting in a couple of feeder goldfish (very inexpensive at wal-mart or a bait shop). Otherwise you will have misquito problems. I have tried the misquito dunks but did not find them that effective. Good luck on your new garden! Have to warn you though, it can be very addictive! Please post pics when you get it done.
Im not sure if anyone has already mentioned it but if you live in area where there is a lot of clay you can go out back and dig it up and use it for water plants, my local nursery recommended it as the 'cheap' alternative around here. I have had great luck with it over the last few years but I do recommend some sort of rock on the top of the pot to keep it from clouding the water when you initially place it in the water.
Glad I could help :-)
my biggest question was always is it 'good' enough for them - apparently it is from what I have seen in my water garden and now that I am taking a soil science class at NCSU I have learned why, it actually has a lot of what plants need and since they are water plants the need for drainage isn't there. To top it off as you said we have lots of that so its a great 'cheap' alternative :-)
If I remember correctly, these are 40 gallon size stock tanks. These are livestock water tanks made out of thick rubbery material.
I just use dirt to plant in. I DO NOT use potting soil. The stuff marked top soil is okay provided it doesn't have that white stuff in it. I wanna say the white stuff is perlite.
I don't use any kitty litter. I have room for 5 to 7 inches above the soil line for water.
I do have duckweed in my containers along with the lotus.
I have had very nice blooms the first year on lotus tubers. Some times it takes maybe two years to get the lotus to bloom. I have grown them from seed and had them bloom the second year. I think they bloom better with fertilizer. I use plant tabs from Texas Waterlilies. I have never tried deadheading them to see if they produce more flowers. I read somewhere that if water travels down the inside a broken flower stalk or leaves it can make the tuber rot. No tuber means no plant next year. If lotus take over a natural pond, the way to get rid of them is cut the leaves beneath the water line.
thank you very much darlindeb for the wonderful photos and info. I have planted mine in kitty litter already with food. Will see if it works out. Several of my local fellow experienced gardeners think az heat is too much for lotus plants. I have mine on a patio with fan running 24/7 but I am not sure if they are happy yet.
The flowers in the bigger tanks seem bigger to me. I have noticed with water plants in general if you put them in a bigger container they just seem to grow bigger.
In the winter, I cut the stems back after they are all brown and dead looking. That seems to be around October in Claremore, OK. I havecut stems above the water line and cut even with about the rim of the pot. The reason I cut at this level and way is so that the stems will not poke a hole in the plastic when I cover them for winter. I cover the pots with clear plastic. I wanna say 6 mil (??) I got the roll at Lowe's and it was about $26.
I have some other containers I'll try and post pictures of another time.
Woo Hoo! Better late than never .. I sweet talked my sister in-law into giving me one of her huge terra cotta pots .. its 17.5 inches deep and 18.5 inches across at the top! Do I need to seal it on the inside?
I don't think a terra cotta pot would work. You would have to take the plant out for the winter and protect the pot from freezing.
I have kept my lotus in the water garden year round. But I am thinking of moving it out and keeping it in a container instead. I like darlindeb's big tubs but it hard to find livestock equipment in Atlanta. I have used clay type soil to plant my water lotus and lillys in. They like heavy soil. I tried the kitty litter from Walmart and found it messy.
They have great big tubs at Lowes, Home Depot, and Dollar General for around 5 or $6. They are around 2 feet by 2 feet deep and have rope handles. Cut the rope handles off before using. I plant lotus and water lily in them and then sink them into my pond. It keeps the fish out. I also use them above ground too, for lotus and water canna, but we have minimal freezes here. I have also used black plastic trash cans (from the dollar store!)
X, I think that pot would work for a minature lotus, they do not need a lot of water in the winter, they just have to stay damp. You could drain off most of the water and just let them be, no problem with the pot freezing that way. You could move it to a protected spot even. You would have to seal the pot however. There is a product they sell in the paint departments at Lowe's, HD, etc. called UGH or UGL or something that sounds like that. It is a sealer and can also be used to fill the hole.
Don't rule out the fish however, once the leaves cover the surface of the water the birds will not see the fish and fish do help keep the mosquito population down. I use them in all my water pots.
There is a store called Garden Ridge, it is a chain but I don't believe we have any in the lowcountry. I have been to the ones in Charlotte and Jacksonville. They carry the large, heavy ceramic pots at outstanding prices. These pots make great lotus pots.
You can just throw a piece of mosquito dunk in your water. You don't have to have fish.
I grew a bunch of bowl lotus and water lilies in several of the urns that look like stone but aren't. They had plugs in the bottom of them. I also used black trash bags (two strong ones one inside the other) as a liner. I just pushed the sides of the bag under the rim of the urns to hide them. I also planted other pond plants in them as well. I will have to look for the photos on my old puter. I am going to do it again this year. I also grew some tropical water lilies in large plastic trash cans. Not very attractive but I set the bottom of the growing basket in the bottom of the trash can and they did very well. I had Panama Pacific and a red one with a fragrance (can't think of the name right now). I don't know if they will return this year because I didn't protect them. Last year they did okay with just a board over the top on real cold nights. It got down into the 20's.