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FAILURE: American Lotus 馃槶馃挃

540 Views 17 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Steven F
Dear friends: Please help. I have been trying to grow American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) for the past 10 years. Yes, ten whole years. I have consistently failed. I have only tried growing from seed. Germination is not a problem. I know to score and soak the seeds. The seeds always readily sprout. I have even grown established tubers with fat aerial leaves near the shore of a pond. The problem is they always eventually die mid-summer. Always. Please note that American lotus grows locally, wild in my county, so I know it鈥檚 not the climate.
I have gotten the tubers to grow into the soil in ponds but when the rainy season comes the water levels slightly rise and they die/disappear. Maybe allelochemicals from other plants are killing them? Lotuses are delicious- are animals eating them?
In my latest attempt, I was trying to grow American lotus in my patio pond. A raccoon bit off all of the newly sprouted tubers, chewed half the seeds and spit the rest out. A day later the surviving fresh sprouts started to melt and die.
I have six seeds left and spring is almost over. ANY ADVICE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED 馃槶馃槶馃槶
Pictured below is my latest failed attempt before the raccoon ate them 馃毇馃馃毇
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I have gotten the tubers to grow into the soil in ponds but when the rainy season comes the water levels slightly rise and they die/disappear.
it is likely a nutrient deficiency. Other than light CO2 and water threre 14 other nutrients plants need to live and grow. If just one is missing plant growth will stop growing and the plant will eventually die. Rain has no nutrients in it. If the pond overflows due to rain the nutrient levels in the water will drop. During the dry season the nutrient levels will gradually increase from fish, animal and insect activity. You likely need a fertilizer in the rainy season containing calcium and magnesium to get them to survive.
the allelochemical theory is about 100 years old. Companies saw a big market for such chemicals (to control weeds in farm fields. Scientist found some plants that they thought might have allelochemicals but lab sturdies never identified any chemicals. Most often it was found that the plant was better adapted to the conditions of the environment or animal activity was killing off other plants.
You have gotten farther than I have! My seeds germinate, begin to grow leaves, but as soon as I plant them in small pots they decline and die. If you figure it out, please let us know.
You have gotten farther than I have! My seeds germinate, begin to grow leaves, but as soon as I plant them in small pots they decline and die. If you figure it out, please let us know.
You too 馃槶? The best I had was the tuber placed at the shore actually grew inland. I got the biggest leaves ever! They were upright on stalks with 8 inch leaves. Classic 鈥渓otus鈥 looking leaves. Then we had massive flooding that month. The pond and canal merged together and smothered everything underwater for a week. When the water receded, the lotuses were gone.
I鈥檓 now trying in the controlled conditions of my patio pond, but the raccoons got me this time.
it is likely a nutrient deficiency. Other than light CO2 and water threre 14 other nutrients plants need to live and grow. If just one is missing plant growth will stop growing and the plant will eventually die. Rain has no nutrients in it. If the pond overflows due to rain the nutrient levels in the water will drop. During the dry season the nutrient levels will gradually increase from fish, animal and insect activity. You likely need a fertilizer in the rainy season containing calcium and magnesium to get them to survive.
My patio pond with oyster shells and potting soil should be sufficient. I just have to keep the raccoons away. I鈥檝e used cayenne pepper sprinkled around in the past. It usually works.
My patio pond with oyster shells and potting soil should be sufficient.
The oyster shells only address calcium. Other nutrients like nitrogen, Potassium, phosphate, sulfur and chloride salts are always water soluble. Rain water can qiuicly wash these away. Also a patio pond will have less water and as a result fewer nutrients than a large pond. So your patio pond would likely go through most of the nutrients in the water in rather short time if the plant is growing well. Also carefully watch the leaves. if they start curl or twist. turn yellow, or have holes in the leaves, you likely have a nutrient deficiency.
The oyster shells only address calcium. Other nutrients like nitrogen, Potassium, phosphate, sulfur and chloride salts are always water soluble. Rain water can qiuicly wash these away. Also a patio pond will have less water and as a result fewer nutrients than a large pond. So your patio pond would likely go through most of the nutrients in the water in rather short time if the plant is growing well. Also carefully watch the leaves. if they start curl or twist. turn yellow, or have holes in the leaves, you likely have a nutrient deficiency.
My problem isn鈥檛 a slow decline, it鈥檚 鈥渟udden lotus death鈥, as in the plant is growing fine then it just disappears.
Where are you getting the lotus seeds? I want to try this. :)
Mine were collected from a natural wetland.
Where are you getting the lotus seeds? I want to try this. :)
I ordered mine from 鈥淧rairie Moon Nursery鈥.
Yay, I can share my frustration with someone else! They need to be planted soon. Lotuses go dormant in late fall and they need the spring and summer to grow as much as possible.
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Mine were collected from a natural wetland.
My dad got me some seeds growing wild here in South Florida. The problem with wild seeds is they can be 鈥渨eak鈥. Robust seeds sink. Weak lotus seeds will float and may produce weak seedlings.
Per on line instructions, I nicked the seed coat just enough to see the white cotyledon, then soaked in water. I only planted the ones that swelled and sank. Floaters were discarded.
Update: ALL of the embryos died, except ONE! :love:
Here is a photo of my first genuine American lotus leaf. Lotus leaves are very interesting as they only have a emersed form. The leaves shoot straight to the surface and are naturally water repellant.
Water Liquid Fluid Aquatic plant Terrestrial plant

This leaf is about 2 inches across. A second and third leaf are still developing below the waterline.
I have three lotus seeds left and I decided to score and soak them to try to grow them. I don鈥檛 want to rely on a single seedling for my success. So far 1 sprouted and the other 11 lotuses died or were eaten 馃槶. Hopefully I have a productive summer with lots of new growth! I鈥檓 going to try to grow the other seeds in pots with soil and STS. How fully this current lotus will anchor itself and grow into the soil of my patio pond.
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Update: ALL of the embryos died, except ONE! :love:
Here is a photo of my first genuine American lotus leaf. Lotus leaves are very interesting as they only have a emersed form. The leaves shoot straight to the surface and are naturally water repellant.
View attachment 76951
This leaf is about 2 inches across. A second and third leaf are still developing below the waterline.
I have three lotus seeds left and I decided to score and soak them to try to grow them. I don鈥檛 want to rely on a single seedling for my success. So far 1 sprouted and the other 11 lotuses died or were eaten 馃槶. Hopefully I have a productive summer with lots of new growth! I鈥檓 going to try to grow the other seeds in pots with soil and STS. How fully this current lotus will anchor itself and grow into the soil of my patio pond.
Some or the other leaves in the picture have holes in them or look a little yellow. If the holes are mainly in older leaves which eventually falls off. it is a possible indication of a nitrogen, potassium, Magnesium. phosphate, chloride, molybdenum or nickel deficiency. These deficiencies are often causes by the plant to removing these nutrients from the older leaves and move them to support the growth of new leaves.
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Some or the other leaves in the picture have holes in them or look a little yellow. If the holes are mainly in older leaves which eventually falls off. it is a possible indication of a nitrogen, potassium, Magnesium. phosphate, chloride, molybdenum or nickel deficiency. These deficiencies are often causes by the plant to removing these nutrients from the older leaves and move them to support the growth of new leaves.
The other leaves are American frogbit at various stages of age. My lotus only has one leaf at the moment. My snails eat the older leaves of the frogbit.
The other leaves are American frogbit at various stages of age. My lotus only has one leaf at the moment. My snails eat the older leaves of the frogbit.
my earlier statement apples to frog bit as well as the lotus. Additionally the frog bit being a floating plant can only access nutrients dissolved in the water. the lotus on the other hand can access nutrient in the substrate and water. If the new leaves on the frog bit start to deteriorate you will need to fertilizer to save it.
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