Tips for Growing Lotus in a Barrel

by JOYCE GRIGONIS

I used to be Lotus Killer Queen. I killed all my previous lotus by overfertilizing: using Tomato fertilizer spikes, Pond Tabs, and other spike type water soluble 'crumbling' fertilizers. (But I was following the standard directions you read all over the forums...add spike/tab fertilizers once a month whether the lotus needs it or not.)

But I am no longer Lotus Killer Queen. I now do it my way....and now I am simply: Lotus Queen. 

I fill my barrels about 3/4 with composted cow manure, but plain old compost can be used, too. Before putting the compost in, put one cup of Osmocote (Veggie Formula) or Multicote (Veggie Formula) at the bottom (these are NOT your typical water soluble fertilizers...please read the entire label on the container to understand exactly how they work). I do NOT recommend any other kind of fertilizer with my lotus in a barrel planting method. You will NOT get the same results as I do unless you follow my instructions exactly: NO SUBSTITUTES! 
Gently lay the lotus tubers on top of the compost. Then gently cover the tubers with about 1-2" of pea gravel, keeping the growing tips above the gravel. Then add water until 3-4" of water covers the gravel. Then do nothing but top off the barrels when the water gets low, and watch the lotus grow and bloom. DO NOT ADD ANY MORE FERTILIZER. Osmocote and Multicote are time released, and will last through fall.

Remember, besides the Osmocote/Multicote, compost is LOADED with all sorts of micronutrients which your lotus will devour.
Regular potting soil or clay, or topsoil does NOT have all the micronutrients that compost has. That is why composted cow manure is the best, with regular compost coming in second place.

I prefer growing smaller lotus like Momo Botan in barrels, but any lotus will grow well this way.

This one is Momo Botan....