Overwintering Lotus

Overwintering lotus isn't all that difficult if you live in a zone 4-5 garden.

You just leave them in the garden and they are usually quite hardy. Colder gardens need to follow some of the instructions below.

If you are concerned about them or you are growing them in pots, try these techniques.

Deep Water

After the top growth has been lightly frosted and the plant is dormant, cut back the foliage to pot level and put the pot into the deepest part of the pond. It will overwinter there (always assuming the pond doesn't freeze to the bottom) quite nicely. In the spring, return it to its regular position in the shallow section of your pond.

If your pond is shallow or if you're growing a lotus in a container then your objective is to keep it cool and dormant without freezing it solid.

Cold Cellar

With container grown plants, I've overwintered lotus in a shallow tub in a cold cellar where the temperatures did not go below freezing (or if they did, they thawed out immediately).

The odd bit of freezing normally won't hurt them if they are dormant; the bigger problem is in cycles of freezing and thawing (turns them a little mushy). So a steady, cool temperature is ideal. Think cold cellar or attached garage that doesn't freeze - that kind of place.

You also do not want to let them dry right out - hence sitting the tub in a shallow pan of water. The soil will be damp constantly.

Freezer Treatment

I've also successfully overwintered them by putting them in an old freezer out in the barn, filling the freezer with water, putting a stock tank heating element (you can purchase these as pond heaters) into the freezer and shutting the lid. The thermostat on the heater stopped the water from freezing solid and the lotus survived.

The one year we got a power outage and the freezer froze solid was the year I lost all the plants in the freezer. It also produced a very powerful fragrance in the spring when it thawed out. I don't recommend freezing your overwintering lotus plants.

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