Contrary to popular belief it is perfectly possible to grow some varieties of these beautiful aquatic plants in at least the southern counties of the United Kingdom. They require warm summer weather in order to bloom so may not flower well in cold regions, but are fully hardy through the winter if planted properly. We have been growing them outside here in sunny Essex totally unprotected from frost since 1998. We have experimented with different varieties until we found those which thrive in our climate (many simply need more heat than the average British summer can provide). All tubers are our own, grown out of doors on the premises here; we do not sell imported Lotus, which are difficult to establish.
They do however need quite specific growing conditions in order to succeed. Firstly, we do not recommend them if you cannot supply them with at least 6 hours direct sunlight per day from April to late September. Secondly, the tubers should always be planted in round containers, as the growing points may be damaged by growing into corners, and this damage will cause the plant to die. Similarly, do not use open mesh baskets such as traditional aquatic baskets, as the growing points will get stuck in the holes in them and die - use solid containers. The growing container also needs to be large - we would recommend something at least 45 - 90cm (18 - 36 inches) in diameter and at least 15cm (6 inches) deep. Black containers are best, as these absorb sunlight and warm up the plants in spring more quickly. (Because of these requirements, many people choose to plant their Lotuses straight into very large round water-tight containers which in effect become a small pond in their own right).
The growing points on Lotus plants are extremely fragile. If these get damaged they will not re-sprout and if none of the growing points can sprout the plant will die, so please unwrap and handle your Lotus with great care at all times. Plant the Lotus in heavy loam or special aquatic soil, and add a slow-release fertiliser tablet. Place the tuber itself just under the soil surface, and then just 5cm (2 inches) of water over this - the plants need as much sun and warmth as possible in order to put on sufficient growth to make tubers for next year. The plants do better in rain water than tap water.
Flowers appear August to September. During the winter leave the tuber where it is, below the frost line, and it will be fine.
Please note there is only a very short window to ship Lotus tubers - usually 10 days somewhere between late March to late April/early May, depending on the weather. This is because a tuber has to be visibly sprouting before it can be sold (to confirm that it is a living tuber with growing points) but as the shoots grow further the plant becomes simply too delicate to dig up and post. We will put them back in stock on the site when they are ready, but if you have any questions about what we expect to have available and when, please contact us and we can advise you further.
On each lotus page, as with any out of stock item on our website, there is a link on the right, under the "Out of Stock", where it says “Notify on availability”. If you click this link and enter your email address in the box, you will get an automatic notification email as soon as the plant is marked as back in stock.