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    Thread: Lotus Runners 101

    1. #1
      matherfish's Avatar
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      Lotus Runners 101

      I did not want to steal another member's thread so thought I would start a new one dealing with lotus runners, and tubers, but especially the runners. This is a lesson in growing lotuses from my experience, others may have different experiences.

      I think lotuses are easier to grow than a lot of people would have you to believe. I am in zone 6. From my experience of raising lotuses for over a decade, they can take more punishment than we might think. I will deal more with this point in my post #2 on this thread.
      If divided while dormant, as long as they do not dry completely out, or get infested with disease or insects, and the growing tips are not all broke off, they seem to grow easily. Now that seems like a long list of problems, but not really. I spray my plants for aphids with a dish detergent/vegetable oil/water mix maybe twice a year and it keeps the insect problem avoided. I have never had a disease problem and only get my plants from reliable sources to prevent a desease infestation. By keeping the plants in water tight tubs I do not worry about them drying, only adding water when the water level is down.
      When receiving shipments, if packaged right, you should not have broken growing tips, but even with the best packing they sometimes get broke. Unless all growing tips are broken, the plant will live and grow just fine. It only takes one growing tip for the runner/tuber to make a plant. However, it is better to have multiple growing tips. When dividing, keep two sections of the tuber chain together with at least two growing tips. This helps the survival rate in case something happens to one of the tips. This should be done for personal tunners/tubers also. Tips sometimes get broken in planting.
      I think the best way to plant a runner or tuber is to simply lay it on the soil, put a stone the size of an egg or small potato on the runner stem to weight it down, and let it grow into the soil. You may want to cover any runner stem with soil, but leave the growing tip uncovered. You have less chance of breaking it that way. I like using plain top soil for my growing medium.
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      Now as to runners. A runner is a part of the root system that stretches the plant out so that new growth or plants are not bunched into the same area. From it, leaves are sent up, and runners are sent out. Tubers are also produced from the runners. If planted the way I just described, runners have as good of a chance of survival as a tuber. Runners should have multiple tips as well. I have shipped runners all over the country, some alreading having leaves on them, and they did fine.
      I do not divide the runner after it has began to grow. Runners, like tubers should be divided when the plant is dormant, in the winter months. I have been doing this for several years and it has always worked.
      Last year because of having so many runners, I placed the remaining runners in tubs of water and sold them up into July. The runners were already divided, but were growing of course. I did not plant them, so I did not have to worry about breaking them or the growing tips when I got them out to ship. By the end of July I quit selling them and just let them grow in the water. Many were blooming. I did not fertilize them as I did not want them to grow much because I wanted to sell them and did not want the cost of shipping large plants. They grew in whatever little mulm was in the tub.
      At the end of warm weather, I brought a few of the runners into the greenhouse and placed them in ponds, but again, did not plant them. 3 or 4 of the plants were left outside in the tubs of water.
      When I checked on my hardy lilies today, I noticed the lotus runners I had left outside over the winter. We have had an extremely cold winter with lots of snow, and ice on the ponds has been 4 or 5 inches deep. I was amazed! The pics tell what I found. The third pic shows the tubs the plants were in, the second pic shows one of the plants in the bottom of the tub, and the others show what I found. Amazing!
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      As you could see in the last post pics, those plants grew with no care given. Just dropped into the tub and left to survive on its own. Not what you would think from listening to some, but that is what happened. Even with 4-5 inches of ice, the runners survived and have made small tubers.
      I am not saying to grow lotuses without being potted. They do much better when potted, and that is how they are supposed to grow. My point is that the plants are not as hard to grow as thought, and that runners can be grown as easy as tubers.
      I know this is a rather wordy thread, but for those who want to grow a lotus, but were afraid to, I hope this gives you courage to try them.
      Happy ponding!
      Last edited by matherfish; 03-01-2011 at 09:56 PM.
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      Thanks Frank for this very informative thread.

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      Thanks, Frank - I've learned a lot from you! I haven't taken my plants out of the pots they grew in last Fall and hope that they'll do OK this season. should I drain off the old water and put in some fresh? The water in those pots has been there since I planted the runners last Spring. I have a mixture of compost and topsoil in the pots and had put some Osmocote into the dirt before I planted the lotus runners. They grew beautifully but did not produce many blooms - only one or 2 per pot for the season. I'm hoping for more blooms this year. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!


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      I am going to sticky this good info from Frank.
      Nancy



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      Sworley, I never do a water change. I figure the rain pretty well takes care of that. I would not worry about the water. If you just potted the plants up this past year they will do fine this year. Do not divide them until next winter. As for blooms, the plant will be older this year so they should produce more blooms. Just remember to fertilize them regularly. Osmocote works but it is a heat activated release product so you need to monitor it. I like pond tabs because I can consistently fertilize once a month and not worry about the heat. With year old plants,I take a stick about an inch in diameter, push a hole down about 2 inches in the soil about a couple of inches from the leaf stem on the inside of the pot and drop a tablet in the hole. I then push it down into the hole with the stick. When you push the hole into the soil, try not to damage the buried tubers. By going on the inside of the stems you have a better chance of not hitting a tuber. New plants are fertilized the same way once they start putting leaves up. When first planting tubers or runners, put the fertilizer in the pot about an inch from the pot sides and about an inch from the bottom of the pot. Do not put the fertilizer against the tuber or runner itself, or the roots. I fertilize using 6 fertilizer tablets per tub monthly.
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      Frank, that is a very good and informative thread. The only thing (not correcting you Frank,nor trying to snitch
      your thread here), is I start fertilizing with pondtabs when a newly planted tuber and/or runner gets four new little
      leaves. And thereafter about every 2 or 3 weeks. At the very beginning of planting new tuber, it actually feeds
      off the tuber itself. Sorry Frank.

      To those that have found lotuses hard to grow -- if you will follow Frank's advice,you will be successful. Lotuses love
      warmth and food and of course adequate water. I keep anywhere from 6" to 10" of water on top of my dirt, which is just
      plain common clay dirt, maybe has a little bit of sand in it. I've been growing lotuses at least 15 years msyelf, and Frank's
      method and mine are the same almost.

      Marie Fisher

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      I agree Marie. I fertilize when I plant the tuber/runner, and then when it is starting to grow and send up leaves, I begin my fertilizing ritual. During peak growing and blooming months it is a good idea to fertilize more often than once a month. Glad you mentioned that Marie. I just forgot to mention it. Good advice. Thanks
      P.S.- You are extremely knowledgable about lotuses and water lilies and I welcome your insights. We do grow our plants very similarly and learn from each other.
      Last edited by matherfish; 03-01-2011 at 11:30 PM.
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    11. #11
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      Set in 6" water this small variety of lotus, growing bare root along the shelf is easy to examine, it can be lifted entirely intact to have a peak! As long as you don't mind the cardiac shock lifting a plant in Winters waters, hehe

      It does not look like much until you see when lifted out of the gloomy water and it catches the light, the stem and growing point is perky just waiting for warmer weather!

      Along the stem, you can see the remnants of last years roots and foliage stems that fizzled out over winter

      I don't think I could do this if it was entombed in mud, nor would such a delicate stem survive being excavated, indeedy.

      As this stem springs back into life with new shoots and roots forming, it will be quite reliable, as long as it stays damp and intact, to snip a decent series of well rooted sections and start up in another position throughout its growing season

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      Andrew showed the growing tip on a lotus runner, here are a couple of tubers and the arrow show the growing tips and leaf stems. Tubers and runers do not conformto a same shape/pattern every time so you have to look at where tips and stems are to be found on your tuber/runner and recognize them.
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      Could you share your recipe for the aphid wash? dish detergent/vegetable oil/water mix....how much of each?

      Over the last couple of years I've started getting aphids on a few things.
      In my lily pool I keep skeeter fish and I like to hose the aphids off with the
      water hose and watch the fish eat.
      Last edited by gonecadd; 03-07-2011 at 11:29 PM.
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      I got the recipe from an article by Rich Sacher several years ago. Here it is-
      Treating for Aphid Infestation by Rich Sacher
      * The following technique can be used to treat water lilies for aphid infestation without harm to your fish.
      Aphids and many other garden pests can be easily controlled with an inexpensive, homemade insecticide--according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      * This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discovered that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and white flies. Home gardeners should mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil. When pests strike, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days.
      Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites.
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      Quote Originally Posted by matherfish View Post
      I got the recipe from an article by Rich Sacher several years ago. Here it is-
      Treating for Aphid Infestation by Rich Sacher
      * The following technique can be used to treat water lilies for aphid infestation without harm to your fish.
      Aphids and many other garden pests can be easily controlled with an inexpensive, homemade insecticide--according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      * This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discovered that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and white flies. Home gardeners should mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil. When pests strike, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days.
      Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites.
      Thanks Frank. I will make this mix up to have on hand!
      Nancy



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      Quote Originally Posted by matherfish View Post
      I got the recipe from an article by Rich Sacher several years ago. Here it is-
      Treating for Aphid Infestation by Rich Sacher
      * The following technique can be used to treat water lilies for aphid infestation without harm to your fish.
      Aphids and many other garden pests can be easily controlled with an inexpensive, homemade insecticide--according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      * This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discovered that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and white flies. Home gardeners should mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil. When pests strike, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days.
      Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites.
      I found aphids this morning on my Lotus. I sprayed it with this mix. Thanks again Frank for this info.
      Nancy



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      Remember to wash the mix off of the plant after about 10 or 15 minutes. It will hurt the plant if you don't. Also, repeat every day for four or five treatments. That way you should kill off any newly hatched aphids.
      Last edited by matherfish; 04-30-2011 at 06:17 PM.
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      Well I didn't know to wash it off. It has been on four hours. I will go wash it ioff now.
      Nancy



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      The instructions didn't say to wash it off but I have found that the oil on the leaves will burn the leaves when it is left on and the sun heats it up. It could also clog the pores of the leaves, so I wash it off after it has time to kill the aphids. I think it kills the same way. It either causes them to suffocate or the oil clogs up their pores. 10 to 15 minutes should kill the aphids.
      Last edited by matherfish; 04-30-2011 at 06:34 PM.
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      I washed the leaves off with water from the pond. I could see some sheen on the water so I skimmed the water out of the pot & refilled with pond water. Hope that will help. I will rinse them off again tomorrow too.
      Nancy



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