Lotus plants can be found in various parts of the world, and Kerala is no exception, with many suitable locations for these beautiful aquatic plants.
Building a lotus and lily pond is a straightforward endeavour that can reward you with an abundance of vibrant flowers, requiring minimal attention.
How to Create a Lotus and Lily Pond
Selecting the Right Location:
Lotus plants thrive when they receive ample sunlight. Therefore, when choosing a spot for your pond, opt for a sunny location. These plants require approximately 6-8 hours of sunlight each day, making this aspect of pond creation relatively simple.
A single lotus plant can spread to cover an area of 1-2 meters in diameter. To control its growth, it’s advisable to plant lotus in appropriately sized pots, preventing it from overgrowing.
Choosing Suitable Containers:
For beginners, earthen planter boxes with a depth of 30 centimetres and a diameter of one meter are a good starting point. The ideal depth of a lotus pond should be between 40 to 60 centimetres, depending on whether you plan to include small fish.
Before excavation, mark the area and ensure there are no submerged pipelines or electrical cables. Once the area is safe, proceed with digging and remove any debris before installing the pond liner.
Selecting the Right Pond Liner:
Pond liners are made from various materials, including HDPE, LLDPE, FPP, PVC, and EPDM. While synthetic rubber pond liners are excellent options, they can be more costly. Liners come in different thicknesses and strengths, measured in GSM (grams per square meter). The choice of liner should be based on soil conditions.
For outdoor ponds, liners treated with UV protection are preferable. When measuring for the pond liner, remember to include a 30 cm overlap on all sides.
Before placing the liner, install an underlay material like geotextile, old jute sacks, or blankets for protection and cushioning.
Lay the liner in the centre of the pond and unfold it to the edges, removing any creases. Gradually fill the pond with water, neatly tucking the excess liner at the edges and adding coping stones as counterweights.
Water Preparation and Planting:
If using tap water to fill the pond, consider the chlorine content, which can harm plants. Aeration is an effective method to remove chlorine from tap water, or you can add a de-chlorinator, albeit at an additional cost.
Prepare a suitable substrate for planting lotus. In Kerala, red soil is abundant and can be mixed with equal parts of cow dung to create a natural mud ideal for lotus growth.
Plant lotus in pots and add pebbles for weight, which can be removed once the plant’s roots are established. Lotus plants typically bloom within 5 to 6 weeks.
To maintain water quality and prevent stagnation, consider installing an aerator or a small solar fountain, depending on the pond’s size. If you introduce fish to the pond, use an adequate filter to remove particles and consider adding a UV water clarifier to prevent algae growth.
Remember to fertilize lotus plants regularly, as they are nutrient-hungry. Use aquatic plant fertilizers in liquid, powder, or tablet form, ensuring they are fish-safe.
Maintaining a lotus and lily pond is relatively easy. Regularly prune old leaves and flowers, as lotus flowers typically last for about three days. Trim brown foliage above the water surface at intervals, but avoid cutting old leaves below the waterline to ensure healthy lotus growth.
The ideal temperature for lotus and lily plants is above 21°C, making Kerala’s climate well-suited for their growth.
Happy planting, and don’t hesitate to seek assistance if needed during your pond-building journey!