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I am growing lotus from a seed. What kind of lighting should I get for winter? What is the lifecycle and makeup of lotus? I am trying to figure out if I need a blue or red shade LED? I am a little confused with how to grow them in a colder climate like Washington state.

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Unless your plant is still just a seedling, you should just allow it to go dormant for the winter. If it is outdoors lift it out of the pond and bring it indoors to a cool, not cold, location sitting in wading pool of water. The water does not need to be deep just enough to keep the plant wet through out the winter. Ideally the water should stay around 40-50°F (4-10°C) This is the ideal, but not a firm rule. In spring you should start to increase the temperature of the air and water. Also increase the amount of light that the room gets. You will also increase the amount of water once the plant starts to break dormancy. Only put as much water as need. Ideally you want the water temperature indoors to be between 60-65°F (15-18­°C). You will keep it inside until the outdoor water temperature is above 60-65°F (15-18°C). Depending on where in WA state you live the water may not get above this temperature until sometime in summer.

If the room you store your plant in winter does not have windows this is okay, until spring. In spring you want to introduce light to the plant as soon as it starts to break dormancy. A very simple LED grow light of 100W should be enough until you take it outside for summer. Run the grow light for 16-18 hours. The grow light should be WHITE light, do not use any coloured lights. The grow light should also be full spectrum.

100W is all you need, but the more sunlight you can provide the better. You can go as high as 1000W, but at this power it should be in place before the plant breaks dormancy, so it does not burn the plant when you do put it in place. 100W light should only about 3" (8 cm) away from the plant, but 1000W should probably be about 12-16" (30-40 cm) above the plant.

When it come to time to bring it outside bring the wading pool in a area that only gets morning sunlight for a few hours to start. Slowly increase the amount of light the plant gets each day by about an hour.

In the pond it should go in full sun. The brightest warmest location in the pond. The pot should be just submerged below the water surface, do not put it in deep water. You need it to shallow for you plant to thrive in WA.

Even with all of this care you still may not be able to get it to bloom for years. It is hard in WA with the short summers.

If you have more questions about growing lotus I suggest calling the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, OR horticulture department. They have a great lotus garden. There staff are friendly and willing to share growing tips. They also have a few videos online.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

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