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When do I divide lotus and waterlilies

chriscoli

Board of Directors
Ok, I know a few of you on here are aquatic plant fans. When do I divide/repot my lotus and waterlilies? I was too late on the lotus last year. I think I read something about doing it right when the growing tips start emerging?

Since I don't have a pond, I bring mine into the garage during the winter. since I use resin pots for them, in the fall, I dump the water, pick the dead leaves out, and leave the lotus in it's pot still inside the resin pot. Then I wrap the whole thing in a big trash bag. Then they get stacked in the garage with a sheet of wood between the outer resin pots so that the top one doesn't nest inside the lower one and crush the potted lotus.
 

zendog

Active Member
I don't think you need to wait until you see growing tips and in fact I prefer they be hardly growing since it is less likely you'll break them by accident. Separating them is a delicate operation. I've always been surprised how much they had already started growing when I decided to separate them. Since mine were outside, it was a matter of it being warm enough that I could stand to put my hand in the pond to fish the pots out, plus I waited until I turned on the outside water so that I'd have running water to help wash off the dirt/mud. I believe mid to late March was when I did it. Your garage may be warmer than the bottom of an outside pond, so keep an eye on them.

When I separated them, I would then just repot the tubers I planned on keeping and the extras would go into a tub of water out of direct sun to keep until they went to new homes. If it got particularly cold, I would just cover the tubs so they wouldn't freeze over and possibly damage any tubers at the surface.

Last winter was the first time I tried keeping them out of the pond and put them in trash bags in my garage. Since my garage is detached and they were near the garage door, I know they froze solid several times and in the end they never came back. I'm planning to order some new ones in a week or so for shipment end of March.
 

chriscoli

Board of Directors
Hmmmm, so sounds like I should pull them apart now and see what's in the pots, divide, and pot back up and leave them in the garage till its warmer?

How about water lilies? Divide now, or is it better to let them start growing?
 

zendog

Active Member
For the lotus, I would check on them now and see how much they're waking up. I think if you can wait a while you might want to since I'm not sure how keeping them in the garage with no sun will work after repotting since there is always a risk of them rotting before growing.

The big rush with lotus is that the growing points are so delicate and breaking them off can lead to the tubers rotting or just not growing, but water lilies are much easier. Spring is preferable before they have put out a lot of new leaves., but overall they are quite tough and as long as you are leaving enough tuber, roots and leaves with each piece you separate (plus a growth point of course), they should do fine. I think I divided the Hermine that you got a piece of last June and I believe that did well, but I did pretty big divisions. The biggest risk with water lilies is that they if you do it late and they don't bounce back fast enough you don't get blooms that year.
 
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