Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Like shelling peas

For a seed that hides behind a tough shell, growing Lotus from seed is like shelling peas. Scarring the shell is the hardest part, but after that just drop the seed into a container of tepid water or plant it directly into the soil in a small container then drown it with water.

Young Lotus seedlings growing in clay pots.

A row of Lotus seedlings in various stages of growth.
Mom was quite surprised that a week after she planted her first Lotus seed, it began to sprout and form little leaves. She was not surprised because the seed germinated, but rather, she was astounded that after spending more time scouring the tough shell that protects the seed, germination was relatively quick and uneventful.

Inspired by her success, mom started to plant the other seeds she collected. I had to tell her to stop, otherwise we'll end up having too many Lotus plants with nowhere to put them.

I asked mom to save the rest of the seeds for future use. I read that seeds with intact shells are viable even after several years in storage. There were reports that Lotus seeds hundreds of years old still germinated after they were sown.

Young Lotus leaf compared in size to a plastic spoon.

Before trying her luck at growing Lotus from seeds, mom observed that the mother Lotuses were sprouting new, small and heart-shaped leaves at their bases. She immediately notified me and mentioned that we don't need to plant the seeds since the mother plants were producing many new shoots.

I was quite perplexed by her statement. I know Lotus also grows from tubers, but they don't have leaves that are heart-shaped. I suspect these plant are not Lotuses, they are just trying to deceive my unwary mother.

Some unknown water plants now growing in their own pot which mom mistook for young Lotus plants.

I told mom to collect the impostors and plant them in a separate container. When I received the image above, my hunch was correct, these are not Lotus plants. What they are, I do not know. But since they have beautifully-shaped leaves I told mom to just let them grow and see what happens as they mature.