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Bowl Lotus Delight: The Oriental Pearl’s Vibrant Blooms

The Oriental Pearl is a miniature lotus flower grown in pots and bowls, one of the varieties of bowl lotus. It is a man-made cultivar, originally from Jiangsu. The Oriental Pearl lotus plant is not very large, belonging to a medium-small size; the leaves are shield-shaped, round, with sturdy petioles covered with short thorns; the […]

The Oriental Pearl is a miniature lotus flower grown in pots and bowls, one of the varieties of bowl lotus. It is a man-made cultivar, originally from Jiangsu.

The Oriental Pearl lotus plant is not very large, belonging to a medium-small size; the leaves are shield-shaped, round, with sturdy petioles covered with short thorns; the flower is double petal type, the buds are mostly peach-shaped, petals are red and pink, oval; the flowering period is from June to September; the flower diameter is 10-15 centimeters, suitable as a potted plant, placed at home or in the office.

This variety also won the first prize in the 7th National Lotus Exhibition.

Characteristics

The Oriental Pearl is a perennial aquatic herb; the rootstock is horizontally grown, thick, with enlarged internodes, containing many vertical air ducts, the joints are constricted, with black scale leaves growing on top, and adventitious roots growing below.

The leaves are round, shield-shaped, with a diameter of 25-90 centimeters, the entire edge is slightly wavy, the top is smooth, coated with white powder, the veins underneath radiate from the center, with 1-2 times of forked branches; the petioles are sturdy, cylindrical, 1-2 meters long, hollow, with small thorns scattered on the outside.

The flower stalk is as long or slightly longer than the petiole, also scattered with small thorns; the flower is 10-20 centimeters in diameter, beautiful, fragrant; the petals are red, pink or white, rectangular-oval to ovate, 5-10 centimeters long, 3-5 centimeters wide, gradually smaller from the outside to the inside, sometimes turning into stamens, the tip is rounded or slightly pointed; the anthers are bar-shaped, the filaments are thin and long, attached below the receptacle; the style is very short, with the stigma on top; the receptacle (lotus room) is 5-10 centimeters in diameter.

The nuts are oval or ovate, 1.8-2.5 centimeters long, the fruit skin is leathery, hard, dark brown when ripe; the seeds (lotus seeds) are ovate or oval, 1.2-1.7 centimeters long, the seed coat is red or white. Flowering period is from June to August, fruiting period is from August to October.

The Bowl Lotus is a miniature lotus flower, a perennial rhizomatous aquatic plant.

The underground stem is enlarged and has nodes, called lotus root, horizontally grown in the silt, roots and leaves sprout from the internodes, the edges are entire, shield-shaped, round, dark green, rough, covered with small blunt thorns, between the thorns there is a waxy white powder, on the petiole there are densely inverted hard thorns.

The leaves can be divided into “coin leaves” (the first leaves produced by the apex), “floating leaves” (the first leaves that grow larger than the coin leaves and float on the water surface from the lotus belt), and “standing leaves” (the leaves that grow later from the lotus root and stand out of the water) according to their growth order and shape.

The flower is solitary at the top of the flower stalk, peach-shaped or cylindrical, generally blooming without fruiting. It reproduces by the underground stem (lotus root). Flowering period is from June to September.

For this variety, the flower bud is peach-shaped, rose red. The flower is pink, with a diameter of 10-15 centimeters. It is a double-petal type, with dense flowers. Most of the stamens and pistils are petalized and do not bear fruit. This variety won the first prize in the 7th National Lotus Exhibition.

Living Habits

The Bowl Lotus likes plenty of sunshine. If it receives less than 4 hours of sunlight a day, it cannot form flower buds. During the growing period, it should be placed on a south-facing balcony or a windowsill facing the sun for all-day sunlight.

When the floating leaves cover the surface of the pot, they should be promptly pressed into the bowl mud to avoid blocking ventilation and light.

The Bowl Lotus plant is delicate, and during summer and early autumn, it should be appropriately shaded at noon to avoid direct sunlight. If exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves and petals are prone to scorching.

The Bowl Lotus grows vigorously in the hot summer. It buds at 8°C-10°C, the lotus whip starts to elongate at 14°C, the temperature for growth and development is 23°C-30°C, it blooms above 28°C, growth slows above 35°C, growth stops and may even die at 40°C.

It should be protected from strong sunshine or strong wind after the rain. New lotus roots grow at 25°C. The Bowl Lotus likes strong light, which is beneficial for its development. It also likes water but fears flooding, the leaves are prone to rot in deep water, the water should be shallow in the early stage, and gradually deepen in the later stage.

It likes fertilizer but cannot tolerate heavy fertilizer, overfertilization is prone to rotting the stem, the base fertilizer should be sufficient, and the top dressing should be less.

It is not strict about soil requirements, it likes fertile slightly acidic clay soil, general fertile river mud or vegetable garden soil can be used. It takes about 60 days from planting to flowering.

Cultivation Method

Seed Treatment

The first step is to crack the seed shell. Lotus seeds have a strong and thick outer shell. After the seed is fully mature and dry, it’s hard for water and air to penetrate, so it remains in a state of forced dormancy.

This is why lotus seeds can remain buried in the soil for hundreds or even thousands of years without sprouting or decaying. In order to allow the lotus seed to absorb water and oxygen after sowing, break this dormant state, and initiate germination, it’s necessary to crack the shell.

Lotus is anatropous ovule, with the embryo germinating at the top of the seed. When cracking the shell, the base of the seed should be cracked, which is the end attached to the flower stalk, or the indented end of the lotus seed. This can be done with scissors or pliers.

Usually, it’s enough to just grind through the outer shell (the hard shell of the lotus seed) until the brown seed coat is visible. When cracking the shell, a 2-3 millimeter crack at the base is enough. Be careful not to go too deep to avoid damaging the embryo.

After soaking the seed for a day, when the embryo has absorbed water and swollen and the outer shell has softened, you can peel off about 1/3 of the shell along the crack to expose the embryo, which facilitates the extension of the embryo bud.

It’s important to note that the cracked area should not be too large or excessive. If all of the hard shell of the lotus seed is removed, the embryo bud will lose its protection and is likely to decay and die.

The second step is to soak the cracked seeds in warm water at around 50 degrees Celsius. The soaking water should be clean, free of grease and dirt. Avoid using water hotter than 50 degrees as it will affect germination.

Allow the water temperature to naturally drop and eventually stabilize around 30 degrees, not exceeding 40 degrees or falling below 20 degrees. If the water temperature exceeds 40 degrees, the seeds will germinate quickly on the first day but growth will be inhibited thereafter.

If the water temperature falls below 20 degrees, seed germination and growth will be too slow. When soaking a small number of seeds at home, they can be placed in a thermos to maintain the temperature.

Under 30-degree conditions, seeds can typically germinate within three days of soaking, with the embryo bud extending from the crack. During this period, the water should be changed 1-3 times per day, and seeds that fail to germinate should be promptly removed.

Generally, seeds that have not germinated after seven days are unlikely to do so. Seeds without germination ability often float on the water surface, with yellowing embryo buds and foul-smelling, rotting cotyledons.

Choosing a Container

Bowl lotuses are often hydroponically cultivated in refined bowls or small colorful tanks, which look very pleasing.

Even if using a bowl, it should have a diameter of about 25 centimeters and be more than 20 centimeters deep. If the container is too small, the growth of the bowl lotus will be restricted and it will be difficult for it to bloom.

Soil and Fertilizer

After the seedlings have emerged, they should be hydroponically cultivated for 5-7 days at around 25 degrees Celsius. During this period of hydroponic cultivation, the lotus seedlings have weak root absorption and their growth mainly relies on the nutrients provided by the seed embryo, so they generally don’t need fertilization.

During the hydroponic cultivation process, the water layer should be maintained at about 10 centimeters and the seedlings should be given ample sunlight. Avoid frequent water changes or disturbances to prevent the leaves from excessively elongating due to constant changes in their growth direction.

The leaf stalks should be kept in the water, allowing the leaves to freely spread out on the water surface. Once the first leaf has unfolded and the second leaf is about to do the same, and when white roots have emerged, the seedlings can be potted.

Around 1% of the pot soil volume should be used as base fertilizer in the bowl lotus container, and then pond mud should be added until it fills 2/3 of the pot. Since bowl lotus has little soil and insufficient nutrients, frequent fertilization is required, but it should be light and often.

After a year of cultivation, the fertility of the bowl lotus will decrease and the underground rhizomes will become dense. It’s advisable to change the soil before the buds sprout in early spring.

Plant Management

When the buds have grown to about 10 centimeters, they can be transplanted. Based on the needs of bowl lotus cultivation, after choosing the soil and filling it into the flower pot, add clean water and mix the soil and fertilizer evenly.

After the muddy water has settled, pot the hydroponically cultivated seedlings in the center of the flower pot, burying the seeds completely in the mud so that the leaves can freely spread out on the water surface. Be careful not to break the leaf stalks during transplanting to avoid affecting growth.

After planting, maintain a 3-5 centimeter water layer, but be careful not to submerge the leaves in water. Bowl lotus thrives in sunlight, so the flower pot should be placed in a sunny location. The seedlings are delicate and some may be scorched by the sun, but they will usually sprout and survive.

Avoid overwatering to increase the water temperature and promote growth. Once 7-13 floating leaves have emerged, upright leaves will appear. Connect the ends of the seed lotus, with the top bud facing the center of the container, and plant it in the pot.

After planting, add water to a depth of 2-3 centimeters, let it dry, and then add water again. Repeat this process two or three times to ensure the seed lotus and the soil are sufficiently consolidated and do not easily float. Bowl lotus needs to be watered daily in the summer.

Pest and Disease Control

Bowl lotus is generally susceptible to aphids, which can be controlled with a 3000-fold dilution of chrysanthemum extract.

Propagation Method

Division

Around Qingming Festival, select vigorous rhizomes and cut them into sections every 2-3 nodes. Each section must have a top bud and a tail node, and can be potted separately.

During this period, be particularly careful to protect the plants from heavy rain and wind. If the leaves are blown and broken, the seed lotus will not develop well, affecting its blooming the following year.

Seeding

Before seeding, the seed coat should be damaged with an iron file, then soaked in clean water. Change the water daily, and the seeds can be planted once 2-3 leaves have emerged.

In the early stages of planting, maintain a water depth of about 2 centimeters. Once upright leaves have emerged, maintain a depth of 10 centimeters.

Value and Other Information

The blooming period of bowl lotus is in the middle of summer, a slow period for most flowers, so it fills a gap. Having a bowl lotus on a bookshelf or rack adds a unique charm and is a very trendy ornamental plant.

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Peggie

Peggie

Founder of FlowersLib

Peggie was once a high school mathematics teacher, but she set aside her chalkboard and textbooks to follow her lifelong passion for flowers. After years of dedication and learning, she not only established a thriving flower shop but also founded this blog, “Flowers Library”. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about flowers, feel free to contact Peggie.

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