Well, a few days ago my Lotus started blooming. And boy has it bloomed. I think this might be a record year for blooms. That would be a good thing as the blooms are magnificent. The blooms are huge, smell good and last for several days.
It is very interesting to watch it go through it's cycles as it blooms. It's really beautiful whether closed or open and after the bloom is gone, leaves an interesting seed head behind that we just leave til the fall. People are always wanting them for arrangements as they are so unusual and interesting to look at. Here's some pictures of a bloom start to finish.
Here is the bud before opening, about 6" tall and 4" wide and tightly wrapped. Certainly a nice promise of what is to come.
When they first open the petals are more upright and not too spread out and of course, beautiful.
The pink is darker, quite intense and you can barely see the yellow of the inside.
In the evening, after being open all day, the bloom closes up for the night. Some blooms, but not all, close up quite rapidly. You can actually see the petals moving as they close.
The next morning starts the cycle over again, opening, staying open all day, and then closing again. This goes on for several days with the bloom opening wider every day until the petals are barely hanging on. The pink color fades a little every day as well, showing more of the brilliant yellow center. Little native bees and flies really like these blooms as do the little spiders that prey on them. This picture shows day four for this bloom. Some last longer than others.
This is day five now. You can see that almost all the pink is gone and the petals are now barely attached. Sadly, this is its last day. I've been lucky enough to be close when some shed their petals and it is pretty cool to watch. On some blooms the petals will start falling off, one after another till they are gone, taking only a minute to completely shed. Others will instantly drop every petal at one time. Some will just drop a few at a time looking quite haggard till the rest are gone.
But it's not too bad because they leave behind an interesting seed head that will last a long time. Even the seed head goes through changes over time on its way to its final destination. Eventually it gets spongy and falls off the stem and floats away to where the seeds will fall out and float even farther away to expand its range. The one on the right is one that has the petals that have fallen off recently. It has been almost a month since the petals have fallen off the one on the left.
With most water pond plants, there is a certain responsibility that goes with owning them. As you can see in the back ground of these pictures, water plants are very prolific. Lotus are no different. You would be very irresponsible to ever let any plant parts get into native water bodies or streams. They literally take over the native plants. I just thought I would post this warning to people thinking about getting into ponds. I've seen it personally in stock tanks and even on Decker Lake where there are now acres of Lotus growing. Any plant parts that are pulled out of our ponds are put into the compost pile unless they are being potted to give to a friend.