How to Care For a Tiger Lotus

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How to Care For a Tiger Lotus

When looking to add plants to a freshwater aquarium, there are endless choices. You should consider color and shape when trying to achieve the best overall look. One plant that is both beautiful and relatively simple to maintain is the tiger lotus or Nymphaea zenkeri. With its broad, wavy-edged leaves and variegated color pattern, it can bring a new and stunning aesthetic to your aquarium.

The tiger lotus is a bulb plant that has two kinds of leaf structures. The first type consists of completely submersed leaves that are somewhat heart-shaped and grow near the bulb. The second type is floating leaves on long, thin stems that look like lily pads resting at the surface of the water.

The long-stemmed lily pads of the Tiger lotus float on the surface of the water and have bushy leaves.

How do I plant a Tiger Lotus Bulb

If you purchase this plant from Aquarium Co-Op, the bulb will arrive in a plastic pot covered in rock wool. Although there may be a few tiny leaves that sprout from the bulb after it is planted, they can become damaged or melted. Don’t worry, a healthy bulb will be the best. The bulb should be removed from the pot along with rock wool. Rinse off any debris. Tiger lotuses get rather large, so plant it the midground or background of the fish tank. Push one-third of your bulb into the substrate. Make sure the shoots or leaves remain above the ground. It is important not to bury the whole bulb as it could rot. If your bulb seems to be floating initially, wait until it becomes sufficiently waterlogged to sink. As the roots grow into the substrate, they will firmly anchor the bulb in place.

How can you grow a Tiger Lotus tree?

Once your tiger lotus becomes well-established, it will quickly grow plenty of big leaves, so make sure you feed it comprehensive fertilizers like Easy Green and Easy Root Tabs. To bring out the redness in the plant, provide medium to high lighting with some extra iron fertilizer.

Some Tiger Lotuses have primarily green leaves with red variegation while others have reddish-purple stripes on their red leaves.

How Do You Prune an Aquarium Lotus?

Eventually, the tiger lotus may grow so many floating leaves that it prevents other aquarium plants from getting enough light. To trim the plant, simply clip the lily pad at the base of its stem, closest to the bulb. You can also keep the plant from growing too tall by continuously pruning a few of the floating leaves, which allows the plant to grow out bushier rather than taller.

How Do You Propagate a Tiger Lotus?

One of the most interesting aspects about the tiger lotsus is its ability to grow flowers at the surface. If a lotus has lots of lily pads, it may produce a flower with colors ranging from white to yellow. The flower may wilt and develop multiple seeds that you can collect. The bulb is another method of propagation. If the tiger lotus is doing well, the parent bulb may form little daughter bulbs that can be detached and replanted in another aquarium.

Do Tiger Lotuses Go Dormant?

Sometimes, bulb plants go dormant for a time. All the leaves will eventually die and the bulb will remain. You can keep the bulb in the aquarium. After several months, it will start sprouting new leaves. The bulb can be removed, placed in a moist container for several months and then returned to the tank. New leaves will start to sprout after that.

If you’re looking for an eye-catching centerpiece plant to elevate the look of your aquascape, give the tiger lotus a try. If you prefer a lily that doesn’t need as much light, read about the dwarf aquarium lily here: