Not often thought of as a vegetable in Australia, Lotus root is widely used in Asian cuisines. Said to have a beneficial medicinal qualities, it is more usual for Lotus root tobe used for the crisp texture it brings to a range of dishes.
Best described as an edible water plant, one problem is that the plant itself spread quickly, so when grown in dams, it can tend to take over.
This vegetable is simply the root os a water lily, Nelumbo nucifera. So if you can grow them, you can harvest the roots, or tubers if desired. Eaten raw, when fresh it is sweet and crunchy. More often it is cooked, and produces wonderful patterns when sliced and turned into ‘Lotus Chips’.
How to grow Lotus Root.
If you can grow water lilies, you can grow lotus root. You will need a pond, or you might try growing lotus root in a a large water feature, or a container.
- Choose a sunny position, and ensure that the water is at least 60 cm deep.
- Plant the lotus root in a large container using a humus rich soil mix with added compost.
- Secure the plants, in the container to to the bottom of the pond. Make sure that it can be easily lifted to allow for fertiliser to be applied.
- Fertilise with a balanced organic fertiliser once a month.
- Allow the plant to flower.
- Once the plant begins to die back you can lift it and harvest the roots.
It is best to keep some of the roots for replanting for the next season.
If you are growing the lotus root in a container you will need to change the water completely every year. You will also need to top up the water if the level drops during the growing season.