Lotus will handle some shade, especially in warmer climates, but to grow and bloom their best they prefer full sunlight. The main exception is in hot desert climates, where some shade cloth is desirable. Lotus require temperatures of at least 75 degrees F. for at least three months in summer to do well.
Placing Lotus with Koi and Goldfish
Goldfish are not normally a problem with lotus. Larger koi can disturb the soil, and even pick on the floating leaves. We generally recommend using enough plants in a koi pond that koi do not focus all their energy on just a few plants, and that usually works. You can also place the pots close to the surface and place rocks on the soil that are too large for the koi to move easily. For extremely large and determined koi, rocking off a corner for the lotus will work.
Lotus can over-winter in ponds, even in Michigan or Minnesota, so long as the tubers are protected from ice. In colder climates (zone 5 or lower), this is usually provided by dropping the lotus to the bottom of a deeper pond (below the frost depth), then raising it again in the spring; or move into a frost-protected garage. In zones 6 or 7, we recommend mulching around above-ground pots in winter; pots in even a shallow pond are fine. In zones 8 or above (and often in zone 7), even lotus in above ground pots may be left outside unprotected. In all zones, our lotus will go dormant in winter; they form overwintering tubers with growing points that send out runners each spring.