hydrocotyle for aquascapes
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Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Rhizome
Location: North and South America
Size: 3-7 cm (1-3in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes
Hydrocotyle verticillata is a common weed found throughout the warmer regions of the Americas, growing in areas ranging from poorly-drained soils to shallow water. It differs from the more commonly available H. leucocephala in that the leaves are entire (like a miniature parasol) and not incised (cut) at the base. There seem to be many H. verticillata look-a-likes in the trade that grow significantly taller. The true H. verticillata is uncommon in the U.S. trade, although both Tropica and Oriental Aquariums grow it.
H. verticillata is not too difficult to maintain in the aquarium. The most important factor is lighting, as the height of this plant will be determined by lighting intensity. The stronger the lighting, the shorter this plant will be. Otherwise, this plant is not too fussy about CO2 or fertilization, although a well balanced nutrient regime and CO2 injection do greatly enhance growth and overall health.
This interesting little plant, unlike H. leucocephala, retains its trailing growth habit when submersed. When first planting, cut the runners into segments that include one leaf. Plant the runners horizontally into the substrate. Soon, this Hydrocotyle will begin to put out new runners. Control it by cutting unwanted runner segments with a sharp pair of scissors.
Because of its unique, umbrella-like leaves and short height, H. verticillata makes a charming foreground accent plant where the leaves look like miniature, green toadstools or mushrooms. In larger aquariums, it can be used as the main foreground plant in place of more typical species like Glossostigma elatinoides, Eleocharis spp., and Riccia fluitans.
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