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Re: Cardamine lyrata

Rick Marsh on Cardamine lyrata:

>         I love the look of this plant and can't resist buying it every time
>i see it for sale but i never have any luck at all with it.
>         The label says it will take planting down to afoot or so deep but it
>just seems to lose its nice emersed bunched shape and become a mess of long
>trailing stems.
>         Anyone have any tips for successful cultivation?

Note that the following is just my opinion/experience and is hardly 

It's a temperate plant, so keep it cool.  Growth in "tropical" warmth is 
invariably leggy.  It does best around 24'C (75'F) or lower for me.  Give 
it plenty of light, too.  I've grown it with as little as 2.25W/gal NO 
fluorescent, but the more light the better.  Poor light can make this an 
ugly plant.  The more light you give it, the bigger, bushier, and faster it 
will grow.

If temp and lighting are not an issue, then look to your 
nutrients/dosing.  See Tom Barr's suggested nutrient levels for the ranges 
I follow -- Tom recently posted these figures under the subject of "The 
estimative index".  Additionally, a rich substrate is beneficial.  I use 
Flourite with a peat or soil base layer.

FWIW:  In my experience, no matter what you do, you will not be able to 
avoid roots growing from the stem nodes above the substrate.  This habit is 
what makes C. lyrata such a "love it" or "hate it" plant for most folks, so 
if you weren't already aware of the root thing, beware!  I like the roots, 
myself, but the plant grows fast enough that the pruning of the older stem 
parts keeps the roots from becoming overgrown anyway.  YMMV.

I leave you with a planting tip:  The plant's fine stem and buoyancy can 
make it difficult to plant under some circumstances.  IMO, the "Big Kahuna" 
of planting tools is without a doubt the long (~28cm or 11") 
tweezers.  With tweezers, I can usually plant the stem deep enough so that 
it stays put.  If it won't for some reason, then I just leave a few leaves 
on the lower part of the stem and gently push leaves and all into the 
substrate.  The leaves serve as an anchor until the plant takes hold.

Hope it helps.
Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee