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[APD] Re: Red plants not red enough

On Fri, 26 Sep 2003 12:00:32 -0400, aquatic-plants-request wrote

> Hi ...
> I have a Barclaya longifolia that has pretty dull-looking
> red leaves. Ditto for my Ludwigia repens.

As far as the Barclaya is concerned, there may be some genetic variation in
redness.  There are a number of other variations, as well.  The red color on
young leaves is intense and it gets dull as leaves mature.  The color on an
old leaf is pretty bland.  The red color is stronger under bright light then
it is under dim light, and finally, plants seem to produce leaves with less
red color when the plant matures and approaches a dormant period.

If the plant overall is getting dull-looking then it could be that the plant
has a lot of old leaves on it so the brighter colors of new leaves aren't as
apparent.  It could be that growth is slowing down and there just aren't very
many new leaves.  Another possiblity is that the tank lights have dimmed or
that the plant is being shaded.  Shading could also be self-shading, as old
leaves block the light from new leaves.  It could also be that the plant is
getting ready for a dormant period.

I trim old leaves off my Barclaya to prevent some of the problems mentioned
above.  Trimming out old leaves means you see more of the colorful new leaves.
 It also means that the new leaves aren't "reaching" for light, so their
petioles don't extend.  If you don't trim the old leaves the petioles on an
overgrown plant can extend to at least 14" long.

If the plant is going dormant then you might be able to kick it back into
action by uprooting the tuber, trimming the roots and replanting.  A little
substrate fertilizer after that treatment won't hurt, either.

The color of ludwidgia gets brighter when nitrate concentrations are low and
the plant produces less chlorophyll.  It is also brighter under brighter
light.  You might be able to get more color out of the ludwidgia by moving it
to a less shaded spot.

Roger Miller
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