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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #135

> From: Stephen Pushak <teban at powersonic_bc.ca>
> Subject: Emerse grown aquarium plants: Internet legend?
> It's often repeated on Usenet that certain kinds of aquatic plants are
> actually grown emersed and then sold in aquarium stores. This has the
> ring of another Internet-legend to me. Does anyone know this for a
> fact?

  I've been to many plant farms and I can assure you that it's not a legend. The
problem in answering your question is in it depends on the plant, the grower, or
the collector. I've been meaning to write about this for my own web page, so
this is a good chance for me to put together a little preview.
  There are many plants that are available both submersed and emerged. Some
major growers such as Oriental (in Singapore) offer the same plant both ways
with the premium being for the submersed types. There are other growers that
grow everything emerged hydroponically. Still others are grown in greenhouses,
some in pools and there is still a lot collected. In the USA, almost all Egeria,
Fontinalis, Banana and Cabomba, is collected in the wild. Also some Sag.,
Ludwigia, Val., Riccia, and Mayaca. There is also a lot of imported plants that
are from the wild, including some swords, Aponogetons and Anubias.
  Back to the topic. There seems to be pros and cons to both methods of
growing.   The advantage to emerged grown plants are they ship better and are
almost always algae and snail free. The down side is that most will loose their
leaves in a few weeks and be replaced with new (usually smaller) leaves. In my
mind this is fine and a somewhat natural happening in the wild. Fortunately
plants go from emerged to submersed quite easily. Going the other way is often
very difficult.
  Plants that are grown submersed are generally going to acclimate a little
quicker and some plants, like many of the swords, will be smaller submersed. A
large  submersed Amazon sword for example, is often the the size of a medium
emerged grown one.
  Although I can't make up my mind if one way is better or not, I do think that
certain plants should be bought emerged, if possible, for no other reason than
to marvel at the dramatic change some can make. Rotala indica,  Hygro difformis
and H. corymbosa are some that make some very interesting changes.
  Many of the stem plants are grown in shallow water. Most of the part that is
cut off for sale being the emerged part. Ludwigia, Bacopa, Hygro, some Rotala,
Cardamine, Water Oak, Alternanthera come to mind.
  Plants that are most often grown emerged are Liliopsis, Hairgrass, Anubias,
Eustralis, Samolus.  Sometimes Sag., many of the swords and Crypts.
   Many of the plants that are grown outside in Florida also have some very
obvious seasonal changes. The magnificent Rotala macranda is quite ugly when the
water temps cool down (like now) while other plants such as Lysimachia may have
leaves that are 3 times as big as the warm water version.
   There was a time that if you saw a net pot on a plant you could be pretty
sure it was raised emerged. This is no longer the case, as many pet shops (the
biggest collective buyer of plants) will often prefer and pay a premium for
potted plants because they display better and are easier to move around.
Repotting is somewhat lucrative for many suppliers and I think it would be safe
to say that nearly 1/2 the potted plants you see were not grown that way. I have
recently seen even Hornwort potted. Although that seems kind of dumb, I must
admit it probably sells better that way than floating.
  Perhaps the question of emerged vs submersed is more academic than important,
because for those suppliers that try to offer a large selection, including the
biggest growers in the country, they must buy a large portion of their plants
from other growers, exporters or collectors. Generally, you don't have a choice,
so you take it either way it comes.
Dan Quackenbush
All Aquatic Plants