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On Mon, 23 Nov 1998, Kelly Beard wrote:
> I've seen pictures of the "pond penny" plant, Hydrocotyle ? in Amano's
> books, and he has it growing like a vine on the substrate surface. Is this
> the natural way for it to grow? Mine kinda grow stem-like, but I've always
> wondered about it because it has short roots at the leaf nodes, maybe
> hinting that it normally grows like a vine.
Well, it would be natural for it to vine when emersed, or when grown in
a stream where the current keeps the stem pushed to the substrate.
Otherwise, the stem is just that - a lighter-than-water stem, not a runner.
I'm trying now to grow it as a forground plant, and it's working pretty
well. The stem does tend to rise off the substrate, but it doesn't turn
and grow straight up, it grows along the surface, rising at a low angle.
If you want to convert your vertically-growing plants to grow
horizontally at the substrate, first trim the stems and let them float
for a few days. The leaves all turn parallel to the water surface and
that makes it a lot easier to plant the stems horizontally.
When the stems are ready to plant you may need to weigh them down to the
substrate until they're well rooted. I use pebbles; the hydrocotyle
leaves are large enough and close enough together that the pebbles are
hidden from view. The older parts of the stem eventually root firmly and
you can move the pebbles to weigh down the new growth. Stems can also be
woven so they hold each other down.
My hydrocotyle (leucocephala, I think) branches very reluctantly, and it's
become necessary to trim off growing ends and replant them to thicken the
The plants produce a very nice effect, but I could stand it if the leaves
grew on longer petioles, so stood above the substrate a little more.
Maybe that would happen with less light (they're currently growing in the
open under 4 40-watt fluorescents in a 55 gallon tank); maybe that will
happen as a second generation of leaves grows through the first one.