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Re: Roots on stem plants

Kelly Beard wrote:
> What causes plants like Hygrophilia, Cabomba and others to produce 
> roots on the stem above the substrate? 

To a large extent this is a genetic characteristic of these plants. I
think you might have some success by providing the plant with more
nutrients in the substrate which affects the root to shoot ratio of the
plant. In other words, a plant which is deprived of nutrients invests a
higher proportion of its growth energy into the development of roots in
order to increase its nutrient supplies.

For some plants like Lobelia or Ludwigia, the eventual formation of
water roots is unavoidable so you kind of need to appreciate the plant
growing the way it would be growing under natural conditions. Who's to
say that a large Lobelia with a symmetrical, dense growth of white roots
is not aesthetic? This is the "look" of the plant!

It bears mentioning that its probably wisest to supply sources of macro
nutrients to a substrate by the periodic addition of tablets, clay
fertilizer balls, or Jobe's sticks, rather than by loading the substrate
up with nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur nutrients from the start. As
far as micro nutrients are concerned, I believe that mineral soil (such
as subsoil containing a mix of silt and clay), is often the simplest
method and does not require refertilizing except possibly for boron.
Unless you live in a temperate rain forest like the North West coast,
your tap water should contain adequate boron.

If you find the sight of roots growing on plants unattractive, you might
have success by cutting off the tops and replanting regularly. I suspect
that this is something which is done to the majority of the best looking
aquariums. Beautiful aquariums where replanting is not part of regular
maintenance are probably those where the growth rates are much lower,
achieved by the selection of plants and the use of less intense

Another characteristic of certain kinds of plant when they grow larger,
is for the lower leaves to yellow, deteriorate, and drop off. No matter
how objective I try to be, I don't like that particular "natural look".
I avoid those kind of plants for the most part and regularly prune the
ones that I do use to avoid the problem.

Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!