Growing & Caring for Water Wisteria (Hygrophila Difformis)

Water Wisteria

Water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis) is a popular fast growing aquatic plant found in large aquariums. It is size and breadth give fish to hide behind. And, it is also known for removing certain chemicals from the water.

The plant is native to Southeast Asia including India and Nepal. It is found in shallow waters that allows it to receive ample amounts of sunlight.

The plant itself can grow up to 20 inches high and 10 inches wide. Thus, it is better suited for tanks that are at least 10 gallons in size.

Water Wisteria Plant Care

Water Wisteria Light

Water Wisteria does best in medium to well-lit conditions. I can tolerate low light to a certain degree. But in that scenario, it will consume more oxygen to survive.

Where it comes from, the plant is used to tropical conditions. It also lives in shallow freshwater. As such, it is used to receiving a lot of natural light from the sun.

That said, it is very difficult to replicate this condition in your aquarium because fish cannot tolerate that much sunlight. The head cause by this exposure to sunlight will likewise increase the temperature of water negatively affecting other plant life.

Thus, using aquarium lighting is a great way to give this plant the illumination is needs to thrive. Giving it at least 8 to 10 hours of light is needed.

 

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Water Wisteria Tank Size and Water Conditions

Water Wisteria grows to between 4 to 20 inches and covers a space of between 6 to 10 inches side to side. As such, it isn’t well suited for small aquariums. Ideally you want to have at least a 10 gallon aquarium to house this plant.

When it comes to water conditions, you want to keep within the following ranges.

  • Temperature: 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH: at least 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardiness (KH): 2 to 8

It can be planted, left to float or anchored. However, when planted it is better off if there isn’t a lot of water movement. It is less particular about this when allowed to float.

 

Substrate

That said, water wisteria grows bets when it is planted. Ideally, in sand or gravel. With either, you want to choose fine over coarse gravel because the former allows its roots to get through much easier.

The plant is likewise able to propagate better when grown in these substrates.

 

Fertilizer and Supplements

Water wisteria does not absorb nutrients through its roots. Instead, it relies on the water. As such, applying liquid water fertilizer is key in helping it grow optimally. Similarly, CO2 supplementation is likewise a good option if you want the plant to grow faster.

If allowed to grow big, water wisteria will consume a lot of the nutrients in the water. This may affect how much the other plants are able to get sustenance. Thus, you may want to limit its size through pruning to prevent this from happening.

 

Pruning

As mentioned, pruning is a good way to control the size and shape of this fast growing water plant. It also prevents it from hogging all the nutrients in the tank.

That said, you can increase feeding as well as change water more regularly. Unfortunately, both take more effort and cost more. As a result many aquarium owners will trim back their water wisteria instead. In doing so, they’re able to reduce its feeding requirements.

Finally, if you see any brown, discolored or dead parts, trim them and take them out of the tank as soon as you notice them. This is likewise the case if you find these particles floating around. You don’t want any of these diseased, dying or dead parts harming your healthy plants.

 

Propagation

Water Wisteria is fairly easy to propagate. In fact, you need to do very little. This also means you’ll want to practice restraint because it can be tempting to regrow many of them. When you do that, you’ll soon notice they’ll take over your tank due to their fast growth rate and size.

That said, there are a few ways you can propagate water wisteria.

The easiest it to let the plant do the work for you. Planted in gravel, water wisteria is more likely to grow plantlets. These small versions of the mother plant will grow to become their own plants. As such, all you need to do is separate them and plant them.

That said, be aware that you’ll end up discarding the mother plant because after the plantlets are removed it will begin to deteriorate.

Another way to propagate water wisteria is via cuttings.

You can do so by taking leaf cuttings. Then planting them or letting them float. Within a few days, you’ll start seeing it root. And, within weeks it will begin to sprout as well.

 

Problems

The plant does not come with a lot of problems. This makes them easy to deal with and fairly low maintenance. As long as you give it enough space or prune it to control its size, it ceases to be invasive.

Similarly, providing it with enough light and proper water conditions is essential for health. And, always remember that it feeds through the water not its roots. Thus, you’ll want to give this hungry plant enough liquid nutrients to go on.

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