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Aquarium Plants

Popular Ludwigia Species You Should Consider For Your Next Planted Aquarium

Popular Ludwigia Species You Should Consider For Your Next Planted Aquarium

The genus Ludwigia includes more than eighty species, some of which are very popular in the aquarium hobby. In aquascaping, for example, Ludwigia species enjoy a high reputation because they have a great radiance due to their appearance and thus can attract attention. Therefore, Ludwigia, especially those with solid red tones, are used to create unique accents and contrasts that gently yet firmly draw the viewer's eye through the aquarium. Following, we will introduce you to five popular Ludwigia species, none of which is better than the other because they are all equally beautiful.

Ludwigia Palustris Super Red

General Characteristics Of Ludwigia Species

The plants of the genus Ludwigia belong to the Onagraceae family, and they are mainly native to Central and South America, a few also to North America. Ludwigia species are mostly marsh plants in their natural range or grow as emersed landforms near the shores of waters. Generally, emersed and submerged forms differ considerably from each other. The differences relate to growth form and the appearance and arrangement of the leaves. Only the emersed forms bloom with a few exceptions, and the plant's tiny flowers usually show yellow colorations.

Ludwigia species suitable for the aquarium are stem plants and can therefore be propagated by head cuttings. Species that form numerous side shoots can also be propagated by cutting off these shoots. In addition, new shoots also spring from the pruned and original stem sections. For Ludwigia species to show their full splendor in the aquarium, specific lighting and nutrient addition requirements should be met, such as CO2 supply and macro and microelement fertilization. Many species develop intense reds instead of green leave tones when the conditions are met.

Ludwigia palustris 'Super Red'

Ludwigia Palustris 'Super Red'

Other names: Ludwigia sp. 'Super Red', Ludwigia 'Mini Super Red'
Growth rate: Medium-fast
Height: 10-30+ cm
Color: Red, Brown, Green
Light demands: Medium-high
CO2 demands: Medium-high
Temperature: 18-28°C
pH-value: 5 - 7

Ludwigia sp Super Red

In all probability, Ludwigia palustris 'super red' is the most common Ludwigia plant in the aquarium hobby. If you look at the keeping conditions, you can already guess why. This relatively small Ludwigia is undemanding and can develop red-brownish leaves even with average light and CO2 conditions. Nevertheless, Ludwigia palustris 'super red' will only generate a solid red color under intense light, good CO2 supply, and balanced liquid fertilizer addition. With up to 30 cm growth heights, the plant can also be a real eye-catcher in a nano aquarium.

Pros: Bright and vibrant coloration, versatile and easy to care for.
Cons: Can be slow-growing and may not reach its full potential in low-light conditions.

Ludwigia Arcuata

Ludwigia Arcuata

Other names: Ludwigia Needle Leaf, Narrow Leaf Ludwigia
Growth rate: Fast
Height: 30-40 cm
Color: Red, orange-yellowish, green
Light demands: Medium-high
CO2 demands: High
Temperature: 12-28°C
pH-value: 5-8

Ludwigia arcuata

Ludwigia arcuata is native to North American moist wetlands. In its submerged form, the plant is characterized by petite, very narrow leaves that can have a striking intense red color under ideal conditions. Under average growing conditions, Ludwigia arcuata presents itself more in a green to yellow-orange dress. Besides good nutrient supply, higher water temperatures between 23-28°C benefit a faster growth rate. Ludwigia arcuata is a relatively delicate plant that requires stable water conditions and careful trimming to maintain its shape.

Pros: Unique and attractive leaf shape, can add interest to aquariums.
Cons: Delicate and requires more care than some other Ludwigia species.

Ludwigia repens Rubin

Ludwigia repens 'Rubin'

Other names: Ludwigia Ruby, Ludwigia sp. 'Wine Red'
Growth rate: Medium-fast
Height: 10-50 cm
Color: Red, orange, green, brown
Light demands: Medium-high
CO2 demands: High
Temperature: 18-30°C
pH-value: 5-8

This species is native to North and Central America. Ludwigia 'rubin' is possibly a hybrid relative of Ludwigia glandulosa and probably the aquarium plant with the darkest red. The plant grows mainly in height and gets its attractive red color under intense lighting and a good CO2 supply. Its elliptic-shaped leaves are very close to the stem. Under suitable conditions, the plant also shows very compact growth. A small group combined with some light green plants in the "neighborhood" makes this Ludwigia especially beautiful. Ludwigia repens is a relatively hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.

Pros: Beautiful coloration, hardy and easy to care for.
Cons: Can grow tall and require frequent trimming to maintain shape.

Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata

Ludwigia Inclinata Var. Verticillata

Other names: Ludwigia Cuba
Growth rate: Fast
Height: 10-50 cm
Color: Red, orange, green
Light demands: High
CO2 demands: High
Temperature: 20-28°C
pH-value: 4-7

Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata

Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata is demanding and requires a CO2 supply and a balanced liquid fertilizer addition with micro and macronutrients to thrive for an appealing look. Sufficient lighting with 50 lumens/liter is particularly advantageous because only under it the plant shows a clear and intense red coloration. If the aquarium's nutrient condition is optimal, this Ludwigia grows relatively fast and branches very strongly. Therefore regular pruning every 2-3 weeks is advisable to keep this Ludwigia in shape. Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillate is a welcome eye-catcher in larger aquariums as well as in Dutch-style aquariums.

Pros of this plant include its unique and attractive leaf shape, as well as its stunning coloration.
Cons include its delicate nature and the need for careful trimming and care to maintain its shape and color.

Ludwigia repens Atlantis

Ludwigia' Atlantis'

Other names: Ludwigia sp.' dark orange'
Growth rate: Medium
Height: 15-35 cm
Color: Yellow, orange
Light demands: Medium-high
CO2 demands: Low-high
Temperature: 4-30°C
pH-value: 5-8

Ludwigia 'atlantis' is probably another mutation of Ludwigia palustris x repens. Its submerged leaf color ranges from yellow to orange to dark orange. The striking light yellow coloration of the leaf veins is particularly unique, which loses some intensity underwater but remains beautifully visible. Ludwigia 'atlantis' is an easy plant to grow. It also grows well in moderate lighting and without CO2 supply, but not quite as splendid. Due to the low demands of this Ludwigia, it is ideal for low-budget aquariums that are lower-lit and run without additional CO2 supply.

Pros of this plant include its stunning and unique coloration, as well as its hardy nature.
Cons may include its relatively new status as a cultivar, which means that less is known about its growth patterns and care requirements compared to other more established Ludwigia species.

General Information About The Growth And Care

  • Under good growing conditions, pruning most Ludwigia is necessary every 2-3 weeks.
  • A nutrient-rich substrate such as Aqua Soil is recommended for Ludwigia, as it benefits excellent and healthy plant growth. Suppose you want to admire Ludwigia in the best possible condition. In that case, you should also focus on a CO2 supply (min. 20 mg/l), a balanced liquid fertilizer addition with micro and macronutrients, and sufficient lighting - from 50 lumens per liter.
  • Usually, Ludwigia species are planted in the middle or background of the aquarium substrate. Still, they can also grow without substrate contact. So it is possible to use a Ludwigia as an epiphyte plant on hardscape. But then you should pay attention to very well-balanced liquid fertilization because the plant has no nutrients from a substrate at its disposal.
  • When an emersed Ludwigia is introduced into an aquarium, it can sometimes happen that the plant sheds its emersed leaves. However, this is not a big deal because new healthy shoots will quickly form from the stem under good growing conditions.

Wabi Kusa Suitable

Most Ludwigia species are well suited for planting in a Wabi Kusa. They can develop an inflorescence if conditions are good and proper care is given. But it's not just for the flowers that it's worth incorporating Ludwigia into a Wabi Kusa layout. Ludwigia palustris super red shows up with deep red stems, and with solid lighting, even the leaves get brownish-red tones. This is excellent because many other aquarium plants that show a red leaf dress submerged can confess in the emersed growth exclusively green hues.

Ludwigia wabi kusa

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