Pogostemon stellatus 'Broad Leaf' is one of the manifold geographical varieties of the very wide-spread species P. stellatus. It has only recently become known in the hobby, however, its stunning colour and overall beauty increase its popularity continuously, and nowadays it is quite often used for setting up layouts in aquascapes.
According to the "Plant Finder" on aquaticplantcentral.com, P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' originates from Papua New Guinea, the large island to the north of Australia. In Northern Australia, a very similar broad-leaved Pogostemon variety is found, which has been imported to Europe under the name "Adelaide River". It is still in the dark whether this plant is also in cultivation under the name 'Broad Leaf', and if it differs from the plant that is cultivated as 'Broad Leaf' in the US (see pic. 1) and is said to also originate from Papua-New Guinea.
P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' is far less finicky than the better-known narrow-leaved form. However, it still needs sufficient light (0,6 W/L+) and CO2 injection in order to develop its full range of colours. The single stems of P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' need to be planted at a sufficient distance in order for the plant to reach its full size (up to 20 cm in width). For good health and beautiful colours it needs to be fertilised with liquid fertilisers containing nitrate, phosphate, potassium and micronutrients. Despite its high nutrient requirements, this form of P. stellatus reacts far less finicky to varying nutrient levels or a lack thereof as its better-known narrow-leaved form. Moreover, "Broad Leaf" doesn't tend to form a crippled top shoot and throw more lateral shoots either.
This plant literally rockets upwards vertically without forming many lateral shoots. Another distinguishing feature of P. stellatus "Broad Leaf" is that it easily breaks the water surface to grow above the waterline, whereas the narrow-leaved variety bends over and grows along the waterline, but without breaking the water surface. The broad-leaved form grows significantly slower, too. Propagation is done by top and lateral shoot cuttings that are re-plated into the substrate.
P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' is a wonderful plant to add contrast and colour to the middle- and background of medium-sized to large tanks. Its striking colours and its robust growth make it stand out even in larger aquarium layouts.
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[widget=aquaticplants/pogostemon-stellatus-broad-leaf]Pogostemon stellatus 'Broad Leaf'[/widget]