Bacopa caroliniana

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Background, Midground, Street (Dutch style)
Difficulty: easy
Growth: medium
Range and localities: 

North America (South and Central USA), Mexico1

Height: 20 - 60 cm
Width: 3 - 6 cm

Availability [?]: 
  • frequently available commercially
  • frequently available from other aquarists

  • Bacopa amplexicaulis (Pursh) Wettst.
  • Herpestis amplexicaulis (Michx.) Pursh
  • Hydrotrida caroliniana (Walter) Small
  • Obolaria caroliniana Walter

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Botanical name [?]: Bacópa caroliniána (Walter) B.L.Rob.

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Bacopa


Bacopa caroliniana has been around in the hobby for many years. Its origins lie in the southeast of the USA, where it is found in marshes, submersed as well as emersed. Several forms of this species are in cultivation, among others a smaller-leaved form and a variegated form. The latter is not too different from the standard form, though. One of the most striking characteristics of this plant is the lemon scent the leaves emit when crushed. The basis of the ovate leaves encloses the stem entirely.

This stem plant doesn't grow very fast, but needs lots and lots of light, at least 0.5 watts per litre. It grows slightly better when fertilised with micro and macronutrients, this is relatively unimportant, though, as well as a fertilisation with CO2. Under intensive light and with low levels of nitrate, this Bacopa assumes a bronze to brownish hue, when the phosphate level is low, it turns slightly pink. It can also be kept emersed in temperate climates throughout the warm season, e.g. on the edge of a pond, where it grows pretty fast, with a creeping, ground-covering habit, a hairy stalk and characteristic purple flowers.

Propagating B. caroliniana is very easy, just make cuttings of the top or lateral shoots and replant. It also forms runners from the stem bases that can be simply cut off and replanted.

The stems of B. caroliniana achieve the best effect in an aquascape when planted in a terracing or stepped group in the middle- or (in larger aquaria) the foreground of the tank. This special geometry provides groups of other plants with a resting point to be based on.

References (range and localities):
  1. Kasselmann, Christel (2010): Aquarienpflanzen. 3rd edition. - DATZ Aquarienbuch, Ulmer Verlag
Light medium to high 
Temperature tolerance 4 to 29 °C
Optimum temperature 20 to 25 °C
Carbonate hardness 2 to 18 °dKH
pH value 5 to 7.5 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 10 to 40 mg/l
Nitrate (NO3-) 10 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (PO43-) 0.1 to 3 mg/l
Potassium (K+) 5 to 30 mg/l
Iron (Fe) 0.01 to 0.5 mg/l

Growth: medium

Propagation: Cuttings

Can grow emersed?: yes

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: yes

Winter hardiness: unknown

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Wasserpflanzen sind ein fester Bestandteil der meisten Aquarien. Beim Aquascaping, dem Naturaquarium, Biotop-Aquarium oder dem Gesellschaftsaquarium sind Wasserpflanzen nicht nur für die Wasserqualität entscheidend, sondern sorgen auch stets für eine optische Aufwertung des Aquariums.