Ludwigia inclinata "Red"

°C
°dKH
Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Midground
Difficulty: difficult
Growth: very fast
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Synonyms: 
  • Ludwigia inclinata 'Crystal'

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Botanical name [?]: Ludwígia inclináta (L. f.) M. Gómez

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Ludwigia

Description: 

Ludwigia inclinata, a very variable plant, is native to Central and South America. The term L. inclinata (without addition) refers to all varietys with opposite, relatively wide submersed leaves. The species is found emersed in boggy areas and submersed in fast-flowing rivers in the tropical areas of America. Its high demands and its limited usability in the aquarium are probably the reason why this Ludwigia is not as popular as other species of the genus.

Ludwigia inclinata is enormously light-hungry. If provided with highly intensive light, and in addtion with a good supply of liquid fertiliser, it grows very fast, 30 to 40 cm in just one week. As soon as the plant reaches the water surface it grows out in a trailing habit, forming a large number of lateral shoots on the horizontal part of its stem. When allowed to reach this stadium it won't form virtually any lateral shoots on the vertical parts any more, and then at the latest the upper part ought to be cut off and re-planted.
CO2 is also required for healthy lush growth. A low CO2 level and less intensive light induce the lower leaves to turn green and fall off. A good supply of micronutrients is a must, as well as a light fertilisation with nitrate and phosphate, which causes the shoot tips to turn a reddish hue.

Propagating this fast-growing plant is very easy and is done by simple cutting off and re-planting lateral or top shoots. To further a bushy growth habit, cut off the top shoots and leave the lower part in the substrate. This will cause the plant to throw new lateral shoots very quickly on its nodes. The top shoot can be re-planted, too.

Its very fast growth makes L. inclinata a lesser choice for sophisticated aquarium layouts. All in all it is not impossible though. Its beautiful orange-coloured leaves in the middleground form a nice contrast to other bushy green plants in the background, especially if they are a lighter colour (e.g. Myriophyllum mattogrossense).

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