Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba' (formerly known as Ludwigia sp. 'Cuba') is a beautiful large stem plant, growing emersed as well as submersed in swampy areas on the "Isle of Youth", a small island off the south-western coast of Cuba. When cultivated above the waterline, its leaves are typical for an emersed Ludwigia, ovate and green, however, when cultivated submersed, its leaves grow out long, thin and show a marbled pattern with red and orange hues. Besides its unique appearance, this variety belongs to the species of Ludwigia inclinata, all of whose members form the same large yellow flower even though their geographical locations as well as their habit differ greatly. L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba' was first introduced to the hobby by Tropica, not too long ago. Although not very well-known right now, this plant is sure to spread in aquaria of enthusiasts everywhere.
This Ludwigia has some requirements that need to be fulfilled before it shows its full potential, though: sufficient light, additional CO2, a well-balanced nutrient supply and sufficient room to grow. If these conditions are fulfilled, the plant proves to be a fast grower. Good light is highly important, it should be around 0.5 - 1 watt per litre. Without the addition of CO2, the plant will grow wider, greener and fewer leaves, and its overall growth rate will slow down considerably.
A nitrate level of around 5 - 15 mg/l and a phosphate content of around 1 - 2 mg/l are a good basis for luscious colours and healthy growth. Make sure to provide it with a good supply of iron and micronutrients, which is best added with a good liquid fertiliser. Whiteish new shoots are a symptom of iron deficiency.
Given that the conditions are good, L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba' grows over the substrate at an angle, like other Ludwigia species. Its habit is highly ramified, and in combination with its really fast growth, this plant might almost be called invasive in too confined an aquarium. Moreover, it does not tolerate frequent or intensive trimming well. If you cut off the shoot it may happen that the rest of the plant turns black and dies off. Thus it is almost a must to replant the cut-off shoot.
This attractive, fine-leaved stem plant is an eyecatcher and provides for great colourful accents in the middle- or background of a tank. Due to its size it should not be kept in too small a tank. As it is still relatively new in the hobby it is not very widely spread - yet.
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[widget=aquaticplants/ludwigia-inclinata-var-verticillata-cuba]Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata "Cuba"[/widget]