Water Wisteria is another common, fast growing live aquarium plant. It is also know as Hygrophila difformis, and belongs to the rooting family Acanthacea. It is native to the marshy lands of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Nowadays it is easily obtainable from most brick and mortar pet stores for around $5, as well as various sources online.
Care Level : very easy
Light : moderate to high
Temperature : 74 – 82
pH : 6.5 – 7.5
Supplement : iron
Water Wisteria is a good beginner plant, and known for its hardiness. Though this plant could survive in a low light aquarium, it will not reach it’s best potential. The growth rate will be substantially slower, the leaves will grow less pinnate and resolve itself to remain a smaller plant. To prevent this plant from becoming thin and stringy (where the leaves become far between), it’s recommended you keep this plant in a well lit aquarium, and provide regular trimmings. Though this plant can grow in a cold water aquarium, it/s leaves will grow a little different than in a tropical aquarium. In colder temperatures leaves appear to grow smaller and more lobed (having distanced rounded features). Whereas, in warmer or tropical waters, the leaves will grow more pinnate (the lobes grow from one central axis). This plant does require some type of iron supplements if it is not already present in your water supply. If not provided with enough nutrients, or iron, the plant may become very pale, and appear sickly, before dying. it should be planted in a nutrient rich substrate, or supplemented with either root tabs, or liquid fertilizers.
Considering Water Wisteria can grow 20in tall and 9in wide it is not recommend for nano tanks, or anything under 10 gallons, as it could quickly outgrow it.
In order for Water Wisteria to propagate, you must be willing to give it a little help. Though the plant may produce side shoots off the main stem, it will not be very often and you will get more growth in heightthan anything else. To help propagation along, simply trim the tall parent plant at the nodes (cross section where leaves and new stems grow). The trimmed piece must be at least 3 inches in stem length. The trimming can then be left to float for a few days, or planted in the substrate to grow roots. When the parent plant is trimmed it may begin to sprout side shoots at the trimming site. In a few weeks, the new plant could then be trimmed like the parent plant.
Water Wisteria could be used as just an aquascaping tool, or a functional plant as well. If you continually plant trimmings, relatively close to the parent plant, you can establish a bushy looking plant group. It is best planted in middle, to the back of aquariums, though if you like to keep it trimmed short you could grow it in the foreground as a type of longer carpet. Due to it’s dense nature, it could be utilized in many different breeding set ups, whether that’s for live bearers, egg layers or scatters. It is even good in community tanks, helping to provide some relief from harassment for smaller fish or shrimp. Like all plants, they absorb extra nutrients from your aquarium and help battle algae, even providing a nutrient rich snack for some types of fish.
Due to Water Wisteria’s fine roots, we highly recommend you plant this in sand. It has a difficult time taking root in harder substrates such as gravel, where it is easily uprooted by fish or regular water changes. This plant is commonly confused with Water Sprite. You can tell the difference by the way the leaves grow up from the roots and how they propagate.