Hygrophila salicifolia "Narrow Leaf"

Narrow Willow-leaf Hygrophila

Hygrophila salicifolia "Narrow Leaf"

Narrow Willow-leaf Hygrophila

  • Narrow-leaved stem plant
  • Bushy growth habit
  • Up to 4 cm long leaves
  • Very slow growth
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Plants of the genus Hygrophila which are cultivated emersedly can occaisonally show small, firm tissue overgrowths ("pustules") on their upper and lower leave side. These are completely harmless and not caused by pest infestation or disease. On newly sprouted submerged leaves these spots will no longer appear.

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This rather small, extremely slow-growing stem plant apparently belongs to the Hygrophila ringens group, which includes i.a. Hygrophila salicifolia and H. lancea. In the terrestrial form, the plant forms light purple flowers in the leaf axils. Its emersed leaves grow to about 5 cm long and are medium to dark green. The submerged leaves are olive green to somewhat brown-reddish, narrow-lanceolate, about 4 cm long and 3 - 4 mm wide. The firm, rigid stem is green and about 2 - 4 mm thick. The internodes (distances between the stem nodes) are quite short at 1 - 1.5 cm. The shoots are about 6 - 7.5 cm wide and branch moderately. In time they reach at least 20 cm in height.

This little-known Hygrophila is, according to our impression, moderately demanding. We recommend a bright, unshaded place in the aquarium, a good supply of macro- and micronutrients, also via the substrate, CO2 addition and a temperature between about 20 and 28 °C. It is best to plant individual shoots in a group with little distance between them. Because the plant grows very slowly submerged, the stand only needs to be pruned into shape occasionally. This also promotes branching of the shoots. Like other stem plants, this Hygrophila can be propagated by head cuttings and partial cuttings.

Hygrophila salicifolia "Narrow Leaf" grows in the aquarium like a small, compact shrub, quite unlike the much larger "normal" Willow-leaf Hygrophila. It works best as a bush up to about 20 cm high in the foreground to midground, also as a background plant in nano aquariums. With its slow growth it is easy to manage. As an emerse plant, this Hygrophila is also interesting for paludariums and wabi-kusa, you can then also count on its small, light purple flowers.

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