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How to grow Ludwigia 'Pantanal'

January 19, 2023 3 min read

How to grow Ludwigia 'Pantanal'

Impressive bushes of this species tend to require a slightly taller tank (50cm+) for the plant to reach its full size. Grown with APT Complete in the water column and APT Jazz in substrate.

Introduction

Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Pantanal' is a orangey red form of Ludwigia inclinata. Ludwigia 'Pantanal' is a fast growing stem plant and has fine reddish leaves spreading out from a central stem. This species comes from South America and has been in the aquarium hobby a long time, however, due to its high requirements it is not as popular amongst hobbyists compared to other easier to grow colored plants. Another variant Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Meta' looks identical but is much more forgiving to grow; hobbyists should look for this variant if available.

Ludwigia 'Pantanal' can be used as a mid or background plant. The difficulty of using this plant in layouts is that it grows very fast; a couple of inches or more per day in tanks where growth conditions are favorable. This means that the size of the bush or height of the ridgeline formed by the plants will keep changing due to growth/trimming.

Ludwigia 'Pantanal' requires soft water (< 3dKH) to grow well. It is a heavy feeder, and usually either booms or busts - it either grows well and rapidly, or stunts and deteriorates when conditions are not favorable. It is a species that truly likes excess - preferring high light, high CO2 levels, and high nutrient availability. It is very sensitive to growth conditions and react very quickly to changing parameters. Color and form changes can usually be seen within the day when parameters are changed. Tip stunting is commonly seen when grow conditions are lacking. Higher light levels couple with proper fertilization impacts coloration; lower light levels tend to give more greenish leaves further from the top.

Under good growth conditions the crown of the plant should be full with even coloration. When conditions are less ideal, tip stunting is the first sign of trouble.

Key success factors

Requires soft water; 3dKH and below

Requires high CO2 levels and preferably high light levels for better coloration

Regular all round fertilization. This can be done through regular/heavier water column dosing or substrate enrichment. Both angles should be covered for optimal results.

Grows quite a few inches per week, so this species is more suitable for taller tanks.

Pruning and propagation

Ludwigia pantanal can be trimmed by cutting off the top. If the plant has been growing robustly, the rooted portion will sprout new tops. However, such secondary shoots tend to be smaller in size. The arrangement of new shoots can be chaotic, so it is generally hard to form tidy bushes through trimming unlike easier stem plants. The bottoms also deteriorate badly just after a couple of trimmings. 

For the above reasons, it is more advisable to replant the top portion of the plant and uproot and discard the bottom portion when the plant grows too tall. This gives a neater arrangement to the bush overall. The maintenance can be tedious because the plant grows quite rapidly, which is the main downside to growing this species.

For plants that are mainly substrate-fed, there can be a short stunting period as the replanted plant re-establishes its root zone. For tanks where plants are more heavily fed through the water column this effect is lessened.