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How to grow Rotala ramosior Florida

June 30, 2021 2 min read

How to grow Rotala ramosior Florida


Rotala ramosior Florida is an attractive stem plant with small deep purple leaves and a green stem. The plant was collected from Florida, USA as its name suggests. It is demanding in terms of light and CO2 and is not suitable for low tech/non CO2 injected tanks. It is not yet widely cultivated by large scale commercial aquatic plant farms, but can be found readily among hobbyist aquatic plant collectors.

Rotala ramosior Florida is a slower growing stem plant. Its moderate height gain and small size makes it ideal for midground/foreground placement in the tank.

Higher light levels give more intensely purple leaves. In lower light tanks with poor growth parameters the leaves will be greener or off colored. When grown well, its leaves are almost completely deep purple. 

Rotala ramosior Florida is a typical high demand plant - it prefers high CO2, high light and regular fertilization. It also prefers a higher GH (specifically calcium levels). Low CO2 or low calcium levels in an other-wise well run tank is often the cause of rotting of lower portions of the stem, with pre-mature loss of lower leaves, leaving a bare stem. In very soft-water tanks, this is often the issue. This plant is a good candidate for limestone/Seiryu tanks where it does well. Fertilization should be well-rounded, but can be done either through water column or substrate or both. A rich substrate benefits this plant significantly - and is perhaps the easiest way to grow it without juggling water column nutrient levels closely. 

This plant is a very stable grower with little unpredictable behaviour - virtually all issues are due to poor CO2/light/fertilization/calcium. It is quite a straight forward plant in that sense.

Size and color comparison of Rotala ramosior Florida beside Rotala blood red.

Rotala Florida is striking in the midground here - pic from Chantz Cramer

Key success factors

  • High light (80 umols of PAR on substrate and above).
  • High CO2 levels (better success rates >35ppm).
  • Adequate calcium levels (better success rates >50ppm). GH levels of about 4-6 is ideal. Grows well in alkaline/hardwater.
  • Rich substrate helps significantly, despite being a stem plant, the plant responds very well to richer substrates.

Trimming and propagation

Rotala ramosior Florida can be trimmed and propagated just like any other stem plant - by cutting off the top shoot and replanting it in substrate to root. The remaining base of the plant will sprout side shoots. This plant also branches by itself as it grows taller.