Aponogeton Plant Care: Growing Aponogeton Aquarium Plants

Aponogeton Aquarium Plant
(Image credit: ePhotocorp)

You aren’t likely to be growing Aponogeton unless you keep an aquarium in your house or a pond in your garden. What are Aponogeton plants? Aponogetons are a truly aquatic genus with a variety of different species that are planted in fish tanks or outdoor ponds.

If you are putting in a fish tank or garden pond, it’s time you learn about the Aponogeton genus. While some tropical plants are difficult to care for, growing Aponogeton which you buy from the aquarium is quite easy, even for a beginner. 

What are Aponogeton Plants?

Aponogeton is the name of this genus of aquatic plants. Included in the genus are a wide variety of plants native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Many of these varieties are simply too large or require too much of a resting period to be used as Aponogeton in aquariums.

Aponogeton aquarium plants are unique in that they grow from tubercles, starchy bulbs similar to garden bulbs. These bulbs store sufficient energy reserves to help the plant through the growing season. Healthy tubercles can live in the sand for several months, even growing foliage; but to keep growing, they require a rich substrate that provides adequate nourishment.

Growing Aponogeton in Aquariums

The most popular (and least expensive) Aponogeton aquarium plants are Aponogeton crispus, native to Sri Lanka in southeastern Asia. Crispus grows in the wild in running waters and seasonal ponds, where it goes dormant in the dry season.

Crispus is a submerged aquatic plant with a small, round rhizome. These plants are usually sold as "wonder bulbs" in hobby or aquarium stores and may be hybrids such as crispus x natans. A true crispus will develop reddish leaves that do not float, while hybrids have green leaves that may be floating.

Crispus hybrids are desirable plants for someone just getting started with aquatic horticulture since plant care is quite easy. These varieties are very undemanding and will even produce flowers as long as they are given a fairly clean environment and some lighting. Hybrids often do not need to pass through a lengthy dormant period.

Aponogeton undulates and Aponogeton natans are other potential aquarium plants that require minimal Aponogeton plant care. If you opt for fancier aquarium plants, you may find that they have more difficult care requirements. Aponogeton ulvaceous, for example, is an exceptionally beautiful species. As a large, lime-green plant with wide, wavy-edged leaves, it needs a strong water flow and requires a significant rest period.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.