How to Propagate Different Types of Aquarium Plants

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Science

Aquatic plants propagate naturally in the wild generally without issues. However, some of these plants require manual assistance to propagate well in aquarium conditions such as Bucephalandra and Anubias which can propagate faster when its rhizome is being split when it has grown long. Various types of rare  Bucephalandra and Anubias propagated by Aquarzon can be viewed at Aquarzon.com.

While some aquarium plants freely propagate themselves especially certain stem and carpeting plants, others do propagate well only when they are manually assisted in an aquarium tank. For the plants that need some assistance to propagate well, there are a few main types of propagation methods that may be used:

Methods of Plant Reproduction or Propagation

  1. Asexual Propagation
  2. Artificial Propagation
  3. Seed Propagation

Asexual Propagation

Reproduction in plants happens either sexually or asexually. Sexual propagation indulges flowers and seed formation. Asexual propagation on the other hand happens without seed but via offsets, runners, and plantlets. Most aquarium plants reproduce themselves asexually, the process is also known as vegetative propagation.

Asexual propagation ( https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/misc/asexualpropagation.html) is further divided into three types:

Runners or slips: runners are produced from the base of the parent plant and at the end they have slips. These slips eventually harbor themselves in the substrate and can survive on their own. In some cases runners, which are between the parent plant and the slips break away from the slips, and in other cases they just continue to grow and produce more slips. Mostly these slips are separated from the parent plant to propagate it.

Offsets: producing offsets is similar to producing runners. Offsets like runners also grow off of the main plant, but they grow close to the parent plant. Further, these offsets are removed from the parent plant and planted elsewhere in the aquarium for reproduction.

Adventitious plantlets: Lastly, when small plantlets form on the parent plant, they are called adventitious plantlets. Adventitious plantlets grow on any part of the plant, i.e. roots, leaves, nodes, or stems. These plantlets are removed once they are about 3-4 cm and planted elsewhere in the aquarium.

Artificial Propagation

Plant reproduction when done with cuttings or rhizome dividing is called artificial propagation (see more about this). It is an easy technique of reproducing plants. Simply cut a part (mostly stems) of plant and replant it elsewhere, or by dividing the rhizome in two and replanting the pieces. This propagation method works well for Anubias and Bucephalandra especially when their rhizomes have grown long. 

There are two ways to artificially propagate an aquarium plant:

Cuttings: One way of artificial propagation is cuttings, simply cut a part from the top stems or nodes, remove any leave from the nodes and replant it into the substrate. 

Dividing Rhizome: Another way of artificial propagation is by dividing rhizome. If aquatic plant has rhizomes in it such as Bucephalandra and Anubias, simply divide the rhizome in two and replant them in the substrate.

Seperation: For mosses, when they have grown thick, it can be seperated into smaller clumps to propagate well. If they are left growing into a very thick clump, the middle part which is not exposed to light may die off. As for ferns such as Needle Leaf Java Fern, when new babies grow at the tip of its leaves, they can be left to grow or seperated if there is a need to propagate it to a different part of an aquarium tank.

Seed Propagation

This method is also called sexual propagation. For reproducing a plant such as Magadascar Lace Plant sexually, you need at least two of the same plants, and they further produces flowers above the water surface.

The procedure can be done in two ways:

Parent plants: The procedure is done in low water level where plants are able to grow strong aerial stems above water. Once the plant has flowers, pollen is transferred from the stamen to the stigmas and this be done with the help of your finger, a watercolor brush, or maybe cotton swab based on the size of the flower.

Seedlings: For seedlings, first seeds are planted in damp soil, gradually water is given to the plant to keep it immersed in water for its optimum growth.

Rare species of Bucephalandra, Anubias, mosses, ferns and other aquarium plants are available through Aquarzon’s homepage at Aquarzon.com.

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