Echinodorus radicans time lapse
I was looking for a nice foreground/midground plant and so we went to our local Maidenhead Aquatics centre and looked at what was available. I liked this echindorus because it had pretty rounded oval leaves, was a nice colour and was pretty small – the pot shown in the image is only about 1.5″ high and the whole thing was maybe 5″ or 6″. Of course, I didn’t have the first clue about anything and went ahead and planted it.
Turns out the rounded leaves I liked are the emersed form of the plant; it has “sword-shaped” leaves in the submerged form (one varietal is known as the ‘amazon sword’). It also turns out that once this plant gets rocking, it can grow to be enormous – easily 50+ cm which will exceed the capacity of this aquarium. Since the plant has long individual leaves you can’t trim it to fit as you might do with a stem plant – for the echinodorus you would need to cut off the tops of the leaves.
The lesson here is you can’t rely on what the plant looks like on display in the aquatics store – this will be the emersed form recently submerged and won’t have any real indication of how (and how much) the plant will grow in steady-state submerged conditions. Online catalogs provide some more realistic information, although I have found the best source of information tend to be online videos people have posted where you tend to the “the real situation” presented to you.
When I realized this plant wasn’t going to work, I replaced it with Lobelia cardinalis (wavy) which has a much more appropriate growth characteristic for the space.