Plant Profiles

Vallisneria • Vesicularia • Acorus

Nonaquatic plants

Several "decorative " terrestrial plants are often on sale among true aquarium plants, even though they will not survive long-term submerged in the aquarium. However, most of these nonaquatic plants naturally grow in areas that are occasionally flooded or permanently marshy and have adapted to survive for extended periods underwater. Nonaquatic plants will survive in a healthy state fully submerged for several months or more, but eventually deteriorate and inevitably die unless they are periodically grown emersed (above the water surface).

Decorative nonaquatic plants do have a place and function in some aquariums. Many have unusual leaf forms or colors that cannot be found in true aquatic plants and thus provide an alternative option for the aquarist. These plants are also ideal for marginal, marsh, or bog conditions and are often put to better use in a paludarium or open-topped aquarium, either growing out of the water or only partially submerged. If carefully positioned, the plants can be kept above water in their original pots, while the roots are allowed to "trail" into the water to take up nutrients. Most of these plants are very adaptable and hardy and will do well in less than perfect conditions, even without good lighting.

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