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Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Rosette
Family: Alismataceae
Genus: Echinodorus
Region: Cultivar
Location: Cultivar
Size: Height: 25-50cm (10-20in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Echinodorus x barthii, sometimes known as the red melon sword, was one of the first commercially available hybrid red sword plants. It was very popular during a time when there were few red-hued plants on the market. Although it has lost much of its popularity in the past decade, E.x barthii is a common staple in well stocked stores.

This reddish sword plant is very easy to grow, making few special demands on the hobbyist other than a nutrient rich substrate. Although strong lighting and CO2 injection promote vigorous growth, a moderately lit (1.5-2 watts per gallon), non-CO2 aquarium will suit the needs of this hybrid. The regular addition of fertilizer sticks at the roots of this plant will enhance the health and coloration. As with most of its genus, E. xbarthii grows best in moderately hard water.

E. x barthii spreads its leaves horizontally under strong light which, coupled by its very large size, makes it require a great deal of space. It also produces a large root system, which can pose a problem if the hobbyist wishes to uproot or remove this plant in the future. To keep the size of this hybrid under control, aggressively trim off older and larger leaves at the base of the plant.

This Echinodorus can make a striking red specimen plant in large aquariums greater than 100 U.S. gallons, where it can be used in the midground. It is far too large for small or medium sized aquascapes.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Hawkeye All Rights Reserved.