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HYDROCOTYLE SIBTHORPIOIDES

Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Hydrocotyle
Region: Asia
Location: Southeastern Asia
Size: Leaf width: 0.5-2cm (.25-.75in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides is a small species native to southeastern Asia. It is an adaptable plant that can be found growing in a wide variety of conditions ranging from relative dryness to full submergence. In older literature, the species is sometimes referred to as H. maritima. It has been available through the Danish aquatic plant nursery Tropica for some time although it remains rare in the United States. The best way to obtain this species is through a trade with another hobbyist since it only rarely appears in aquarium shops.

H. sibthorpioides is a demanding plant that features a creeping growth habit. It requires intense light in order to thrive and achieve its maximum size. Heavy CO2 supplementation with a pressurized system is recommended, as are generous additions of both macro- and micronutrients. This species is not particularly sensitive to any nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. High phosphate levels will deter the epidemic development of spot algae on this species' leaves. Under good conditions and high light, the leaves of this species may grow to be nearly as large as a nickel. H. sibthorpioides is not, however, suitable for lower light setups that do not include carbon dioxide supplementation.

The propagation of H. sibthorpioides poses no difficulties, as the individual plants often develop an abundance of side shoots. This species will grow somewhat faster emersed outdoors or in a hydroponic setup during the summer (where its inconspicuous white flowers and green fruit frequently appear), so take the opportunity to increase your stock in this way if you need a large amount of additional shoots and have the required space.

H. sibthorpioides is well-suited to the fore- and midground areas of an aquascape. The species looks best when it is intertwined among other foreground plants, where its unique gray-green coloration really stands out. It can be maintained in larger stands, but quite a bit of pruning may be necessary to maintain an attractive appearance. For the initial planting, simply weigh down a clump of plants with a few small stones in the middle of the area where you would like it to spread. It may grow slowly at first, but it will gain speed in time, eventually necessitating regular trimming to prevent it from overtaking neighboring plants.



Photo #1 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2006 by Tim Gross All Rights Reserved.