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Hardiness: Very Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Hygrophila
Region: Asia
Location: Sri Lanka
Size: Stem width: 10-15cm (4-6in)
Growth Rate: Very fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Although it has been available in Europe since around 1977, the narrow leaved Hygrophila polysperma 'Ceylon' is only now becoming available to North American hobbyists through trading. It is available in Europe and elsewhere through Dennerle and Tropica of Denmark, where it was initially sold as H. polysperma 'red'. This variety of the common H. polysperma is native to the island of Sri Lanka.

Like the more common and broader leaved type of H. polysperma, the 'Ceylon' variety grows extremely quickly with no special demands. It will grow just as well with lower light and no carbon dioxide supplementation, where it will remain more manageable. In any conditions, higher levels of iron will bring out an attractive copper coloration.

Propagation poses no difficulties at all. An abundance of side shoots and rapid growth leave one with more than he or she knows what to do with in short order. As with many fast growing species, a rapid increase in plant mass can lead to nutrient imbalances in the tank, so that definitely has to be kept in mind. Emersed cultivation is just as problem-free provided the plants are provided with ample water and nutrients.

Due to the nature of its growth and unfortunate tendency to get 'leggy', H. polysperma 'Ceylon requires some work to maintain in a carefully kept aquascape, where it can be used as a mid or back-ground plant. Its long and narrow leaves can provide a nice contrast to vertically growing species.

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

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by Cavan Allen All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3: US and International Copyright 2004 by cS All Rights Reserved.