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ELATINE TRIANDRA

Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Elatinaceae
Genus: Elatine
Region: Cosmopolitan
Location: Cosmopolitan (not South America)
Size: Stem width: 1-2 cm (0.5-1 in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Nice foreground plants are always appreciated and Elatine triandra is no exception. This inhabitant of mud flats and pond edges is rather rare in nature, where it occurs in a scattered fashion across the Northern Hemisphere. It is not suited to commercial propagation due to its tendency to ship very poorly and is therefore best obtained from other hobbyists as healthy cuttings or seeds.

Once plants have adjusted to their new home, the hardest part is over. As long as certain requirements are met, Elatine triandra does not pose any particular problems. More than anything, this plant is a �nutrient hog�. Surprisingly high levels of iron and macro nutrients are necessary if the plant is to thrive; don�t skimp on either. If a nutrient-rich substrate is not used, heavy water column fertilization is recommended. Important too are abundant carbon dioxide and unobstructed lighting. Finally, E. triandra does best if the temperature is not allowed to exceed about 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24C).

Simply weigh down or plant in small clumps in a good spot let nature take its course. In a short time, it will fill in. If E. triandra is left to its own devices for too long, however, it will overgrow itself, lose its lower leaves and detach from the substrate. Therefore, regular thinning is necessary. It is by far easier to start over than to attempt to manicure a stand, which is acceptable due to the plant�s rapid rate of growth.

It almost goes without saying, then, that propagation is easy. Of interest is the ability of E. triandra to set seed while submersed and spread to places far away from its original location.

As a foreground species, E. triandra excels. When doing well, it appears particularly lush and gives a refreshing impression. Together with dark-colored stone and a sandy foreground, it looks fantastic.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2005 by Erik Leung All Rights Reserved.