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HEMIANTHUS CALLITRICHOIDES

Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Linderniaceae
Genus: Hemianthus
Region: Central/South America
Location: Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico), Bahamas
Size: Individual stem width: 0.5cm (0.25in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Hemianthus callitrichoides, sometimes known as ‘dwarf baby tears’, or more commonly as ‘HC’, was discovered by Tropica founder Holger Windeløv during an expedition to a small rocky steam east of Havana, Cuba; it was described in aquaristic literature for the first time in 2003. Since its introduction into the hobby, H. callitrichoides has become increasingly popular and a foreground plant of choice, making this once rare plant moderately easy to obtain.

H. callitrichoides is generally moderate to slow growing in the aquarium. It requires abundant lighting, generous nutrient levels, a fine-grained substrate and good CO2 levels to do well in the aquarium and will respond with a great deal of pearling if those things are provided. Two watts or more per gallon of compact fluorescent lighting or an equivalent light source will keep it growing close to the substrate. A good rule of thumb for this plant is this: The more light and CO2 available, the more the plant will thrive. Flourish Excel is accepted well by this plant and its use will result in noticeable growth improvements. H. callitrichoides can be grown emersed but is somewhat prone to fungal attack if the soil is not thoroughly saturated with water. A rich substrate like Aquasoil and intense lighting are recommended. The plant will flower with tiny white blooms if grown emersed, but the flowers are extremely small and easy to overlook.

In an aquascape, H. callitrichoides is sometimes planted between rocks or over wood to give an aged look. More frequently, it is used as a general foreground cover, often in combination with other foreground plants such as Eleocharis species. Its small size makes it especially useful for nano aquariums. When planting H. callitrichoides, there are two main techniques. The first is to plant small half inch plugs in the substrate at roughly one inch intervals. The second is to carefully plant individual stems close together with a good pair of tweezers (rooting fish will cause stems to be dislodged). There is some debate about which method is best for the fastest coverage, but both work well given good growing conditions.

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

Photo #2 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2004 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3 Emersed closeup with flower bud: US and International Copyright 2009 by Michael Teesdale (Zapins) All Rights Reserved.