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Hardiness: Very Easy
Light Needs: Low
Plant Structure: Rosette
Family: Araceae
Genus: Cryptocoryne
Region: Asia
Location: Sri Lanka
Size: Height: 12-50cm (5-20in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Cryptocoryne wendtii, a polymorphous (variable) species found only on the island of Sri Lanka, is one of the most popular and widely kept aquarium plants. The ease of culture of C. wendtii and its luxuriant foliage have earned it a well-deserved place in the hobby both in the aquarium and in emersed culture. Several varieties exist, all being united into one species by the purple collared, twisted limb of the spathe of the spadix inflorescence. The 'Red' form is one of the hardiest, most variable, and most popular forms of C. wendtii.

C. wendtii 'Red' is an extremely variable plant and can be used in any location in the aquarium as lighting and nutrition allow. This plant responds greatly to lighting, showing a growth habit that is highly dependent on light intensity. Under intense lighting the plant will grow almost completely decumbent. In aquaria with moderate lighting, it grows significantly taller. Along with its hardiness, this color form of C. wendtii is known to be the largest of its species and commonly reaches heights of 12-18 inches in the aquarium.

Emersed culture is easy outdoors in warm, humid environments. As long as it is given sufficient shade or indirect light, C. wendtii 'Red' can be grown like any other potted plant outdoors. In less humid regions, it can be grown in greenhouses and containers with an inch or so of water in the bottom to maintain humidity. Indoors, the plant is easily grown in covered aquariums.

In both emersed and submersed culture, C. wendtii 'Red' does well in practically any substrate if given proper supplementation. However, the plants do appreciate a rich substrate. The author has found that this species exhibits its best growth in substrates with a soil base, as described by Diana Walstad.

In large aquaria with strong lighting, this species grows nearly flat across the substrate, making for a good foreground in larger aquariums. In small to moderately sized aquariums (5.5-90 U.S. gallons), and/or those with moderate lighting, C. wendtii 'Red' is an excellent choice for mid- to background use.

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

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

Photo #3 spathe: US and International Copyright 2010 by Adam Martin All Rights Reserved.