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POGOSTEMON STELLATUS 'BROAD LEAF'

Synonyms: Eusteralis stellata (erroneous)
Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Pogostemon
Region: Australasia
Location: Papua New Guinea
Size: Individual stem width: 8-20cm (3-8in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Pogostemon stellatus 'Broad Leaf', as a rather new addition to the hobby, is one of the many geographically variable forms of P. stellatus. This particular variety hails from Papua New Guinea, an island nation just north of Australia. Due to its splendid color and beauty, this stem plant is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States where it can be obtained through trading with other hobbyists or purchased from vendors who import plants from Oriental Aquariums in Singapore.

P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' is much less tempermental than the more common narrow-leaved form of this plant. Nonetheless, intense lighting (2 watts per gallon or more) and CO2 supplementation are necessary to evoke the best potential color and health in this species. The individual shoots of P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' should be given adequate space to accommodate their potential leaf size of eight inches. For best health and coloration, a fertilization regimen including nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and micronutrients should be practiced. Despite its hunger for nutrients, this variety of P. stellatus is not as sensitive to nutrient level changes or deficiencies as the narrow-leaved form. Furthermore, this plant does not share the narrow-leaved form's habit of stunting spontaneously and producing several shoots near the meristem.

This herbaceous plant grows at a strong vertical angle, producing few side shoots until it reaches the water's surface. Another key difference between the broad-leaved and narrow-leaved forms of P. stellatus is that the broad-leaved form will easily break the water's surface while the narrow-leaved form will simply bend over and float. The broad-leaved form also grows more slowly. Propagation can be accomplished by merely cutting a side shoot off from the main stem with a pair of scissors and replanting the stem in the substrate.

P. stellatus 'Broad Leaf' is excellent for adding splashes of color to the mid- and backgrounds of medium- to large-sized aquariums. Its showy coloration and robust appearance guarantee that it does not get lost in the expansiveness of a large aquascape.

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

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

Photo #3: Inflorescence US and International Copyright 2011 by Amanda Wenger All Rights Reserved