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Synonyms: Eusteralis stellata (erroneous)
Hardiness: Difficult
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Pogostemon
Region: Australasia
Location: Australasia
Size: Individual stem width: 6-14cm (2-6in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Pogostemon stellatus, erroneously known as Eusteralis stellata in the hobby, is a perennial, marsh dwelling herb from southeast Asia and northern Australia. Because of its extensive and somewhat fragmented geographic distribution, there are many different forms of this plant in the wild. In recent years, this plant has become increasingly common in the trade due to its well deserved popularity �it is a striking plant.

P. stellatus is rather difficult to grow, making quite a few demands on the hobbyist to thrive. Lighting should be intense, since the lower portions of the stems have a tendency to shed leaves otherwise. Stable CO2 injection is a must if one wishes to grow this plant to its full potential. Nitrate, phosphate, and micronutrients should be added via the water column for long term success. Nitrate (5-20ppm) and phosphate (0.2-2ppm) levels are not too important, as long as they are kept stable. If growing conditions and nutrient levels change too fast, the plant often stunts and produces new side shoots from the top. If both nitrate and phosphate are kept high, this plant will be green. If the hobbyist chooses to run one or both nutrients on the lean side, P. stellatus will produce purple or orange foliage. This stem plant is also an excellent indicator of iron and micronutrients �if there is a deficiency, the leaves will be yellow to white in extreme cases.

This whorled stem plant can either grow upright or at an angle above the substrate. It produces many side shoots, which makes propagation easy as they simply have to be trimmed off and replanted. Trimming can be done in two ways: cut and replant the tops or discard the tops and leave the rooted portions in place.

P. stellatus is one of the most decorative stem plants in the hobby, perfect as an accent or focal point in the midground to background of medium to large sized aquariums. Its strikingly colored, fine-leaved foliage forms an excellent contrast to other broader leaved or green stem plants.

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

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

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

Photo #4: US and International Copyright 2005 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved.