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EICHHORNIA DIVERSIFOLIA

Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Eichhornia
Region: Central/South America
Location: Antilles, Guyana, Venezuela, Brazil
Size: Stem width: 8-15cm (3-6in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: No

Description:

Eichhornia diversifolia, an obligate aquatic plant, can be found growing in bodies of water throughout tropical Central and South America. Although it is difficult to find in stores, E. diversifolia is quite easy to obtain via other hobbyists. Aquatic plant nurseries Oriental Aquariums and Tropica both offer this plant.

E. diversifolia is a fast growing, robust plant if certain requirements are met. Lighting should be intense and in excess of 3 watts per gallon. The hobbyist should never allow the crowns of this plant to get shaded, or they will turn transparent and wither away. CO2 injection is necessary for large, vigorous stems. Adequate nitrate and phosphate supplementation is critical for this species and is perhaps the main reason why many hobbyists fail with this plant. Both of these nutrients should be kept on the rich side (5-20 ppm for nitrate, 1-2 ppm for phosphate). If these nutrients are lacking, the lower leaves of this plant will turn black. Iron and other micronutrients should also be dosed heavily for deep, emerald green foliage. If the hobbyist runs a water column or substrate rich in nutrients, the individual stems of this plant can reach an impressive diameter.

The palm-like stems of this plant produce many stems if given enough space, becoming a bushy hedge, although not quite as dense as its close relative and look-a-like, Heteranthera zosterifolia. On a side note, the belief that Eichhornia diversifolia and Heteranthera zosterifolia are incompatible due to allelopathy has been recently disproven. If allowed to grow to the water's surface, the plant produces ovate floating leaves and, possibly, beautiful blue flowers. Top and replant the shoots to keep the more robust top portions.

E. diversifolia is a gorgeous green stem plant accent or even focal point for the midground and background of an aquascape due to its unique foliage and deep, emerald green color.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2009 by Tim Gross. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by Loh Koah Fong All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3: US and International Copyright 2004 by Tom Barr All Rights Reserved.

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

Photo #5: US and International Copyright 2004 by Otis McGhee All Rights Reserved.