I figured I would make a write up of my Top five favorite scaping plants.
Ill make it pretty simple, and enough information to tell you how the plant acts, etc.
All of this is under high tech conditions, this means my lighting at around 180+ par.
1. Limnophila Aromatica,
Limnophila Aromatica (Limnophila chinensis var. aromatica) is one of the most beautiful plants i have owned. Commonly it is seen as green and purple, but in Super Super high light, it turns into this Stunning yellowish/honey color that i garuntee you will not find on any other plant in this hobby. Its purely unique. The colorations on this plant are not the only term that make this plant so amazing, but also the pruning techniques and growth habits are some of my favorite traits of this plant. To trim, well, you can trim it anyway youd like! i trim my limnophila aromatica- the 1st time let it grow around 3", then mow it to the ground. It will usually send 2 shoots but in very healthy conditions 3. Usually this doesnt happen the first trim though. After that first trim you have successfully made a partial 'stump' as i call it. The next trims i do i keep the 'stump' at 1" in total heighth or so. 1 limno plant can have up to 8 shoots in my experience just from a 1" stump.
The growth habit of limnophila aromatica is pretty much like any other stem plant, except for when it hits the top of the water. No matter how tall your tank is in my experience, Limnophila aromatica will begin to curve its stem around 6" before it hits the waters surface.
2. Cryptocoryne Balansae,
Cryptocoryne Balansae (Cryptocoryne crispatula) is a non invasive slow growing rhizome based thin - slightly wide leaved plant that is one of its kind and also is a terrific background placement plant. The coloration on this plant can range from Green -> Bronze color. The bronze color is acheived under Extremely high light do note, and is pretty difficult to acheive. As for growth habbits, the rhizome gains length, as well as width over time, and it takes a long time to grow fairly large (the rhizome size) even in high tech conditions. This plant is very hardy in a stable scape and can adapt to the worst of conditions sometimes but it obviously does best in a densley planted tank with medium to high light, but can do really well also in low light. Hence the reason i said very hardy! The leaves will grow straight up to the waters surface, you might see a curl when they are about half way to the surface, but this is normal behavior. Note that crypts are very sensitive to parameter changes- and this is one of the most sensative crypts when it comes to any changes in the tank weather it be heat or dosing. Sudden changes can cripple the plant over small amounts of time.
3. Ludwigia sp. Super mini red.
Ludwigia sp. super mini red, Is known for its intense deep blood red coloration under varying conditions. It is considered by many to be the reddest plant in the entire hobby! It does best under high tech conditions but i personally have seen great success with this plant in walstad tanks, as well as other lower tech setups. But for the Best growth, high tech is the way to go. The leaf color is not the only that makes this plant so stunning, but the simplistic and mini leaf shape of this plant is also pretty astonishing, sure fine leaved plants are thin, but they are long and that makes up for there lack of width! But L. Super mini red, has regularly spade shape leaves, but is smaller than average ludwigia sp. Its leaves are about a quarter of the size of ludwigia rubins leaves. This is how it got the 'mini' in the name. It has definetly filled a void for the perfect red plant in the hobby easily. The plant itself is pretty undemanding, and needs proper trimming to stay healthy. Trimming is pretty simple but do not trim it less than 2" or else it will suffer from different growth issues in my experience, issues include sluggish growth to some stunting even... usually above that 2" line you wont have issues, or at least i have not experienced any this far.
Pearlweed (Hemianthus Micranthemoides) is a "uncommon" plant in the hobby i believe, even though its easily aquired not many people have grown it that i have seen. The plant is Entirely undemanding and can live in the harshest environments i have found. The usage of this plant varies greatly as well, due to its outstandingly unpredictable growth habits you can pretty much do whatever youd like with it, weather that be making a carpet out of it, or making it the perfect background plant- and even sometimes tying it to hardscape and letting it grow on that. The plant is easily considered universal imo. As the usages for it are endless. I have made a carpet of it and it can grow as thin as 1/2" or less even. This takes time to acheive but its been done, and it looks very pretty. However i find having a carpet of it if youd like it to be more lush shoot for 1" or so and youll find the best results. As far as leaf shape, its triangular i find. Kind of like an arrowhead, but a bit blunter at the tip. From top down it grows in a star shape formation. Using this plant as a background make sure you keep it perfectly contained in the area youd like it in or else it will just grow wildly and take over the entire tank. This plant is by far one of my favorite plants, i have not had a tank without it in the scape.
5. Lagenandra Meeboldii 'red',
Lagenandra Meeboldii 'red' is very unique one of a kind plant in my opinion, the leaf size is medium-large and the shape is pretty unique as well, i can say i havent seen a plant like it with the same shape. Its basically a large oval that has a bend to it sometimes in the middle. The growth habits are pretty simple to this plant. If your running lower light intensity, the leaves stem will have more height, and the leaf will lye flat. If in higher light like in my tank, it will stay very low similar to crypt. pink panther. The plant itself can reach a very pink color to medium red. Similar to maroon but a bit lighter. Sometimes you will see shades of yellow which are not uncommon in the plant. I believe the leaf texture can also be striped sometimes in varying conditions. The plant itself is pretty simple just like that. I dont trim it in my tank since its even in the best of conditions an Extremely slow grower. The roots also get pretty massive. But the plant itself grows just as it HAS to grow. Not to little not to much. Just enough.