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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is what I know on the life cycle of the Lace...

[I know they have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but they do well in my set-up...] Grows from a bulb, has a period of vegetative growth for a while, at some point either puts out a spike flower and then goes dormant, or - just goes dormant after a while, you pull the bulb out of the tank, trim everything back, place in a damp/humid environment in some substrate, and after a few weeks when it starts to sprout again, put back in tank and away you go...

Here's my question -

Local shop was selling large Lace BULBS (just the bulb) for a great price. I picked one up, placed in my tank, and now, along with two young leaves, its sending up a spike flower. ...and the flower spike is ROCKETING to the surface with essentially no leaves. Lets just say I'm a bit confused by it.

What's going on? Could it be that the bulbs were actually from plants that were toward the end of their cycle, got damaged in shipping, so the shop pulled the leaves and just sold them as "bulbs" rather than a mature damaged plant? What else could be going on???? My thought is I'll need to let the plant cycle through and then pull it, but I'm worried now about energy storage in the bulb to be able to go through dormancy.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Chris
 

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hey, ih ad lace plant before for the longest time. it flowered nicely and didn't go dormant. however i had to get rid of it because of the darn thing was so huge that took out 1/3 of my 125!!! a few months later i found out from my friend that the plant went dormant soon after he go it...so who knows! is not an exact science to my experience...post pics, the flowers are awesome!

oh and when i first got it the bulb was tiny and the plant looked like crap, when i sold it the bulb was huge!!! and put leaves soooooooooooo often...
 

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In tanks with a hood I always cut the flowers off before they reached the surface because I wasn't going to get to enjoy them anyways and the plants then put their energy back into leaf growth.
 

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I've had a lace plant for 4 years now. It won't go dormant as long as I continue to feed it with root tabs. I have had others go dormant if I did not make sure they were fed.

If I were you I'd but the flower. It takes energy to flower and you need it to put up some leaves. Why waste the energy on a flower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting - my Laces have grown HUGE as well, but always seemed to go dormant. ...I'll have to take a look at root tabs.

I guess I was worried about interrupting the cycle by clipping the flower, but - since others have experience of the plant NOT going dormant - that might be the best thing to do. I might just do that tomorrow...

Thanks for the responses so far... keep 'em coming if you have anything else.

Chris
 

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The lace plants that have the broad leaves and the white, two-spiked flowers can be propagated because the flowers can be self-fertilized. All you have to do is brush the pollen all over the spikes with a small paint brush. This gets the pollen form the male stamens to the female stigmas. Three or four weeks later, seeds will be released that germinate immediately. The really large variety, called guillotii, has narrower, longer leaves up to 1 meter long and three to five-spiked pink or purple flowers. There is a barrier to self-fertilization in this variety, and the only way to get seeds is through cross fertilization, which wouldn't be easy given the size of the plants.
Lace plant seedlings
 

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This is one of my favorite plants, but I have never had much success with them. Mine always go dormant, and now my otos in a new setup keep eating the top of the bulb everytime it looks about ready to put out new leaves(the otos are the only fish in this setup at the moment, only reason I assume it is them). I will definatly keep the fertilization in mind if I can get them to leave it alone long enough to sprout!
 

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Kasselmann has one species for all the lace plants, but earlier, three different varieties were known and were considered different species. There were two with broad leaves and two-spiked white or slightly yellowish flowers, A. madagascariensis and A. henkelianus. They differed mainly in that the ribbing in the leaf was very regular with nice ordered rectangles in madascariensis and rather irregular in henkelianus with odd angles. The third variety which was a much larger plant with longer, narrower leaves and three to five-spiked flowers was called A. guillotii. With the usual naming confusion that abounds because most hobbyists and commercial growers are not taxonomists, some people switched names and called the third variety henkelianus. Variety guillotii is clearly distinct from the other two with its large size, narrow leaves, three to five-spiked flowers and its requirement for cross fertilization. It is also less fussy about its substrate and can tolerate a higher organic substrate such as soil mixed with peat. The other two varieties seem to be more sensitive to an organic substrate and develop dead areas on their leaves that spread until the whole leaf dies when they are in more organic, more anaerobic substrates. These two varieties do better in gravel with a little mud from subsoil with very little organic matter. They do best when their roots are intermingled with the roots of other plants, perhaps benefiting from the oxygenation supplied by the other plants' roots. Small to medium crypts such as C. parva or C. x willisii make good 'companion' plants for lace plants. You don't want tall plants that compete with the lace plants for light. The so called dormancy period that the older literature implies is required may just be a response to poor growing conditions. Tex Gal just mentioned a plant that did not go dormant for three years, and I had one that did not go dormant for five years and was still going until I let the tank dry out to see if the bulb could withstand drying as some Aponogeton bulbs can. It couldn't.

Variety madagascariensis showing fruits (to be technically correct) that are about ready to release seeds
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great info! Unless someone thinks I shouldn't, I'll go ahead and clip the flower stalk a bit later to let the leaves get a foot-hold, and then let the plant "proceed" as it wants to. ...and coincidentally it is "planted" (roots haven't taken hold yet) with a bunch of crypts, so...cool.

Chris
 

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The lace loves acidic substrate and lots of light.

In these conditions it can make leaves that are 3 foot long and 1 ft. wide.

I gave a bulb with one rotting leaf to my neighbour and 4 months later he got tired of the plant. He appeared at my door holding the plant up above his head. Leaves hung down to his belt. He said he hates this plant and I can have it back.

The entire time he had constant flowering and also a bunch of black hard seeds.

--Nikolay
 

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Black hard seeds??? That doesn't sound like Aponogeton seeds, including lace plant seeds. These seeds are released with a pink water repellent spongy coat that allows them to float for a day or two. Then this coat disintegrates releasing a green seedling which is mostly food supply with one tiny cotyledon. This seedling sinks and starts to grow immediately.
 

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from my experience with aponogetons... i had this HUGE one that literally grew 5 inches a day. it formed these long leaves floating at the top kind of like the shape and size of a very small banana. anyways. it sent up 3 flower stalks and the plant never went dormant for me. it got too big so i gave it to a friend. and my crispus stayed nice and short with beautiful leaves and no flowers.
 

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I got nothing to prove the claim about the hard black seeds. Other than remembering seeing them on the flowers of my neighbour's Uwirandra. And all over the surface. They were somewhat triangular shaped and with somewhat pointy corners. He hated them because they were not exactly floating or sinking - some sunk some floated. Could not collect them easily.

Never saw one of them sprout.

His plant shot leaves that were not only huge but also each one was a different color and went it's own way. Some would shoot straight up, some would undulate along the bottom, some would be in a 45 degree angle. The whole plant seemed totally unruly having a field day in 4 inches of AquaSoil and 400 watts of light 8" above the 18" tank.

--Nikolay
 
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