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Shipping Eusteralis and its look-alikes

2659 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  HeyPK
Eusteralis stellata looks remarkably similar in its submersed form to Gratiola/Limnophila, Ludwigia sp. cuba and Ludwigia sp. pantanal. These three different genera have a very similar submersed form, and they are similar not only in appearance, but also in how well they ship, which is not well at all. After two days in the mail, they all are well on their way turning into mush, and I have had very poor success getting them established when they arrive.


A. Does anyone have a technique for rescuing these species when
they arrive half turned to mush?
B. Does anyone know how to ship them when they are in the
submersed form so that they arrive in good shape, other than
expensive next day service? I know that they ship much better
when grown emersed.
C. Is there any research on how best to prepare aquatic plants so that
they last longer during shipping?
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A. If the plants arrive in bad shape - let them float for a week or so.
Even if the main shoot tip has died, this technique lets the plant
grow roots and shoots from every node. It's also a good way to
get a large number of sideshoots for propagation.

B. The best way to ship them is in a bag, loosly wrapped with
a moist (NOT WET) paper towel to maintain the humidity in the bag.
Too wet - accelerate rotting. Too dry - plants may dry out.
If shipping in extreme temps, use styro insulation.

C. Prune sensitive plants out of your tank right before shipping
them out. If you see you'll need to prune some out and need to
ship out the clippings - find a taker before you prune.
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A. Leaving it floating always revives any plant I recieve in bad shape. Make sure all your parameters are in check, and dose reguraly untill conditions improve.
B. Getting plants emersed is the way to do it if your expecting a long journey, when my friend back in Brazil sends me plants emersed they always survive. But you should wrap plants in moist newspaper, and then wrap in the plastic-insulator(the type you get when you buy something electronic)
C. I think the only way is hope that they reach there in good condition by preparing it the right way for shipping.
Ghazanfar and Raul, Thank you for your replies. What you advocate, is exactly what I do, yet I am in the process of losing my second shipment of Ludwigia sp. pantanal. I am floating them in a variety of conditions, including very bright light, plenty of nutrients, other plants thriving floating that ought to be rooted, and all my pantanal stems are rotting, rapidly. It seems that this stem rot, once it is started, is unstoppable. I had the same experience with Eusteralis stellata. The only way I was able to get that species established was to get some that was grown emerse.

Your advice on preparing plants for shipping is also exactly what I do, and still I have occasionally received reports that plants I have shipped via Priority Mail have died. Fortunately, at least 80% of the time I have received reports that they arrived in good shape.

If submerse-shipped E. stellata and its look-alikes lose their leaves, in my experience, there is no chance of recovery. The speed at which they go downhill indicates to me that their disintegration is not due to something like their starving from lack of light or nutrients. It is more like a rapidly-spreading infection to which submerse stems are susceptible and emerse stems are not.

I would like to propose an experiment for somebody who has some submersed E. stellata or look-alike to spare:
A. Cut some stems as you would do if you are going to ship them.
B. Wrap some in wet paper towel or newspaper and put in a plastic bag
exactly as though you were going to ship them. Place them in the
dark and check them daily for signs of deterioration.
C. Let the remaining stems float in the tank for a week. Do they
deteriorate? Do they recover and start to grow some roots?
D. If they do recover and start to grow some roots, wrap for shipping
and place in the dark as you did the previous stems. Monitor daily
for deterioration and see if they last any longer than the freshly cut
stems did.
My hypothesis is that the recovered stems will last longer in the dark because they have healed the cut ends or have set up a barrier to infection at the next node from the cut end.

If the experiment comes out as I expect, it would indicate that stem plants should be allowed to recover for a while in their tank before being shipped. If the experiment does not work out as expected, i.e. the cut stems all rot floating in the tank in which they were cut, (not too likely) or the recovered stems die as fast in the dark as the freshly cut ones, then sending emerse stems is the only way to improve shipping survival.

I hope someone who has submersed E. stellata or look-alike (I don't) will do this experiment and report back to all of us. I an convinced that some simple research can find ways to improve survival during and after shipping.
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I have had the same difficulty getting these plants in good shape, Paul. Tom sent me some Gratiola once that was nothing but brown water and goo when it arrived. :cry:

Along with removing as much extraneous moisture as possible, I think removing as much air from the bag they are sealed in also helps maintain submersed-grown plants during shipping. I've considered getting one of those vacuum packers they are selling for leftover food to see how that might improve things. Removing older leaves from the stem before shipping may also help.

I also wonder if capping the cut stem with wax or perhaps some other "cap" would be helpful.
Is anyone interested in doing the experiment I suggested?
I shipped e. stellata just a few weeks ago...
This is what the person had to say.
Just wanted to let you know that the stellata is doing exceptionally well. It has kept a lot of its original color and is growing more red at the tips as it is adjusting to my tank. Its funny that the same day that your plants arrived I also received a shipment of heteranthera zosterfolia from aquatic-depot. These plants that I had paid $40 for were in terrible shape, but are picking up nicely now. Your plants arrived in impeccable condition.
I'm sending out some more early next week - will see if that does well.
I think most of the problems with these plants is the fact that they are in bad shape to start with. I've always received E. Stellata in great shape from fellow hobbists and have always had success shipping it to others. I even keep it in a bucket for a couple days before shipping it at times. It is a delicate plant but if shipped healthy it will survive shipping quite well. Problem is most retailers don't have the facilities to maintain them in health and let them recover from the first shipping to the store before sending them back out. Even my lfs won't take this plant from me any more, it just disintegrates in their tanks if not sold within the week.

Giancarlo Podio
I lost all of the Ludwigia pantanal I recieved. It totally rotted even though it was floated in good light with good levels of nutrients and CO2. I have about concluded that the only way I am going to get some pantanal established is to have someone ship me some that was grown emersed.

Anybody willing to do the experiment?
I find it interesting that you all are wrapping your plants in damp paper towels or newspaper. I have always felt that this expedited the whole melting process. I think dehydrated plants are better than keeping them moist and smothered, risking damage to the plant tissue. When I worked at a pet store, we would get plants from florida to sinagpore and none of these shipments ever came in with the plants wrapped in paper. On occasion, there were rotten bunches but for the most part, everything was pretty good. I got L. sp. Pantanal sp. cuba and Pogostemon Helferi (Downoi) shipped to me from singapore with no problems which were shipped in air filled bags with little water. I also carried several different species of Tonina throughout Japan and Hong Kong for over a week and got them home just fine. I guess all this means is that the shipping methods used are not what is leading to the demise of these plants. It probably has to do more with the condition of the plants when they were packed than anything.

As far as melted stems go, I cut off as much of the rotten area off and float the plant under dim or ambient light. I don't know why or where I got this from but it does seem to slow down stem rot. Something that I have always wanted to try was dipping the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to get the plant started.

By the way, I shipped out L. sp. Pantanal on Monday to someone and it should get to them today. Hopefully they"ll make it okay. All this talk is making me nervous...
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I have shipped ludwigia sp 'cuba' (submersed) a couple times. I used expresspost; send the plants on monday and it will arrive wed (3 days). The plants arrives in good shape.

I wrap the plant in wet papertowel, put it in a ziplock bag and let most of the air out of the bag before sealing it.

When a thick stem plant melt, it is near impossible to recover.

I also find a thick stem plant that have been growing prolifically under really strong direct light does not do well from being shock during shipping. The faster it grow, the easier it is to melt. If it is growing slower under lower light, it seems to be a little more durable during shipping.

Someone will have to test it to verify it though.
is there a good tip for growing E. stellata??? when i trip the tops of mine, the new shoots dont seem to grow to long, maybe only an inch or so. i cant get the bushy thick appearence that im looking for :?
The suggestion from EDGE is useful that plants that grew more slowlymay ship better than plants that are growingat a maximum rate under high light.

Aaron's observation that a shipped plant floated under dim or ambient light will recover better than one floated under bright light also sounds very interesting. I will have to try that, next time.

I think that, by far, the best way to ship Eusteralis and its look alikes is to ship emersed grown plants. Once that stem rot gets started in submersed grown plants (with thick stems as EDGE observes), it is very difficult to stop.

I have seen submersed grown plants , such as Ludwigia arcuata and Rotala sp. nanjenshan rot pretty rapidly when sealed in a plastic bag even if there is not a drop of free water in the bag. They just do not do well when emersed, even in 100% humidity. I have seen submersed grown plants rot quickly when in 100% humidity where there is such a large air volume that they could not possibly be running low on oxygen.
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