Ludwigia repens is found in the tropical waters of North and Central America. It is a stunning red aquarium plant that grows quickly when it receives sufficient light. Ludwigia is a favorite plant and welcome addition to any aquarium environment if utilized properly.
Ludwigia repens Statistics
Common Name: red leaf ludwigia, red repens, or the creeping primrose willow
Native to: US and Mexico
Height: 12–20 inches
Width: Two to three inches, based on leaf growth
Growth Rate: Fast
Placement: Middle to Background
Lighting Needs: Medium to very high lighting (two to four watts per gallon)
Temperature: 75–79 Fahrenheit
Hardness: Does best in soft, slightly acidic water
Planting the Red Leaf Ludwigia
Ludwigia repens is an amphibious plant that will grow either partially or fully submerged in the tank. When fully submerged, leaf color ranges from dark green to brownish red or deep red. The tops of the leaves are usually olive green while the undersides contain the red pigments.
Ludwigia repens is a good mid-ground plant, or it can be placed in the background of a small aquarium. Plant Ludwigia in large groups to increase the decorative effect, while pruning it regularly to encourage bushy growth.
Ludwigia repens is a popular, beautiful stem plant that is easy to grow, and it will thrive in most aquariums that meet its basic needs. The plant typically grows to a height of 12–20 inches, and the width of each sprig is about two to three inches, based on leaf growth.
To achieve strong shoots, the substrate should be nutrient-rich under a high-light intensity. Three to five strong specimens could be used for the mid to background area. Ludwigia repens grows well in both very soft and hard water, although soft, slightly acidic water is best. The optimum growth temperature is 75–79 Fahrenheit, although it can grow in temperatures as low as 59 degrees Fahrenheit. With regular additions of carbon dioxide, trace elements, and fertilizers that are rich in iron, It does exceedingly well.
The plant's red color is more vibrant and intense if proper lighting is provided; it requires medium to high lighting to do well (two to four watts per gallon). If kept in low-light tanks, color fades and the leaves tend to fall off. Separate each stem and plant individually to allow more access to light so that lower leaves will still receive some light as the aquarium plant grows taller. When the plant top is removed, several side shoots will be produced on the lower stem piece.
Propagating Ludwigia repens
When the plant is mature, reproduction takes place during the warm season. It develops small, bright yellow flowers above the water's surface. Seeds then develop, drop down to the substrate, and start to grow a new plant. To propagate the plant, just cut branches off the top and plant the stem in the substrate. Remove the leaves from the last node on the bottom of the stem to ensure the proper rooting.