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Lobelia cardinalis 'wavy' full-grown - what to do now?

Andy Pierce

27 Nov 2020
Cambridge, UK
Now that the plant is settled in and well-established (5 months) it’s at 17 cm and while the tops are attractive, it has an exposed bare understory layer with plentiful “aerial” roots – at least that’s what they’d be called if the plant weren’t underwater – that are somewhat unsightly. I’m not sure what to do now, so I'm looking for advice. Some possibilities that come to mind are to plant something smaller in front to hide the bare stemmy rooty patches which would need something that doesn’t mind being shaded (recommendations please, something in a darker green might be nice), or alternatively is there a trimming method for the lobelia that would keep it small(er) and filled in on the bottom, as it was a couple months after it was planted? I suppose the lobelia could be removed and replaced with something else, but I like the pretty bright green appearance of the leaves and it is thriving in the tank. It might also be possible take the front lobelia plants out I suppose and leave one or two in the back which would then give some room with more light for something else to be put in front.

Any thoughts on where to go from here?


Blog link: Lobelia cardinalis ‘wavy’ – what to do now?, Fireplace aquarium
With a few exceptions (Ambulia, Lemon Bacopa), most stems carry air roots. Yours is not ugly as it is constrained below the canopy that makes it look like a Figus tree. There are uglier air roots out there that are all over the stems.
Following up, I kind of went crazy on it: Major aquarium plant trim | Fireplace aquarium. I uprooted all except the smaller one on the end (which is still pretty large) and trimmed some of the best looking smaller shoots and replanted those a little further back. I also took @sparkyweasel advice and planted a row of Cryptocoryne lutea 'hobbit' in the front three weeks ago. They didn't melt, but now some of the leaves are yellowing which I'm interpreting as the plants transitioning to submerged growth. I figured the violent trim of the lobelia might help out the hobbit with a little more light.