Some plants that can be used on a paludarium

Discussion in 'Emersed Growing' started by ghostsword, 25 Nov 2009.

  1. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    19 Nov 2009
    Cape Town, South Africa
    As the use of Paludariums, Vivariums and now Ripariums is growing, the usual plants that we source do not apply anymore.

    We now need to look for plants that although they like wet ground, they can actually live with the leaves outside the water.

    I have used hanging planters purchased in the UK, although there is a online shop that sells them in the US, if you live on that side of the pond.

    However, it is very easy to buy hanging planters on the high street, you just need to use imagination.

    I bought my planters on, removed the bottom part, and just filled with clay balls, cocopeat and laterite soil, which you can buy at any pet shop.

    You can also find planters on the net, look for “Powerlock shower caddy”, they sell for around £10, but if you buy in bulk you can get them for close to £5.

    Also Blisshome is a good place to buy them, look on

    I will list below some of the plants I have used on my paludarium/riparium.

    1. Anubias
    Anubias is a genus of aquatic and semi-aquatic flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to tropical central and western Africa. They primarily grow in rivers and streams, but can also be found in marshes.

    As the plant grows in marshes and bogs, this plant is one of my favorite to use on a paludarium/riparium.

    There is a range of plants on the Anubias family, but the easiest to find on the pet shops are the Anubias barteri var. nana, Anubias barteri var. barteri and Anubias barteri var. angustifolia.

    The best way to have them on a tank is to either tied them to a piece of wood, or floating foam.

    Their only requirement is that they need to have the leaves moist, so if you place a airstone beneath them, or a spray bar above, there will no issue.

    2. Java Fern
    The Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) is definitely one of the plants to have on a paludarium/riparium, the plant will adapt very well to growing emmersed, attached to rock or wood.

    The plant is so flexible that can be kept on any type of water, inclusive brackish.

    3. Cryptocorynes
    The Cryptocorynes species is a well know aquarium plant, what most people do not know is that they are very easy to use on a paludarium/riparium.

    They are also easy to flower above the water, as they do so in their natural habitats, where they grow above the water during the summer months.

    The most common Cryptocorynes to find on pet shop or online retailer are:
    Cryptocoryne parva
    Cryptocoryne beckettii ”petchii”
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ”green”
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ”brown”
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Mi Oya’
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Tropica’
    Cryptocoryne undulata ”broad leaves”
    Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia
    Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae
    Cryptocoryne diverse

    As long as they have their roots wet, the plants will do good.

    4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
    A plant that is easy to keep and very easy to find , as it is often sold as a house plant.

    They do not need a lot of light, and in their natural habitat grow on very wet ground, in Central and South American rainforests.

    5. Lobelia species
    All Lobelias would do good on a paludarium/riparium. Although they are seen on ponds, as marginal plants, and die during winter, on a paludarium/riparium with good lighting they would flower.

    Look for Lobelia Kalmii and Lobelia siphilitica, they worked for me on a tall tank with just 15cm of water on the bottom and a pump forcing water up a spray bar.

    Lobelia Cardinalis is easy to find on pet shops, and looks great with the scarlet leaves.

    6. Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)
    A hard plant to get right on the paludarium/riparium, but when it grows, the results are amazing, especially if the tank is open, or tall.

    Plant the tubers in early fall, setting them 3 inches deep in the potting mixture. Keep barely damp until the first shoot appears, then keep moist and feed monthly with a bulb fertilizer.

    Most callas need a period of dormancy after flowering. Gradually withhold water until the leaves wither away, then start plants into growth again later by moistening the soil.

    By using pots, or hanging planters, you can have lilies all year around, giving color to your tank.

    7. Acorus species
    All Acorus will be good for a paludarium/riparium, but my favourite is the Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’, it grows to around 20cm tall, so it is perfect for the back of the tank, or to hide tubes, etc.

    There are various cultivars; Ogon, Variegatus, Minimus aureus. They have different colors and sizes, so it is a good plant to mix and match and give that riverside look to a paludarium/riparium.

    8. Syngonium
    A house plant often sold as an aquarium plant, is a family composed of over 30 species, all native to tropical rain forests.

    Syngonium podophyllum is the most commonly cultivated species, so it is a easy plant to find, and suitable for a paludarium/riparium. It is also known as Goosefoot.

    All parts of the plant are poisonous and cause severe mouth pain if eaten

    Some of the species are listed below:
    Syngonium angustatum
    Syngonium angustifolium
    Syngonium armigerum
    Syngonium atrovirens
    Syngonium auritum
    Syngonium chiapense
    Syngonium chocoanum
    Syngonium crassifolium
    Syngonium dodsonianum
    Syngonium erythrophyllum
    Syngonium foreroanum
    Syngonium gentryanum
    Syngonium glaucopetiolatum
    Syngonium harlingianum
    Syngonium hastiferum
    Syngonium hastifolium
    Syngonium hoffmannii

    9. Dracaena species
    Another plant that is often sold as an aquarium plant, only to die after a couple of weeks and pollute the water.

    There are a variety of Dracaenas, with green and white leave, yellow and green, and even pink/purple and green leaves.

    The soil they are planted on needs to be moist but not water logged, and they do not need a lot of light.

    Just mist the leaves once a day with either a spray bottle or use a spray bar attached to a pump.

    10. Alternanthera species
    There are a variety of species, but the easiest to find it the Alternanthera Sessilis, an aquatic plant known by several common names, including sessile joyweed and dwarf copperleaf. It is used as an aquarium plant, but it will not last long submerged.

    The most beautiful of the Alternantheras, is the Alternanthera reineckii ‘Purple’ (lilacina), easy to find on the aquarium trade, as Tropica sells it.

    The Alternanthera reineckii does very good trailing just above, either on foam strips, or on hanging planters.

    If you need more information please let me know, I will try to help out as much as I can. ... -riparium/
  2. andy

    andy Member

    14 Sep 2007
    Lewes, East Sussex
    couple of others to try

    Creeping Jenny or lysemachia will grow both aquatically and as a hardy border perennial

    Aluminium plant...pilea caderei. I've tanken many cuttings from this and grown it totally submerged for many months.

    Pennywort...hydrocotyle, will grow out of the water too

    Don't forget stuff like earth stars (cryptanthus) and small mosses such as selaginella.

    I used to look after Brighton council's palm house so know my trops.
  3. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    19 Nov 2009
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Many thanks Andy, good tips.. I will try those. I heard about Creepy Jenny, but haven't seen it for sale yet.
  4. jscoggs27

    jscoggs27 Member

    12 Feb 2010
    Just go to any decent garden centre or plant shop that sells indoor tropical plants. Most will work in that enviroment. creeping jenny works submerged as well. Incidentally you can buy hairgrass from pond aquatic suppliers for a quid a pop. Lots of alternatives if your skint like me. Which I doubt you are.
  5. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    19 Nov 2009
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Cheers for the tips, I will for sure use it.

    i found Syngonium at B&Q, and grass here at UKAPS, going really cheap.

    Money is tight, no doubt about that, and it is hard sometimes to justify £5 for a plant. :)
  6. jscoggs27

    jscoggs27 Member

    12 Feb 2010
    Sorry if I sounded a bit abrupt in that last post. had my distracted head on!
    But seriously Ive seen plants in there emersed form commonly sold as small cuttings for a pound or so in tropical plant retailers. These same plants are being sold in their submerged form in your typical aquatic shop for 3 to 8 times as much!
  7. ghostsword

    ghostsword Member

    19 Nov 2009
    Cape Town, South Africa

    :) You didn't sound abrupt.. not an issue.. :)

    I know, it seems that for a while I have been "robbed" when buying plants on shops, not to say that some plants I buy are indeed in a poor state.

    Garden Centres do have a nice variety of plants, and most of them grow emmersed, which is what I am after.

    Also, if one takes good care of immersed plants, with CO2 and EI, then a small cutting will go a long way. :D

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