Echinodorus spp. swordplants send up inflorescences that can rise out of the top of the aquarium
and develop small white flower blossoms.
system, they can be removed from the
parent plant. I’ve found that the larger the
plant is when removed (within reason), the
better the chance it has of surviving—and
the quicker it will become acclimated to its
new life on its own.
Another plant that likes to surprise
you with its blossoms is the moderately
sized grassy Sagittaria subulata. Sometimes
mistaken for Vallisneria, Sagittaria is
usually smaller and (for me at least) grows
at a much more reasonable pace than val,
which can seemingly take over an entire
aquarium overnight. In my experience,
Sagittaria has been more likely to bloom in
the home aquarium than val—and it does
S. subulata is an undemanding plant. It
usually stays at a medium height, making
it nice for the mid-ground in smaller tanks
or the foreground in larger ones. Sagittaria
seem to do well in most tanks. I’ve had them
grow wonderfully and bloom in aquariums
with plain gravel and low light, and in the
soupy nutrient-filled tubs I keep under
shade cloth in the Arizona sun. They seem
to be quite happy in either extreme. I’ve
been surprised by blossoms in forgotten
tanks in the corner of the fishroom.
When flowering, S. subulata sends a
long stalk to the surface of the tank. Small,
white, delicate flowers with three petals
float at the surface of the water. Although
they do seed in the wild, it’s not practical
in the aquarium. Fortunately S. subulata
reproduce quite well through runners, so
even without seeds you should end up with
plenty of extra plants.
Aquarium plant blooms aren’t as showy
as those you can grow on your houseplants
or out in your garden, but it is fun to
experience this aspect of the hobby.
Next time I’ll discuss the stemmed
plants and how you will have to do a
little more planning if you want to see
them bloom. Plus, I’ll take a look at some
plants that show off their best blossoms
in a high-tech tank.