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marsilea hirsuta
Marsilea hirsuta, photo: goldenfish2010

Marsilea hirsuta, a great alternative carpeting plant

Marsilea hirsuta isn’t your typical carpeting plant. It has a great range of aquascaping applications and isn’t as demanding as other low growing aquatic plants.

There’s nothing better in a planted aquarium than a bright, green and healthy carpet spreading its way across the foreground. It shows off a lot of skill on the aquascaper’s behalf and can require a good amount of patience and knowledge. Traditionally Hermianthus callitrichoides (HC) and Glossostigma elatinoides are the carpeting plants of choice, with Eleocharis often used in foreground to mid-ground applications. These plants, HC in particular aren’t easy to grow and require high lighting, whereas Marsilea hirsuta does very well in low light and a wide range of water parameters. Below are some basic details for this plant:

Marsilea hirsuta factfile:

marsilea hirsuta

Marsilea hirsuta, photo: goldenfish2010

Origin: Australia
Height: 2-10+ cm
Width: 5-10+ cm
Temperature: 18-28°C
Hardness: 1-20 dH
Ph: 5-7.5
Lighting requirements: Low
CO2: A good idea if you want good growth
Growth Rate: Medium
Difficulty: Easy

Just like with other carpeting plants, Marsilea hirsuta takes a little bit of patience while it’s sending out roots and may have to adapt itself to life underwater if the particular plant chosen has been grown emerged. Old and pale leaves may have to be pruned off to make way for new growth better adapted to underwater growing. When grown underwater this plant will have smaller and darker leaves than it does when grown emersed.

Planting isn’t too difficult and can be achieved by dividing the mass of plants you buy into smaller individual plants which are then planted into the substrate a few centimetres apart. One other consideration to make is that this plant could do with a bit of co2 if you wish to promote decent growth.

This plant is also part of the Tropica 1-2 range of in vitro plants which have been becoming increasingly popular for their health and ease of planting.


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