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How to grow java fern (leptochilus pteropus)

  1. Origin
  2. Java ferns in aquariums
  3. How to grow java fern
  4. How fast do java ferns grow?
  5. Do java ferns need substrate?
  6. How do I anchor a java fern?
  7. How do you propagate java ferns?
  8. Do java ferns need fertilizer?
Java fern
Java ferns are commonly used in aquariums

Java fern origin

The java fern is an aquatic plant natively found in Southeast Asia, especially in tropical islands, streams and water ways of Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. In the wild, Java fern likes to grow on tree branches overhanging water streams and grows in robust soil or mosses. Unusual for a true fern species which propagate with spores, Java fern can also reproduce through small plants that emerge from parent leaf veins known as ‘pups’. It’s ability to reproduce easily makes it a desirable choice for decorating fish tanks and aquariums around the world.

Java ferns in aquariums

Java ferns are a favorite among aquarium owners, due to their resilient nature in almost any environment. Not only do they offer a lush green color to an aquarium or terrarium, but they are also easy to care for. Java ferns can be planted in gravel, substrate, or tied to driftwood with twine – whichever method you choose, your fern will usually require no supplemental fertilizers beyond the nutrients that come from the tank water itself. In addition, Java ferns will thrive in both low and high light conditions making them an incredibly versatile choice for most aquariums.

How to grow java ferns

It’s incredibly easy to grow and can thrive in a wide variety of aquatic settings, including tanks with low light levels, mild water temperatures, and little fertilization. To get your java fern off to a good start, first ensure that your tank water has been dechlorinated, as chlorine can be fatal to the delicate leaves. When planting in the substrate, make sure the rhizome (underground stem) is exposed but not covered by gravel or stones. Once placed, keep the fronds trimmed a bit if it grows too large, as overgrown Java Fern makes for a less aesthetically pleasing appearance.

How fast do java ferns grow?

In optimal conditions, java fern can add an inch or two of new fronds over the course of a month, allowing it to quickly overtake the tank and create an eye-catching look. While it does require some maintenance and trimming from time to time, most aquarists would agree that the effort is well worth it for such lush planter scenes.

Do java ferns need substrate?

Java fern, like many other aquatic plants, can grow rooted in the substrate. The roots need useful minerals from the substrate to effectively uptake and transport water and nutrients from the water column to the leaves. Even though java fern does not require a substrate to survive, being planted in or attached to one helps it become more established, and therefore provides a larger amount of energy for leaf growth. Not only will this help develop strong anchor points and promote new shoots, but also protect its delicate rhizomes from currents that would otherwise prevent them from taking hold in open water.

How do I anchor a java fern?

The most common way to anchor a java fern is by using lead strips around the base of the plant or by gluing the plant directly to an object like a rock.

How do you propagate java ferns?

Propagating this species is easy as it can be propagated both sexually via spores or vegetatively through the rhizome and foliage. Planting the original rhizome near the substrate in the aquarium will allow it to spread via runners and, eventually, create more individual plants. By cutting the rhizome into separate fragments and replanting each, your Java Fern will propagate quickly. In addition, reproducing them sexually with their striped spores is relatively easy – simply remove the spore-bearing fronds from the plant, leave them to dry for a few days until brown stripes appear on them and then bury or attach them in an area of high humidity.

Do java ferns need fertilizer?

Java ferns are a popular freshwater aquarium plant due to their hardiness and low maintenance needs. Many assume that these plants need some type of fertilizer for growth; however, this is not the case with java ferns. They have adapted to absorb nutrients directly from the water, so no additional fertilizers or supplements are needed. As a result, they require very little attention and provide a beautiful addition to any tank without the worry of any additional maintenance.

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