What would you do with trimming stalks of aquatic plants after tank maintenance? Put for sale? Or giving it for free to fellow hobbyist? Or throw it away?
There is another option: planting it emersed. 😊
I would like to write down step-by-step planting Rotala 'bonsai' emersed for your reference. This plant is beautiful underwater. Below are some of the photos taken from my tank before it was trimmed.
|Beautiful Rotala 'bonsai' in the tank (submersed condition)|
|It needs frequent trimming to get a bushy shape|
What you need for planting emersed are quite simple. A jar, scissors and tweezers, soil (here I use AquaSoil) and of course the trimming plant stalks.
|What you need to prepare before planting|
|Aqua-soil was added in the jar|
|Water was added just above the soil level|
|My daughter was helping me to plant Rotala 'bonsai' in the jar|
|Rotala 'bonsai' was planted densely in the jar|
After planting done, using a Cling-wrap plastic sheet to cover the top of the jar to keep high moisture environment in the jar. It is really essential to keep high-level moisture during this transition period so that plants can adapt accordingly from submersed from to emersed form. In nature, it happens for the plants along the riverside, whereby water raise-up and lower down from time to time. Aquatic plants in nature can adapt to those changes fast since it has an existing strong rooting system. For the emersed planting project, plant stalks taken from a fully submersed environment where nutrients can be uptaken from soil and also water column. Once it is planted in emersed from, there is no water column, hence rooting system takes important roles for plant development. we need to keep the high moisture environment until plant roots develop for its nutrients uptake from the soil itself.
You can poke some holes on Cling-wrap sheet after covering the jar. It would give better ventilation in the jar to prevent molding and plants can get more CO2 from the atmosphere. A few holes are enough for the ventilation and at the same time, still can keep high moisture environment. :)
|Cling-wrap was covered on top of the jar.|
The plant jar was kept outdoor to receive natural sunlight. I keep it in a good lighting place but not under direct sunlight to prevent it became "steam vegetable". :) It is necessary to keep the plant in check daily to ensure plants leave is moist. Spraying mist daily is also good during this transition period.
|Spraying daily is good during this transition period|
|After a week, a sign of root spreading could be seen.|
After 2 weeks, more roots were spreading out. At this time, you can poke more holes on the Cling-wrap daily to get the plants gradually get use to the emersed environment.
|After 2 weeks, more roots were spreading out|
At this time, more new emersed leave could be seen from the stems. Cling-wrap could be opened more and more gradually.
|New emersed leaves after 2 weeks planted|
|After 4 weeks, new emersed leave popping out nicely|
|Cling-wrap was removed totally|
After 6 weeks, plants had grown very well and got much taller. Spraying mist on plants daily is recommended. Also, keep a check on the water level in the jar daily to make sure the soil does not dry up. Water level in the jar should be kept at soil level without any ponding to prevent mosquito breeding.
|Rotala 'bonsai' after 6 weeks plant emersed.|
|Rotala 'bonsai' after 2 months planting emersed.|
|The emersed leaves are in a shiny dark-green colour and stems are turning reddish|
|The tip of leaves looked beautiful!|
|Dark green colours of emersed leaves|
|Strong healthy stalks|
The jar is now can be placed on your studying desk or work place where adequate light needed. You can also harvest the stalks and plant submersed in the tank.
The process of planting other aquatic plants emersed can be a bit different base on each species. Nevertheless, the steps should be about the same.
I hope you find the journal is useful. Happy planting!