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Needle Leaf Ludwigia

(Ludwigia arcuata)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Lighting: Medium to High   • Maximum Size: 20"
• Placement: Midground to Background   • Water Conditions: 72-82° F, KH 3-11, pH 5.5-7.8
• Propagation: Cuttings, Seeds   • Color Forms: Green, Red/Yellow w/high lighting
Supplements: Trace Elements, CO2 Fertilization, Iron, Potassium
• Origin: Southeastern United States   • Family: Onagraceae

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Needle Leaf Ludwigia native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Needle Leaf Ludwigia (Ludwigia arcuata) is found growing both submerged and emersed in marshes, pond margins and drainage ditches in the Southeastern United States, primarily in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. It has a delicate looking reddish stem and thin needle like leaves that vary from green to red. Despite looking quite delicate, it is actually a very hardy species and when kept under the correct conditions will quickly branch and grow into bushy clusters reaching nearly 20" in height.

Needle Leaf Ludwigia is an easy plant to grow that adds movement and dimension to the aquarium. The leaves are thin, pointed and grow in opposite pairs along the whole length of the stem. Depending on the amount of iron available in the water and the intensity of the water, the leaves can vary in color from green to red. If pruned frequently, this plant will branch out and provide a bushy filler for the mid-ground or background placements within the aquarium.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Needle Leaf Ludwigia in the home aquarium.

Ludwigia arcuata is typically sold in a bunch of individual stems, marked for medium to high lighting and recommended for background applications in smaller tanks and mid-ground to background in larger tanks. Many hobbyists are attracted to this species due to the movement it creates within the aquarium as it slowly sways in the water currents. It is also excellent at creating thick bushy areas within the aquarium if pruned frequently, thus providing a bushy filler for the mid-ground or background applications. In more shallow tanks with high lighting Needle Leaf Ludwigia can grow to the surface and grow horizontally on the waters surface, where it will both produce brilliant yellow flowers and provide filtered shaded areas on the substrate below.

Needle Leaf Ludwigia is a versatile plant, but to get the more desirable bright red color, hobbyists must provide high lighting and nutrient levels. High iron content is key in bringing out more red tones of the shoot apexes and the undersides of the leaves. CO2 injection is not required for the cultivation of this plant, but can help it grow more robustly.

When grown emersed, the leaves tend to be more round like what is typically found on other types of ludwigia and will remain green. When grown under high light and submerged in an aquarium, the leaves turn thin and orange to red depending on iron and nutrient levels. Dosing with iron supplements will bring out the deepest red coloration.

Propagation Information

How to propagate and grow Needle Leaf Ludwigia.

In nature reproduction occurs during the late spring and summer when mature plants develop bright yellow flowers just above the surface of the water. From these flowers seeds will develop and eventually drop off and find their way to the substrate, where they will develop into a new plant.

Hobbyists looking to propagate Ludwigia Needle Leaf need simply cut off one of the numerous side shoots, branches or simply top off the plant and plant the newly cut stem into the substrate. In order to ensure proper root growth of the new cutting, remove any leaves from the last segment or node of the plant before replanting.

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