How to propagate aquarium plants - Aquarium Sphere (2023)

Most landscapers start by purchasing their first water plants.

However, this can become expensive over time and can sometimes lead to the inevitable death of the plants.

One of the best parts about underwater plants is learning how to raise them at home.


What is reproduction?

Propagation is the process of producing new plants from existing plants.

Scientifically, the term propagation covers two types of plant propagation:sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction.

Plants that reproduce through sexual reproduction need pollen to fertilize an egg.

Asexual reproduction, on the other hand, occurs when a part of a parent plant grows back into a separate plant.

Both types of reproduction can occur naturally in the wild. This article focuses on intentional asexual reproduction in aquatic plants.

Asexual reproduction methods

Home propagation of aquatic plants is usually done using one of the following methods.

stack of something

Propagation from cuttings is a simple way to grow new plants from existing plants.

As you can probably guess, cuttings are pieces cut from the mother plant. These can then be transplanted to grow a separate plant.

The cuttings should be removed with a sharp knife or scissors and sterilized with alcohol or flame.

(Video) Propagating Aquarium Stem Plants

Dirty tools can spread fungus, bacteria and disease from one plant to another, so using a clean cutting tool is vital.

The size of the cut and the location of the cut vary from plant to plant. Remember to do some research before you fit in.

Some plants are grown from stem, leaf, or root cuttings, depending on the plant.

You can transplant aquatic stem cuttings into the same substrate as the parent plant.

Over a period of a few weeks, the cutting will develop roots and produce new growth.

The mother plant also shows increased growth after cuttings. The pruning process stimulates the mother plant to produce new growth at the cut point.

In many plants this often creates two new stems at this node.

In addition, more energy is directed towards the center of the plant, stimulating more vigorous growth across the entire area of ​​the plant.


Plant stratification occurs when a section of the plant above the ground comes into contact with the soil or other medium.

The plant then sends out new roots from this contact point. This happens naturally with many climbing or climbing plants, but you can also do it manually.

In landscaping, some layering plants send out "runners" from which new plants sprout.

To encourage plants to send up runners, you can cut off the part of the plant that is above the ground.

This will encourage the plant to push its growth towards the roots and eventually produce a new plant from the stolon.

For vine plants that can produce in layers, you can simply push part of the plant into the soil or sand. The plant will form new roots from there.

Depending on the plant, this can be done in the middle of the segment or at the ends.

Once the section develops new roots, it can continue to grow or be separated from its parent and replanted.

(Video) How to Grow Aquatic Plant Cuttings


You can propagate plants that grow in root clumps and plants that have rhizomes by division.

To propagate a new plant by division, you must first dig up the roots of the parent plant.

Then, being careful not to damage more roots than necessary, separate the mother plant into two or more separate plants.

After separation, you can transplant the mother plant and the newly propagated plants.

Planting them together will result in a fuller, denser group of plants.

You can also plant them separately to form another group of the same plant in another part of the aquarium or in a different tank.

Common garden plants and how they are propagated

The following common aquatic plants and their propagation descriptions illustrate how you can propagate various aquatic plants at home.

Ludwig of Peru

Ludwig of PeruIt is an easy maintenance aquatic plant, even for beginners.

Also, it looks impressive in any aquarium.

The upper leaves are usually dark green, and the lower ones are bright red.

Important points of care

  • Maximum size: 40 - 55 cm (15.75 - 21.65 inches)
  • Recommended temperature: 22 - 28 °C (71.6 - 82.4 °F)
  • Basement: fine gravel
  • Placement: midfield
  • lighting: bright


Ludwigia is propagated mainly by cuttings.

Using sharp scissors, cut a segment of the stem and remove two pairs of leaves from the cut end.

Stick the cut end of the stem into the substrate and the cutting will take root in a few weeks.

Growing Ludwigia tall enough to stick out of the water allows it to flower and produce seeds when pollinated.

However, this is a much more complicated method of propagating Ludwigia, and propagation by cuttings is much more common.

dwarf hair grass

dwarf hair grassit is an aquarium plant that forms a mat and covers the bottom of your aquarium.

(Video) Save Your Aquatic Plant Trimmings, Grow Them Emersed! Easy Aquatic Plant Growout System

How to propagate aquarium plants - Aquarium Sphere (1)

Although easy to keep alive, this plant requires a moderate amount of maintenance to thrive.

Important points of care

  • Maximum size: 7 - 12 cm (3 - 5 inches)
  • Recommended temperature: 10 - 20 °C (50 - 83 °F)
  • Basement: coarse sand
  • Positioning: Close-up to midfield


dwarf hair grassit spreads naturally in layers, sending runners through the substrate.

Stokes are elongated roots that plants like dwarf grass use to spread out like a mat.

Sometimes you can see these corridors through the glass of the tank. Once a seedling begins to develop, you can cut off the stolon and transplant the seedling.

If you already have a bush of hair, you can also propagate it by division. Start with a patch of freshly purchased or plucked hairy grass.

From there, the grape can be separated into smaller pieces, made up of five to 10 blades of grass.

Plant them in the substrate an inch or two apart. Prune a few days later to encourage horizontal growth.

If you find that a plant such as dwarf grass is not producing runners as quickly as you would like, you can encourage runner production by pruning the top of the grass.

Increases the brightness oflights in the aquariumit can also promote faster spread.


Java Moss is an effortless, hardy and versatile aquatic moss for beginners and experienced aquascapers alike.

How to propagate aquarium plants - Aquarium Sphere (2)

Important points of care

  • Maximum size: 10 cm (4 inches)
  • Recommended temperature: 15 - 30 °C (59 - 86 °F)
  • Substrate: Optional
  • Placement: Floating; Attached to Hardscape


Java Moss is incredibly easy to propagate. Its propagation method is more like division, although it seems totally magical.

You can propagate java moss and most other mosses by cutting off a piece of moss.

Just clip it to something or let it float. If left floating, it will quickly turn into a mossy raft.

It will also spread like wildfire on whatever surface you attach it to.

(Video) Propagating/splitting Rhizome Aquarium Plants: Java Ferns, Anubias, Bolbitus, Bucephalandra.

You can build walls and other forms of java moss by attaching pieces of moss between pieces of organic mesh in the desired shape.

Some aquascapers have been known to create stunning mossy structures like this one.

Java FarnName

Java fern is a hardy, beginner-friendly plant that can thrive in both fresh and brackish water.

How to propagate aquarium plants - Aquarium Sphere (3)

It is also compatible with a variety of aquarium fish, making it popular with fish keepers and landscapers.

Important points of care

  • Maximum size: 15 - 35 cm (6 - 13 inches)
  • Recommended temperature: 20 - 28 °C (68 - 82 °F)
  • Substrate: Optional
  • Placement: middle to bottom
Also read:How to grow Java fern in an aquarium


There are two methods for propagating Java ferns, and both fall into the division category.

First, clumps of fern rhizomes can be separated and replanted together or in a new location. This is a common manual propagation method for Java ferns.

Java ferns can also reproduce through a process called apomixis.

Once a Java fern matures, it begins to produce clones, called seedlings, under its leaves.

These seedlings eventually develop roots and leaves. They are separated from the mature plant and can be planted elsewhere.


Hornwort is hardy and easy to maintain and grow, making it a popular aquatic plant for beginners.

How to propagate aquarium plants - Aquarium Sphere (4)

Its furry leaves make it look like a furry green tail swimming in the water.

Important points of care

  • Maximum size: up to 10 feet in the wild
  • Recommended temperature: 15 - 30 °C (59 - 86 °F)
  • substrate: optional; fine sand or mud
  • Placement: Floating; below


Most aquarists find that tomentosum reproduces easily without much intervention on their part.

Like other stem plants, tomentosumSide shoots will eventually droop.

These sprouts will float or be planted at the bottom of the tank.

(Video) 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Growing Rooted Aquarium Plants

If you want to propagate them by hand, all you have to do is cut back some existing tomentosa plants.

Stick the seedlings into the substrate. Hornwort cuttings root quickly and begin to show new growth within a few weeks.

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