View Full Version : Trick to planting stem plants

Mustang Boy
11-21-2008, 04:32 PM
I just got some stem plants and have learned that it is a PITA to get them to stay in the gravel i had them in my 29gal and idk if the came out on their own or if one of my fish pulled em out(probably the latter or the 2) so i decided to put them in my 2.5g that i will be housing my rescued betta in and found it was a PITA to plant them in there to cause i have sand in it

so i was wondering is there any trick to getting stem plants to stay planted in the substrate or just pretty much just push them into the substrate and pray that they stay

11-21-2008, 04:40 PM
When planting stem plants, I have always used an old uptake tube from an undergravel filter, placing the plant within the tube, then pushing the tube down into the substrate creating a hole. Swish it around gently and the gravel fills in around the stem without harming it, and gently lift the tube out. The plant stays embedded into the gravel, and you can move to your next one. Generally, I leave at least one or two bottom leaves as anchors to the plant.

Hope that helps.

11-21-2008, 05:42 PM
More than once I had to use a rock to hold down the roots after planting.
They will root properly in time!

11-21-2008, 06:40 PM
Although some people use them, I prefer not to use weights when rooting stem plants. I find it a pain to have to go back into the tank later to take the weights off.

Getting stem plants to stay in place can definitly be a pain. For me the easiest way is to bend the bottom inch of the plant into an L shape, then cover it with gravel. This usually works, although with some stem plants you might risk breaking the stem. Another way that can work is to use leaves from the stem as anchors and plant them under the substrate. This sometimes means that you have to clip off a good peice of the plant though.

Lastly, and perhaps the easiest (but longest) method, is to take the whole plant and plant it horizontal in the substrate with leaves poking out. Not only will the plant root itself but it will send a number of new stalks up, making a lose wall. This is how I mass propogate most of my stem plants. Its a great method but doesn't work with all types of stem plants.

Mustang Boy
11-22-2008, 12:47 AM
thanks for the help and i think i got them to where they will stay so hopefully i wont have to replant any which is a pain cause it is in a little 2.5g bowfront now

and i just got back from my LFS and saw that they had some brand new water sprite in stock so i snagged one of them brought it home depotted it(which is alot harder to do without damaging the plant than i had predicted) with only taking some of the roots off and planted it in the tank too then i rehomed the betta i rescued into the tank and now he is busy exploring his much larger home than his last

11-22-2008, 02:36 AM
A trick that was recommended by some pros that I found very effective, was to use a pair of tweezers. Using the tweezers to hold the base of the stem, you push the tweezers into the substrate at a 45 degree angle while at the same time keeping the plant upright. When the plant is where you want it, let go of it and pull the tweezers back at that same 45 degree angle. This method keeps you from creating a deep crater with your fingers that allows the plant to float out of it again. Also, it allows the substrate to stay more compressed around the stem and roots. Using this method I never had one stem come floating back up once I put it in the substrate.

11-22-2008, 11:25 AM
That's a good idea...

11-22-2008, 02:23 PM
One trick I use with my Hygrophilas is to leave the plant free floating for a while until some rootlets develop. Once the roots are around 1" long, I then plant it, either with GBs tweezer method or with my hands. It usually takes about a week or two to get enough root growth to plant them.

The down side is that your plants my be crooked, but they'll straighten out when you plant them. Also, if you have decor with holes in it, you can thread the stem into the holes until the roots start and then plant them.

What kind of plants are you dealing with?

Wild Turkey
11-22-2008, 02:40 PM
I like to use my hands honestly, but i used to paint models for a long time so you could say i have "soft hands". Just be patient and go slow, and i usually float my plants in my Q tanks if its available, helps em grow the roots and makes me feel better about the hitchhiker possibilities.

Ive never had much of a problem with floaters, but i do use weights like some of the others, and for delicate plants i use tweezers like GB suggested

Lots of good suggestions on this thread! i will be trying the tube method out soon, hadnt thought of that one.

Mustang Boy
11-22-2008, 02:50 PM
thanks for the ideas guys ill definently use them on the next go round

and i have 2 bundles(about 5-6 stems per bundle) of red ludwigia and another bundle of some random stem plant they had there that looked pretty cool

and of course the water sprite i added yesterday but that isnt a stem plant

11-22-2008, 03:51 PM
I really wish I had read more about plants befor planting them.

I really like some of the ideas in this thread.

I really like the idea of planting the whole thing with some leaves poking out. I really like the wall of plants look and it would be easy to make rows that will make fish very secure but be rather easy to see into, if you arrange them well.

I typically dig a rather large hole with one hand, place the plant with the other hand and burry the roots with the digging hand. The problem with this method should be obviouse. I'm always digging up or disturbing other plants.

When I first started reeading this post someone posted about taking the weights off was a pain.. I kinda laughed to myself "oh your supposed to take those off?'

My stem plants haven't made it long enough to worry about it.

03-07-2009, 01:45 AM
Well Mustang Boy,

I have a 29 gallon too :)

I've been keeping it in good hands for a couple of months now, but that is just the youngest tank in my home :)

If you have deep enough gravel, you will be able to dig your plants into the gravel, and then push the gravel to cover the roots so then you won't have to worry about them coming up again :)

If you still are having problems with that, then I suggest you get some weights. Such as the leaded weights. Although they are proven to be dangerous to the plants roots. Well only for SOME plants :)

Make sure you have good gravel. Don't buy the small gravel, because it isn't going to help much, and small gravel is light too.

Large, and/or heavy gravel is somewhat better because it is heavier and can hold down the plants easier without damaging the roots.

Good luck :)

03-07-2009, 01:56 AM
No offense Yoshimitsu, but large heavy gravel isn't really the best choice for planted tanks, however too fine of a substrate isn't really a good choice either.

Wild Turkey
03-07-2009, 02:03 AM
Agreed. Also this thread is 3 months old.

04-30-2010, 01:00 PM
old but still helpfull ;)

04-30-2010, 03:17 PM
Deep substrate and use tweezers, it's what I do.