View Full Version : Planting java ferns in gravel

09-17-2010, 03:19 PM
A while ago someone PMed me asking how I kept Java Ferns in my tank planted in the gravel. Java ferns have always been one of my favorite plants and although they are often thought of as a plant that one mounts to driftwood or rock, over the last few years I've come up with a pretty decent way to keep them happy in the gravel.

The first step is to bury the rhizome in the gravel as if it was a 'normal' root found on other plants. Be careful not to break it in the process. Let the plant sit like this for a 2-3 weeks. Although the plants leaves may not grow much during this time the roots will grow and grab onto the gravel/substrate. Once the roots are attached, pull the plant up and place it on top of the gravel. The plants leaves should start growing much better and the attached gravel keeps it from floating away. Essentially you just mount the plant onto the gravel instead of a larger rock/wood. Works like a charm.

All the ferns in the following photos have been grown this way with great success. (Former tanks)

To date I've done this successfully with 3 species of java ferns, with various types of gravel. I don't use any of the small grained plant specific gravels though so I'm not sure how well it would work with those.

Just wanted to share thumbs2:

09-17-2010, 03:36 PM
Good idea thumbs2: . I was always afraid to put the rhizome in the gravel. I guess for fear that it would instantly melt or something :lol:. Never would've thought to let it grab hold to the gravel first, then pull it out. I suppose weighing it down temporarily with a small aquarium-safe weight would do the job fairly well, too.

09-17-2010, 04:11 PM
I do this with the ferns along with anubias, ive gotten FAR better growth from substrate planting the anubias then I even did having them tied to wood pieces.

great write up!