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Old 07-10-2013, 08:54 PM   #1 
mushumouse's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: chicago, il
planting stem plants?

lately i've been having some trouble with my golden lloydiella/creeping jenny (i've seen a couple different kind of plants called creeping jenny). i got 7 stems in a bunch a couple weeks past, all healthy, with two large leaves at every node. they didn't seem to have any roots, so i just stuck them in the sand with a root tab underneath. they seemed ok for a while, but they kept sending out roots from the points where the leaves grew off the stem, like so:

but never growing roots at the base, where they were in the sand. now, as you see, there are little new stem growths sprouting very fast at each leaf node with small leaves, like they're their own little plantlets. the original stems and large leaves have begun to increasingly melt away underneath each plantlet, starting from the bottom up. so, how the heck am i supposed to plant this and what am i doing wrong? i haven't had much success with stem plants in general (i massacred a bunch of ludwigia repens this spring too, no idea why), i wonder if i'm missing something obvious about how to plant them.

i use flourish and excel once a week, as well as a couple of the api root tabs under the sand, though it's just plain petco sand itself. lighting is 26 watts over 4 gallons, so it should certainly be enough. the dwarf lily is fairly exploding next to it so i don't know what's different.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:28 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Clarksville, TN
Okay, so I did a LOT of research and what I found was generally that you have a couple of choices, since lack of light at the base is probably what's causing the root-level die off:

1) Spread the plants out so that the bases get more light

2) put aquascaping in front of the bases to hide the leaflessbases

3) add a light source behind the tank to increase light to the plant

4) re-cut and replant often.

Some of the forums and articles I visited noted that this plant often grows as a ground cover in swampy areas, but is also fine completely submerged. According to what I read, you also might be over-doing it with the additives a little bit. I have no idea how much other stuff you have in your tank, though.

You're not really doing anything wrong, though. These are just noted problems that often occur. One forum did recommend starting these in a separate tank with only about 2 inches of water, and laying them sideways, to get the roots to develop, then moving those to your larger tank once the side shoot got larger/taller.
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:47 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: chicago, il
thank you so much for the detailed answer! that does make sense, it didn't occur to me that it would be a light problem since i had read that they did well in low light. i have spread it out a little between two of my tanks now so that it's less densely planted, we'll see if that helps. i don't mind too much if the bottom is bare as long as the stem doesn't melt, so i'm crossing my fingers!
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