Cardamine Lyrata: Ultimate Care Guide

Scientific NameCardamine Lyrata
Common NameJapanese Cress, Bitter Cress
Water Parameters60F – 82F
Growth Rateup to 50 cm in length

Cardamine Lyrata is a Japanese marsh plant in the mustard family. In the wild, Cardamine Lyrata can be found in moist places along the water’s edge. Cardamine Lyrata is a rather quick growing plant that’s stems act like tendrils as they grow and produce their leaves. This plant can be identified by its bright green coloration, and rounded but ruffled leaves.

Cardamine Lyrata Care

Cardamine Lyrata is considered an easy plant to care for as it does not require much to get it to grow into a beautiful plant for your home aquarium. It has been successfully adapted so that it can thrive completely submerged as well as partially submerged as you would find it in its natural environment.

Cardamine Lyrata is a great choice to add to your home aquarium not only for its look, but for the shelter and enrichment it can provide for your fish. Cardamine Lyrata is great for shrimp tanks and for tanks containing smaller fish as it gives them a great place to hide and explore. You may even find that your fish enjoy nibbling on this plant for a snack.

Cardamine Lyrata
Cardamine Lyrata. Edited. kamujp, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Are Cardamine Lyrata Easy to Grow in Aquariums?

Cardamine Lyrata are considered easy to care for and grow in aquariums. Due to its ability to accept a wide range of water parameters, it can thrive in a colder temperature freshwater tank as well as a low temperature tropical aquarium. In its natural environment, Cardamine Lyrata can be found in moist places along river banks where it grows partially and fully submerged. The home aquarium mimics this natural way of growing for the plant and encourages growth.

Lighting Requirement

Unlike other types of aquarium plants that grow and thrive in low lighting conditions, Cardamine Lyrata requires medium to strong lighting to thrive. Too much lighting however, will wilt the leaves and stunt their growth. It can also change the color of the leaves to a more yellowish look. If you notice signs that your plant is not growing or it is wilting, you may want to reevaluate your lighting situation first, and then your temperature.

Temperature Requirement

Cardamine Lyrata is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wider range of water temperatures. It can survive a cold water tank as well as a low heat tropical. It is important that the temperature of the plant not exceed 82F as it will begin to wilt the plant and shrink its leaves. It will also stunt the growth of the plant.

Water pH

Cardamine Lyrata can accept pH levels of 5 to 8. This makes the plant very versatile in where and what type of aquarium that it can be placed in. Your biggest worry will be keeping your fish from snacking on it.

Growth Rate

Cardamine Lyrata has a quick growth rate. The plant does not typically get more than 50 cm in even the best conditions. It is described as having a high growth rate, and if you wish to keep this plant fully submerged in the water, you will potentially have to trim it a bit to keep it under the water line.

Growth Height

At maximum, Cardamine Lyrata can grow up to 50 cm in the right conditions. It may be important for you to trim your plant so that it does not grow above the water line. Trimming Cardamine Lyrata will not harm the plant.

Cardamine Lyrata
Cardamine Lyrata. Edited. batra3x, CC BY 2.0

CO2 Requirement

Cardamine Lyrata is a great addition to the home aquarium. It is considered easy to care for as it can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, and does not require additional help to grow in your aquarium. Even though Cardamine Lyrata does not require help to grow, they can still benefit from it. Using a CO2 fertilizer, or carbon dioxide fertilizer, will help enhance the plant’s growth. It has been suggested that the coloration of the leaves depends on the temperature at which the plant is kept. Even though Cardamine Lyrata can tolerate a colder temperature, it is not tolerant of high temperatures. The water temperature should not exceed 82F, or the plant will start to wilt.


It is not a difficult task to propagate Cardamine Lyrata. You just need a small cutting of the plant. You can plant this cutting in the aquarium soil for it to grow. The roots of this plant will begin to form along the stem of the cutting and will anchor itself into the soil if left planted.

Can You Grow Cardamine Lyrata Fully Submerged?

Cardamine Lyrata can adapt to grow fully submerged in the water, and plants that grow taller than you would like, or past the water line can be trimmed back to your liking.

Can You Grow Cardamine Lyrata as a Floating Plant?

Cardamine Lyrata can be grown as a floating plant in your aquarium. The roots of this plant often can be found growing out of the stem, but are often unseen as they are in the most dense part of the plant hidden behind the leaves. If left floating, the plant will still form roots and grow without anchoring to anything. Floating your Cardamine Lyrata will not affect the growth of the plant other than it will be a tempting snack for your fish.

Where Can I Find Cardamine Lyrata for Sale?

If you are looking to add Cardamine Lyrata to your home aquarium you will not have difficulty finding it. Cardamine Lyrata can be found in many stores that sell aquatic plants and online from aquatic plant nurseries. You can expect to pay around $7 per plant. The size of the plant will affect the pricing, and you can expect to pay a little more for a much larger plant.