Ludwigia Repens Care Guide: How to Grow and Propagate

Common Name(s)Ludwigia Repens
Scientific NameLudwigia Repens
OriginNorth America and Central America
Ease of GrowingEasy
AquacapeMid-ground or background plant
HeightUp to 20 inches
Temperature75-79°F (24-26°C)
Growth RateFast
PropagationPropagation by cutting stem above node.
Light RequirementHigh
CO2 RequirementCO2 is not required, small amounts of CO2 injection (less than 6-14 mg/L) may help increase growth rate.
Ludwigia Repens
Ludwigia Repens

The Ludwigia Repens is a very common aquatic plant found in aquariums. It is a beautiful red and green freshwater aquatic plant native to North and Central America. This plant can be found growing abundantly in the wild commonly in California and Mexico in warm tropical waters of lakes, streams, and ponds. The Ludwigia Repens can be grown both in and out of the water making it an amphibious plant. During warm months of the year, this plant will sprout gorgeous yellow flowers just above the water.  The Ludwigia Repens is a very common addition to many aquariums because of its versatility and the simplicity of growing them.

Ludwigia Repens Care

Ludwigia Repens is a very easy plant to care of. This plant can live in a wide variety of water conditions, but it takes a few aspects for this plant to thrive best in its habitat. Good aquarium lighting is essential when growing Ludwigia Repens. For this plant to get its beautiful deep red coloration it must be exposed to high amounts of light. Generally, recommended lighting is two to four watts of light per gallon, but when searching for the deep red pigmentation this may take a bit of trial and error. High light conditions will allow your Ludwigia to develop the beautiful deep red color they are so well known for. These plants can inhabit lower light conditions as well; however, low light conditions will maintain a green color to the leaves. Providing Ludwigia Repens with lower light conditions may also stunt their quick growth. When provided with a sufficient amount of light the Ludwigia Repens will easily thrive and maintain its deep red coloration.

Ludwigia Repens can grow in a very wide temperature range from conditions as low as even 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this plant is found in more warm tropical regions low temperatures are not recommended, but with no other alternative, they will adapt to their conditions. The urged temperature for a tank containing Ludwigia Repens is 75-79°F (24-26°C) for this plant to thrive. Ludwigia Repens are not extremely delicate to the chemistry of the water they live in. This plant can inhabit very soft or hard water conditions. The recommended water chemistry for this plant is very soft slightly acidic water with a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0. This offers a decent amount of range when choosing tank mates. While the Ludwigia Repens is not extremely sensitive to the conditions of the water which they live in, they are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment. Once this plant has adapted to a specific temperature and pH level these conditions should not be changed and be maintained as much as possible. Since the breakdown of organic compounds can lower the pH level of the water, frequent tank cleanings and partial water changes should be carried out weekly to maintain pristine water conditions. Ludwigia Repens can survive in a wide variety of water conditions and chemistry; however, they thrive best in warm tropical temperatures as well as a very soft slightly acidic pH.

ludwigia repens
Ludwigia Repens. 20160419_101818c. Mobile_gnome, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Growing Ludwigia Repens

When provided with high lighting conditions the Ludwigia Repens is an extremely quick-growing aquatic plant. This plant can grow up to 20 inches in height, almost two feet, with stems of two inches thick in just a few months. When provided with lower lighting conditions the growth of the Ludwigia Repens can be significantly slowed down to about an inch per month which will cause it to take years to reach its 20-inch mark. Carbon Dioxide (Co2 supplements) are not a requirement for the Ludwigia Repens species, but it does significantly improve the growth of this plant and maintain its health. If adding Carbon Dioxide supplements is desired be sure to not add too much as it may be detrimental to the fish also inhabiting the tank. The Ludwigia Repens is an extremely fast-growing plant when provided adequate living conditions and high amounts of light otherwise their growth may significantly be stunted.

A unique aspect of this amphibious plant is that it can be grown submersed or emersed. When planting a Ludwigia Repens submersed in an aquascape they are commonly placed towards the back of the tank as they take up a decent amount of room due to their large size and quick growth. This plant can be planted in any type of medium to large substrate that offers enough space for the roots to breathe. The Ludwigia species develop extremely strong roots so they are able to anchor themselves into any rocky substrate. Sandy substrates should mostly be avoided as they are capable of suffocating the roots of the Ludwigia Repens. Adding this plant to its substrate is as simple as it can be, just stick it in with the roots covered and it will be good to go! Choosing to grow a Ludwigia Repens emersed will be just as simple. To do so place a cutting of the plant into a pot of damp soil. The soil should maintain a layer of water on the surface. Since this plant is mainly an aquatic plant maintaining the moisture of its soil is essential. The Ludwigia Repens is a uniquely amphibious aquatic plant as it can thrive when growing either submersed or emersed in its aquascape.

Propagation can easily be done to increase the size of the Ludwigia Repens in an aquascape. This can simply be done by cutting the stem of the plant directly above a node and placing it into the chosen substrate. The plant will then begin to develop roots and flourish. Growing multiple Ludwigia Repens within a tank will make the plant appear larger and bushier than having only one. A back wall lined with well-trimmed Ludwigia can offer a beautiful backdrop to any aquascape. Trimming should be done to maintain the plant and ensure it does not take over its habitat. This can be done the same way propagation is done by cutting the stems just above a node. Propagating a Ludwigia Repens can easily be done by trimming a stem and placing it in the substrate allowing an underwater forest to grow.

Ludwigia Repens – Beginner Plant

Various Types of Ludwigia

There are about 80 species of aquatic plants within the Ludwigia genus. Within the Repen species, there is a wide variety of gorgeous plants to choose from including Ludwigia Repens Rubin, Ludwigia Repens Super Red, Ludwigia Repens Dark Red, Ludwigia Repens Mesakana, Ludwigia Repens Broadleaf, and Ludwigia Repens Narrow among others. These amphibious plants share similarities such as their beautiful deep red coloration when provided with adequate light conditions and long flowing stems. While many of the different species of Ludwigia all share many similarities in appearance as well as care they also offer many differences. 

Ludwigia Repens vs Ludwigia Arcuata

The Ludwigia Arcuata shares a few differences with the Ludwigia Repens. While the Repen develops large round leaves the Arcuata develops long thin needle-like leaves. The appearance of an Arcuata is also more bushlike while the Repen stands tall. Ludwigia Arcuatas require a bit more acidic water chemistry with a pH level of 5.0 to 5.8. They also have a bit more wide temperature range of 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ludwigia Repens vs Ludwigia Palustris

Many of the differences between the Ludwigia Repens and the Ludwigia Palustris are noticeable characteristics. The Palustris is significantly smaller than the Ludwigia. This species only grows to about 12 inches. The Palustris also does not flower quite as often as other Ludwigia, and when it does its blossoms are very small. The Ludwigia Palustris requires a slightly acidic to slightly neutral water chemistry with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. This plant also requires warm temperatures of 78 or 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ludwigia Repens vs Ludwigia Glandiosa

Differences between the Ludwigia Repens and the Ludwigia Glandiosa are in their water conditions. The Ludwigia Glandiosa requires water chemistry of neutral to slightly alkaline with a pH level of 7.5 to 9.0. This species has a similar water temperature requirement to the Repen of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The Ludwigia Glandiosa does require Carbon Dioxide, unlike the Repen that does not. Also, the Gladiosa grows much more slowly than other species of Ludwigia.

Ludwigia Repens vs Ludwigia Ovalis

The Ludwigia Ovalis is an extremely quick-growing species of Ludwigia. This species grows about four inches when given adequate living conditions to do so. This species of Ludwigia requires water chemistry of slightly acidic to slightly neutral with a pH level of 5.0 to 7.0. The Ludwigia Ovalis requires a slightly cool to warm water temperature of 64 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tank Mates for the Ludwigia Repens

Acquiring tank mates for the Ludwigia Repens can be fairly easy as long as the chosen fish are not aggressive and share the same environmental requirements. Since this plant is able to survive as a floating plant fish ripping the Repen out of the substrate will not be a big issue. Though, fish who may munch on vegetation could be detrimental to the Ludwigia Repens as it could be with many plants. A great option for a tank mate to the Ludwigia Repens is the Betta Fish as these two species are both suitable for beginner level aquarists. Betta Fish are typically kept in smaller tanks of around five to ten gallons. Since the Ludwigia Repens needs a bit more room for growth a larger tank may be a good investment, but this plant can easily be trimmed and maintained for a smaller sized tank.

Another great option for a tank mate to the Ludwigia Repens is the Swordtail Fish. This peaceful and friendly fish requires similar water conditions such as pH and temperature. The Swordtail fish requires slightly alkaline water chemistry with a pH level of 7.0 to 8.4. This fish thrives best in water temperatures of 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit making it a good pair for the Ludwigia Repens. The Swordtail fish requires a tank of 15 gallons or more which would give the Repen adequate room for growth. Not to mention the beautiful vibrant colors of the Swordtail fish will contrast well with the deep reds of the Ludwigia Repens.

The Java Fern also makes a great tank pair with the Ludwigia Repens. This bright green plant will contrast well with the Repen adding more depth into your aquascape or community tank. The Java Fern is just as easy to care for as the Ludwigia Repens. This aquatic Fern requires slightly acidic to slightly neutral water chemistry with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5. This plant requires a water temperature of 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit making it a great pair to the Ludwigia Repens. Peaceful fish or other aquatic plants with warm water requirements and slightly acidic pH level requirements make for great tank mates to the Ludwigia Repens.

Where to Find Ludwigia Repens for Sale

Ludwigia Repens can easily purchase from online aquatic suppliers. The only downside to this is that you are not able to pick the plant with the healthiest appearance. Purchasing aquatic plants online can be a gamble as you may receive one that will need lots of extra special care to get it to its thriving point once again. Ludwigia Repens can also be purchased from good local aquatic shops. The Staurogyne Repen can even be purchased from PetSmart, so finding this species should come quite easy. The Ludwigia Repens can range from $5 to $15 depending on the seller, the size of the plant, and even the health of the plant. The Ludwigia Repens is an affordable aquatic plant that should come easy to find with local aquatic shops that have a great selection to choose from.

This amphibious flowering plant is great vegetation to add to your tank. The Ludwigia Repens offers a wide variety of tank mate options including various types of plants and fish. This plant can offer hiding spots for fish also inhabiting the take, beautiful yellow flowers to enjoy, and offers many propagation opportunities. The Ludwigia Repens is a beginner-level aquarist plant that will add depth to your aquascape or community tank with its fast-growing tendency, beautiful deep red pigmentation, and ease of care required.