Aquarium plants are a perfect, and natural, addition to your tank. They provide several key health benefits for aquarium water and create eye-popping visuals. With their wide range of shapes, sizes, and color, tank plants will suit any setup or aquarium design you have in mind.
Still, do any of these water plants produce flowers? I wanted to know whether flowers could be grown in my tank so I did some research. In fact, there are a few select flora that will flower in your aquarium!
Some of these plants are harder to care for than others. But if you want to see bright flowers in your tank space, there are a few options you can pick from. I’ll go over these plants and discuss how you can make them flower properly in this article.
Aquarium Plants That Will Flower:
- Madagascar lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis)
- Red tiger lotus
- Aponogetons (above water)
- Amazon Swords
- Giant Hygro
Why Do Plants Flower
We like to think of flowers in terms of their beauty. They decorate nature, our homes, and even our fish tanks. Still, flowers are more than ornamental fixtures, they are the reproductive organ of a plant. Petals, colors, and other eye-catching features are designed, by nature, to attract the eye of potential pollinators.
All of this plays into the process of plant reproduction. When pollinated, flowers can create more seeds, which allows them to create more of their own kind. Growing this extra appendage is no easy task though. Plants require the right conditions, as well as, plenty of nutrition to flower and reproduce themselves.
Considering the purpose of flowers, you might wonder how plants grow in water. The truth is that many aquatic plants grow above the surface of the water. Usually, their roots are submerged, but the flower remains above the surface. This gives water plants a better chance to pollinate.
A typical example of this would be water lilies or lotus plants found in lakes. Flowers on these plants can grow large and are generally easier to cultivate above the surface of water. However, some species can grow fully underwater.
They won’t be as colorful or as big as other water plants, but they will still flower. Submerged flowering plants are more bud-like in their form. But we’ll get into both types of plants during the course of the article.
Regardless of the type of flowering plant you choose though, you’ll have to provide them with an optimal environment. I’ll talk about ways you can care for flowering plants in the next section.
How To Make Your Aquarium Plant Flower
If you want your plants to flower in an aquarium environment, you must create the right water conditions. Temperature, humidity, and pH are just a few factors to consider when trying to grow tank plants. Water parameters, like temperature and pH, play a crucial role in aquatic plant flowering, so you want to get them right!
The best way to ensure this is with research. Do some digging online and figure out what your flowering plant needs to thrive in a water environment. Each plant has unique requirements in terms of climate and other conditions. You need to know what suits your plant specifically for the best flowering results!
Plan how you will implement these changes in your tank water beforehand. And purchase a thermometer, heating device, and other necessary supplies. You might need different tank products depending on what plant you have.
Once you have your water cleaned and sorted out, you’ll want to set up an LED light. As you can imagine, plants need light to survive. An LED system will allow your plant to go through photosynthesis and get vital nutrients.
Having a planted tank without a lighting system is a death sentence. Your plant won’t grow or flower without this product. How much light your flowering plant requires depends on the species you get. So again, make sure to do your research beforehand.
In addition to these tank devices, you’ll also need to add plant fertilizer to your water. This will help your plant thrive in its aquarium. CO2 can also be injected into your tank to further grow and flower your plant! For some plants CO2 injection is a must, while others can survive without it.
1. Madagascar lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis)
The first plant I will talk about is the Madagascar lace. This plant is known for its unique leaf structure and beautiful flowers. As its name suggests, the foliage of the Lace plant is delicate and lace-like. Its leaves have a skeletal appearance which makes them appear see-through.
Flowers on the Lace have an equally distinct appearance and will blossom above the surface of your tank. Flowering this plant takes a moderate level of skill and a lot of work. Still, if you can provide the right water conditions, you can produce flowers on this plant in no time.
To make the purple or white flowers of the Madagascar bloom, first adjust your water temperature. The temperature should be placed around 72 degrees to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a water heater. Use your thermometer often to check that you have the right temperature range. And also make sure that your pH is around 6 to 7.
In addition, your Madagascar lace will do better when it is rooted in your tank. You’ll want to pick a suitable substrate for it. Sand is good but a fine gravel might work better. The lights in your tank should be set on as well. Lace plants need moderate to high levels of light to thrive.
Lastly, make sure you add enough nutrients to allow the plant to grow. This is crucial! For your Madagascar lace a combination of root tabs in the substrate with a liquid fertilizer is perfect. Also, adding CO2 make growing this plant a lot easier. I’ve seen people succeed without it, but most people do recommend CO2 with this plant.
Anubias are one of the few plants that can produce flowers while completely submerged. They are undemanding and have flexible needs. This makes them an ideal aquatic plant for new tank owners! I’ve had multiple Anubias flowers in my own aquarium.
Unlike a lot of other flowering plants, Anubias can adapt to a range of temperatures and water conditions. They are hardy flora that are easy to flower. As a result of this, they are extremely popular with beginners who don’t have a lot of experience with planted tanks.
The flowers of the Anubias are small and white. But can be bloomed in and out of your water. It just depends on how you want to grow your plant. Make sure to not bury the roots of this plant in substrate of any kind. Instead, attach the plant to a piece of wood or rocks. When the roots are buried, they will rot and the plant will die.
Anubias don’t need a ton of light to survive, but if you want a bigger plant, more light can be used. Again, care depends on how big you want your plant to grow. Bigger Anubias require more fertilizer and extra light. But a smaller Anubias will only need lower levels of light to thrive.
3. Red tiger lotus
If you want a large flower in your aquarium, the Red tiger lotus is an aquatic plant you’ll want to look into. The flower on the Tiger is big, white, and very low-maintenance! The pads of your plant should be kept above the water though. This way the flowers won’t wilt and die underwater.
Tiger flowers only bloom at the top of your tank with medium levels of light and temperatures around 71 to 82 degrees. Overall, care isn’t complicated with this plant. But you have to prune the Tiger lotus often, especially when its flower blooms.
This plant can easily overtake your aquarium if you let it grow unchecked. Anchoring your plant with gravel should help curve some of its growth though. You can even hold back on fertilizer if you want to slow the growth of your Tiger lotus. Just keep an eye out on your plant for any signs of wilting.
This video on Youtube shows an incredible timelapse of a flower or the red tiger lotus slowly growing out of the aquarium. Just amazing!
The red tiger lotus is one of the few plants that I recommend buying online because the start as a tiny ball the size of small golfball. You can place this in your tank and the plant will start growing! Check out the price of the tiger lotus here on Amazon!
While Tiger lotus will only grow flowers above water, Bucephalandra will grow flowers best submerged in water. These aquatic plants are compact and create small blooming flowers in your tank. Really, this is one of the simplest flowering plants to grow in a tank.
You can give them any amount of light you want, and you can attach this plant to decorations or bury it in a substrate. Fertilization is optional for the Bucephalandra, because it’s a slow growing plant. If you want to promote optimal growth, I definitely recommend adding fertilizer. Keep this greenery in a temperature range of 71- 80 degrees.
On the whole, you won’t have to do much to flower or grow this species. Basic care and maintenance is all that is required by the Bucephalandra.
Aponogetons are another great flowering plant for beginners. They are easy to care for and will produce flower buds on the surface of your tank water with minimal effort.
Aponogetons grows in almost any condition and climate. They actually have an even larger temperature range than the Anubias and can be placed in water between 64 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. However, make sure you have a big enough tank for your plant. Most Aponogetons will need twenty gallons at minimum to live in. They grow pretty big.
Lighting requirements are on the low end, as a little light will go a long way for this plant. It’s a big plant that relies on its roots to suck up nutrients, and therefore adding some root tabs is the right way to go. Any type of substrate can help root your Aponogeton down.
Really, the only issue you might encounter with this plant is overgrowth. Aponogetons grow rapidly with very little care. So you’ll want to prune your plant often to keep it under control.
Overall, the Aponogetons are large but simple plants that thrive in many tank setups. They are an ideal flowering plant!
6. Amazon Swords (Echinodorus grisebachii)
Amazon Swords are a robust plant. They will grow in a number of aquarium conditions without issue. Temperature requirements are loose, so you can put your Amazon in waters anywhere from 60 degrees to 82 degrees. The adaptability of this plant is a plus, as you can fit this flora in with almost any kind of fish.
However, know that the Amazon will not flower fast. It’s easy to take care of this plant, but it takes a long time to produce a flower from this species. To maximize your chances of flowering, give it plenty of light at high volumes.
Amazon Swords need a lot of light, to begin with, so this won’t harm your plant. I would also recommend putting fertilizer and a good substrate in your tank for the best results. Rooting your plant is important. This way it can grow to its full potential.
Just ensure that your tank is large enough. Amazon swords get pretty big. You won’t need a massive tank, but ten gallons is required at a minimum.
7. Giant Hygro (Hygrophila corymbosa)
Giant Hydro is the last flowering plant we will discuss in this list. The Hydro, also known as a Temple plant, requires straightforward care. It grows much faster than the Amazon Sword and has a colorful purple blossom which extends above the water.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to make this plant bloom. Just give it a moderate amount of light, and keep it in relatively warm water to maintain healthy growth. Water temperatures between 72 to 84 degrees is best for this plant. Fertilizer and CO2 can also be injected to speed up the flowering process.
Hydro aren’t massive, but they do grow tall. Sometimes, they can grow up to two feet! Considering this, a taller tank with gravel is preferable for this species. The gravel will keep your plant well anchored as it grows upward towards the top of your aquarium!
My Favorite Fishtank Products to Make Life Easier
Over the years I’ve found a variety of products that make the fish keeping life so much easier. Whenever someone asks me what products I recommend buying, these are the first 5 items that come to mind. I’ll briefly list them below and state why I love them so much. I’m 100% sure you’ll love them!
1. A good gravel vacuum; Without a gravel vacuum, cleaning the substrate of your tanks is near impossible. Whenever I want to remove some of the sunken detritus from the bottom of my tank I’m happy I’ve got one of these. They’re available here on Amazon.
2. Liquid plant fertilizer; It’s no secret that I do not like nutritious aqua-soil. It makes a mess and only works a given amount of time. Instead, I always use a liquid aquarium plant fertilizer. Everyone who keeps live plants needs it, it’s not that expensive and makes your plants grow better. This is the one I use and recommend.
3. A set of aquascape tools; I love keeping plants, but planting and reorganizing my aquarium was difficult until I got a set of these tools. It’s much easier to plant any kind of plant compared to using my thick fingers. They’re also available here on Amazon.
4. Good but affordable LED lights; Quality LED lighting can be expensive and is dominated by brands such as Fluval and Kessil. I can not afford to pay that much for lighting, which is why I was so excited when I found this cheaper alternative. I’ve got 2 of these freshwater Asta 120 lights and one smaller Asta 20 light.
5. A liquid-based water test kit; ever since I’m able to accurately test my water parameters, keeping fish became less stressful. Before I was always stressed that my water parameters were wrong, but using a kit such as the API Master kit, which is available here on Amazon, I can measure this. It really is essential to successful fishkeeping.
You might have additional questions about Aquarium plants that flower. I’ll talk about some other related information in this last section of the post.
Many tank owners wonder how big their aquarium should be. At a minimum, you want a tank that is at least ten gallons. This will help your plant growth to its full height, and help flowers bloom on your plant. Some flora, like the Anubias, can survive in a smaller five-gallon tank. But personally, I think a bigger tank should be used.
Another common question people ask is how long it takes for flowers to bloom. This depends entirely on the species of plant you have. Fertilizers, CO2, and proper water conditions can speed up the process though. So make sure you are taking care of your plant well if you want it to flower faster!