Pogostemon helferi Guide

Pogostemon helferi
Plant Characteristics
Latin Name Pogostemon helferi
Family Lamiaceae
Plant Type submersed and emersed
Growth moderate
Optimal Temperatures 59 - 82 °F
15 - 28 °C
Height 1.97 - 5.91 in
5 - 15 cm
Care easy
Co2 needed jkio
Placement foreground and middleground

General Information

Pogostemon helferi (Pogostemon helferi) is a submersed and emersed stem plant that originates in Thailand and grows in fast flowing rivers on and in-between rocks.

In its natural habitat Pogostemnon Helferi grows completely submersed during rain season and completely emersed during fall and winter months. When emersed it grows elongated shoots with flower spikes. Pogostemon helferi is suitable for all tanks and can be placed in the foreground and middleground. Its leaves are narrow, lanceolate and curly with a lush green color. In Thailand the plant is called "little star" due to ist appearance.

It can grow from 5 to 15 cm tall. Since it has a moderate growth rate, it should be combined with either a massive quantity of other moderate-growing plants or fast-growing plants in order to prevent algae.

The following sections give an in-depth overview on how to plant, grow and propagate the plant in your tank successfully.

How to plant Pogostemon helferi

Pogostemon helferi is an epiphyte stem plant, which means it can be planted either in soil or placed on driftwood, rocks or ornaments using glue or nylon thread.

Where to place Pogostemon helferi

Due to its relatively small size of maximum 15 cm, Pogostemon helferi is best suited as a foreground and middleground plant and can be used in all tanks from nano size upwards.

The step-by-step process to plant Pogostemon helferi

Pogostemon helferi can be either planted in soil or on driftwood, ornaments and hardscape. Carefully remove the plant from its container and wash the plant under fresh and unchlorinated water.

    When planting in soil:

  1. Before beginning, make sure the aquarium is not filled with water yet, but the soil is wet.
  2. Carefully break up the plant mass into small batches using your hands.
  3. Use tweezers to pick up each small batch by the roots at an angle of approximately 45°. Be careful not to squeeze the plant too tight, otherwise you might damage the roots.
  4. Now push the plant into the soil using the tweezers in a 45° angle until only the tip of the plant is coming out of the soil. It's better to plant the plant a little too deeply than too shallowly. Otherwise, it might float to the top before roots can attach properly.
  5. After pushing the plant into the soil, don't just pull the tweezers out. Instead, pull the tweezers out in a slow and wiggling motion in order not to pull the plant with you and disturb the soil to cover the plant.

    When placing on driftwood, ornaments or hardscape:

  1. Trim the roots so that they’re no longer than 1-2 cm.
  2. Carefully break up the plant mass into small batches using your hands.
  3. Now place some fish-safe glue on a surface in you aquarium, pick up an individual plant and push its roots firmly onto the glued spot. Alternatively use some nylon thread to tie the plant onto the desired surface.

How to grow Pogostemon helferi fast

The overall growth-rate of Pogostemon helferi is moderate. There are, however, some things you can do to speed up the process further:

  • Adding CO² to your tank: CO² injection is a must when trying to grow Pogostemnon Helferi and it is best to add between 20 to 40 mg/l to ensure optimum growth.
  • Add nutrients to your tank: Pogostemnon Helferi needs to be plantent in nutrient-rich soil in order to grow healthily. Too much feritlization could hinder growth though and you should make sure to maintain low nitrate levels.
  • Choose the right spot: If you want to grow Pogostemnon Helferi as fast as possible, you will need at least 10 hours/day of medium to high lighting.

How to propagate Pogostemon helferi

Cut the plant stem minimum 3 cm from the top. Plant the stem according the steps mentioned in the "How to plant"-section.

Common problems with Pogostemon helferi

  • Yellow Leaves: In case the leaves on Pogostemon helferi turn yellow, this is a sign for lack of nutrients in the water. We suggest to check the water parameters in order to determine which fertilizer to add.
  • Melting Leaves: In case the leaves on Pogostemon helferi seem to rot or melt, this might also be a sign for lack of nutrients in the water or soil. Other reasons could be too much or too little light. In these cases, it's best to measure your tank parameters and compare them to the data in the "plant characteristic" table in the top right of this page.
  • Melting: Low lighting will usually cause Pogostemnon Helferi to slow thin or melt. If you see first signs of melting you should increase lighting immediately