Water hedge Guide

Water hedge
Plant Characteristics
Latin Name Alternanthera reineckii Mini
Family Amarathaceae
Plant Type submersed and emersed
Growth moderate
Optimal Temperatures 63 - 77 °F
17 - 25 °C
Height 1.97 - 11.81 in
5 - 30 cm
Care medium
Co2 needed must
Placement foreground and middle ground

General Information

Water hedge (Alternanthera reineckii Mini) is a submersed and emersed stem plant that originates in South America and grows on the banks of rivers that flood periodically. It is one of the few plants in the amarathaceae family that can grow submersed.

Alternanthera reneckii mini is a dwarf form of A. reineckii and is very popular in aquascaping for its bright red color and compact, bushy form. Water hedge is suitable for all tanks and can be placed in the foreground and middle ground. Its leaves are oblong and elliptic with a light red to red (upper side) and a deep purple (under side) color. It is one of the few red foreground plants, but the exact shade of the leaves highly depends on lighting and nutrients in your tank.

It can grow from 5 to 30 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 Water hedge

Water hedge is a stem plant, which means it needs to be planted in soil. It is best placed deep into soil with the help of tweezers while making sure that at least 2-3 cm of the plant remain visible.

Where to place Water hedge

Due to its medium size of maximum 30 cm, Water hedge is best suited as a foreground and middle ground plant and can be used in all tanks from nano size upwards.

The step-by-step process to plant Water hedge

  1. Before beginning, make sure the aquarium is not filled with water yet, but the soil is wet.
  2. Most likely the Water hedge will arrive in an in-vitro container or cup. Carefully remove the plant from the container and wash the plant under fresh and unchlorinated water until all of the nutrient paste or gel is removed.
  3. Carefully break up the plant mass into small batches using your hands.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

How to grow Water hedge fast

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

  • Adding CO² to your tank: A. Reineckii mini needs CO² injection in order to thrive in your tank.
  • Add nutrients to your tank: In order to support a healthy and longterm growth, A. Reineckii mini needs a consistent level of nutrients. Otherwise the leaves can turn brown and slowly rot away. It’s therefore best to plant it in soil-based substrate.
  • Choose the right spot: To grow well, A. Reineckii mini needs the right amount of light and sufficient distance from other plants, so it doesn’t have to compete for nutrients. Check the table in the top right to determine the exact light requirements.

How to propagate Water hedge

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 Water hedge

  • Yellow Leaves: In case the leaves on Water hedge 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 Water hedge 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.
  • Algae-covered/twisted leaves: A. Reineckii doesn’t like to be replanted often, it can react with decreasing health, rotting leaves and being more prone to algae