Planting depth - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 136
Planting depth

Like most newcomers to the site, I am pretty new to planted tanks. I've read up a lot on the various factors with live plants, and one topic that typically isn't covered is how deep to plant various species into the ground.

Is there a general rule of thumb? Do you usually plant based on how long the roots are? If you have a sand on top of your substrate, are you supposed get roots down into the substrate? I have about 2 inches of flourite with about 0.5 inches of black sand on top (yes, I was told the sand will eventually settle below the substrate). Are there any special exceptions for specific species?

I ask because of the a response to a recent post of mine, where I was told I planted my brazilian sword (we think that's what it is) too deep, because I wanted to make sure I got the roots near the substrate: ID Plant Please
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 07:45 PM
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Planting depth depends on the type of plant but there are a few basics that can be generally applied:

Rhizomes like anubias and java fern tend to do best mounted on rock or driftwood to ensure the rhizome isn't buried but it is possible to plant them directly in the substrate so long as only the roots are buried and the rhizome is only laying on, not in, the substrate.

Plants with discreet root zones--most often those that form a rosette of leaves like swords, crypts, some vals, etc--should be planted so that the line of demarkation between the roots and green leaves or stem are right at or only *just* below the surface. If you bury it too deeply, the leaves will rot. If you're using planting tweezers, it helps to hold the tweezers vertically aligned so the tips are at the end of the roots and much of the root system as possible is held wthin the body of the tweezer so they are inserted vertically into the substrate. Sturdy specimens can be initially pushed deeply into the substrate then pulled back up to level--but you run the risk of injuring the plant and this can disorder layered substrates.

Stems that do not have discreet root zones and will generate roots at any node can be planted as deeply as needed to hold firm. Roots will grow along the buried portion though care must be taken not to injure the stem in the process. Often the stem is crushed or creased at the level of the substrate resulting in the root mass rotting and the stem ultimately floating free again.
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