I used normal gravel on my old tank, and since it was aged, the plants grew alright. Like said, if it is a foreground plant, it will not grow densely. I had swords crypts and anubius. I have swarf sag in my 28 with normal gravel, and it has been in there for months, and maybe a couple new shoots have made it up through the gravel. In my 210, my dwarf sag is nuts, nice and thick and everywhere. I replanted them both at the same time.
If you do keep the same tank and change substrate, you have to remove everything, especially since there is all the waste, etc, in the gravel.