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Getting Pearlweed to Grow Vertically On Purpose?

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I just finally got in the pearlweed I ordered three weeks ago to finish planting the rescape on my 20g nano. I've planted it in individual stems roughly an inch apart all along the back sides of the tank behind my driftwood.

I'm so excited to finally have all the plants in after a month of waiting & working on the tank (mostly waiting for online orders to trickle in), and pearlweed is one of the new species I've never actually tried before. The CO2 arrives tomorrow, so I'll be setting that up over the weekend so I can keep an eye on it the first day it runs.

How do I get my pearlweed go grow up, instead of turning into a carpet? The little stems seem prone to going sideways and rooting down horizontally, but I want it to form a nice, tall, fluffy bush, about 10" high, to fill in the background of the tank.

I've seen it done in pictures, but all the growing/care instructions I found online say "it can be grown both as a tall stem or as a carpet", and then proceed to tell me how to trim it flat to look like monte carlo.
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Pearl weed grows in a great big clump in every direction it can go. Hence the weed part of the name. Just hack it back when it tries to go directions you don't want it to go. Eventually it will grow up as well as out.

Honestly its not a great plant for the well manicured aquarium because of the rapid speed it grows into a giant ball of green. It is a great plant if you just need plant mass in a tank and don't want to be bothered with plants that are more fussy. I hope it works the way you want it to, but if your experience is like mine, then you will probably replace it with a more orderly plant inside of a year.
 

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I want a bit of a wild look, so I don't plan to try to manicure it too much as long as it doesn't totally take over the tank.

That said, are there other easy-to-medium plants you know of that are similarly small-leaved? It's extremely difficult sometimes to tell just how small the leaf structure is in online photos, and I'd love backup options if it doesn't work out well. I'm trying for some forced perspective in the tank, which is why I chose it.
Rotala is a good choice and definitely better mannered then pearl weed which will definitely take over any tank if left to its own devices.
 
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