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I think it depends on the stems that you get. Mine is under 175w MH, ferts, and co2 and its as green as can be with very little purple detectable under the leaves. Someone with some red ones want to trade to see if I can turn yours green or if you can turn mine red? Id be more than happy to do this experiment.
 

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I think it depends on the stems that you get. Mine is under 175w MH, ferts, and co2 and its as green as can be with very little purple detectable under the leaves. Someone with some red ones want to trade to see if I can turn yours green or if you can turn mine red? Id be more than happy to do this experiment.
how long do you keep your lights on for?
 

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Newbie L. Aromatica Grower - all pointers welcome!

I just started trying to grow this plant for culinary use. I don't have fish, don't plan to, but I have been trying to learn to grow this plant for quite a couple of months. I have tried to find other growers on various grower lists to which I subscribe, but am having no luck finding such. When researching growing tips, I found this forum and several others where the plant is discussed as an aquarium plant. So, I'd like to respectfully ask a few questions.

I am a professional grower and one of our specialties is growing for our customers things that not everybody else grows. I have chefs interested in this crop so decided I'd try to grow it. First problem I had was finding a source for the plant (in hindsight, guess I should've tried the aquarium plant sources), but I finally found one and bought 6 plants in 2” pots. I had heard they love heat and moisture, so since I have received them they have lived in my germination shed under lights. They get 12 hours of light a day from 4 Phillips F40T12/C50 light bars like these. I noticed within a week or so of receiving them, some of the older leaves started drying up and turning brown on each of the 6 plants. I up-potted them into 4” pots of potting soil, and this continued. I thought maybe lack of heat or moisture was contributing, so I put more water in their watering trays. Those 4” pots now sit in about 3 inches of water constantly. The leaf browning continues. The new growth on the upper part of the plant all looks great, but most of the leaves on about the lower half of each plant stem starts browning from the outside in. Of course in most crops this can be a sign of not enough water, although the greenness of the leaves furthest from the roots at the top does not support this. So at this point I'm not sure what the problem is. If anything sticks out according to what I've said so far, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


In researching tips for growing this new (to us) crop, I found this forum and decided maybe they aren't staying wet enough and why not try to grow one as a test in an aquarium? I have located a used 20G aquarium, filter, pump, light bar, and gravel. Once I have everything cleaned and disinfected, I'm going to plant one of the plants in the aquarium gravel and then fill it with water and see what happens. I live in NE TX, and summer is upon us, so the daily temps will be in the Fahrenheit 90's moving over 100 within a few weeks, low in the 70's at night. I plan for this aquarium to be outside, so I intend to utilize the sun, not the aquarium lights.


I had a freshwater tank growing up and am not unfamiliar with aquariums, but this is my first attempt to use one to grow a plant crop. I have read this helpful discussion and others. Are their any words of caution you would give me before I try this experiment? Is pH and/or chlorine a problem for this plant, for instance? Is just plain aquarium gravel okay as a planting medium? Also, since I won't have fish in with it, what do you suggest as a fertilizer? I grow organically, so I keep on hand fish extraction and/or emulsion and seaweed as general fertilizers, but I'm willing to source others if needed. I am not so much concerned with the color of the foliage so much as the flavor. I believe my chefs are looking for it to be delivered green, but they are most concerned with flavor and quality of the leaves and have probably never seen it any other color.


It sounds from reading this thread that the plant is pretty hardy in the aquarium, but if it is particularly sensitive about one or more aspects, I'd like to find out before I unnecessarily kill it.


Best regards from a hopeful limnophila aromatica newbie,
Laurie
 

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Algae will definitely be a problem in full sunlight. I'm not sure how much algae a very robust cleanup crew can eat around the clock, but that might be a partial solution to your algae problem.

I wonder if you grow them submersed and they reach the water line of the tank will they then grow above the water line to a good height in an attempt to reach the light. If so, you might get something edible from whatever is growing above the water line. Purely theoretical at this point. More experienced growers should be along soon hopefully.
 

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Timwag2001, thanks for your feedback. This is exactly the type of feedback I'm looking for. At this point, there are many more things I DON'T know about growing this than things I do know about it. Gotta start somewhere.

Guess I'll 86 the idea of growing in the sunlight and find a shadier area, as you both seem confident algae will be a big problem with direct sun.

Tuffgong, thanks to you as well for your feedback. I'll assume at this point that algae eaters won't be able to keep up with algae production of the sun but will keep that idea in mind. I'm inferring from your posts that you believe the part growing under water will be inedible, right? Why so? I'm sure this is a really stupid question, but it'd help if you spelled it out for me, please.
 

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I was operating under the assumption of the sun as your main light source. If you used sunlight I believe your algae problems would only occur below the water line thus making that part inedible. If you switch artificial light then the submersed portion of the plant could very well be edible also.

One thing to consider is if you harvest the tops only you can just regrow and trim. No need to replant.
 

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If you are growing this plant to harvest it as an herb, your best bet is to grow it what we call "emersed", which means the plant is growing in only a few inches of water that covers the roots and base of the plant. It is a bog plant in Asia, like what we call 'marginal' pond plants.

You can have it planted in a pot or container with nutrient rich soil, and in shallow water you shouldn't have to worry much about algae. Above water it does not require as intensive light as it would under water, but the air will dry up the leaves quickly, so it would need to be inside a sealed container, or be covered in plastic to keep the air inside very humid. Moisture will build up inside the enclosure and fall back on the plant,same principal as a terrarium. If you do a google search for greenhouse supplies, you will find growing trays and plastic dome lids of different heights which would work just fine. You will still need to add water and mist the plants once a week, every two weeks, or whatever, but it would be much less often than if you were just growing them out in the open.

Growth is much faster above water that below water. The plants also flower above water. There are two growth forms of this plant. One has small roundish leaves, the other long narrow leaves. Both forms also have a different shape underwater than they do above water. My guess would be that what is used as an herb is the thicker more fleshy leaves that grow above water, so that would be another reason why emersed growing may be more to your liking.
 

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Tuffgong, thanks for the feedback. That makes perfect sense about sun and the underwater part having algae. I will look into the hydroponics aspect as well. I had read earlier in this thread about propagating the plant by cutting and replanting the tops, very cool.

Robert H, thanks so much for your insight. I don't have a lot of plant stock to work with yet, but looks like I'll be trying several scenarios, none of which will involve sunlight since that now sounds like a really bad idea. I have a 10G and 20HG aquarium. I will be putting one of those under lights with a plant of two emersed in a few of inches of water as you suggested.

One logistical question on this, though. If I'm not misreading your post, you're saying I could put one of my potted plants in the aquarium, add enough water to cover the roots and base, run a pump continuously for circulation and run the lights some amount of time each day (will start with 8 hrs and may have to play with that some depending on how the plant does unless somebody chimes in and already knows the answer.) What keeps the soil from just making a big mess in the water, in other words, what keeps it in the pot? Or do I care? The plants are in just a good basic potting soil, so it's pretty loose. Cannot think offhand of any medium that wouldn't just mix up with the water. What am I missing?

I also might try planting a plant near the shore of my irrigation pond, again unless somebody tells me that is a really bad idea. If I plant it a few inches in of the water line far enough back from where I think the water line will drop the lowest this summer, I can maybe reproduce the bog you describe. Algae grows like nobody's business in the pond so the submerged part of the plant will have it, but the above water part where I harvest should be fine.

I realize in both the aquarium and pond configurations, I'll have to create that terrarium effect you described. Not a problem in the aquarium, as I already have domes that should work. I'll have to think about how to do that with the pond planting. At least I now know that the reason the leaves are browning and curling up in my germination shed is they aren't staying moist enough.

Your comments about above water leaf characteristics versus below water make perfect sense. I was able to verify with one of my chefs yesterday that this is the herb she is in the market for. I think ours have the small, roundish leaves.

Again, thanks to you both for all your help so far. What I know about this plant obviously fits in a very small space, so your help is very much appreciated.
 

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Safe temp range for L. aromatica?

I've followed jman's advice and am in the process of setting up a 20G tank to grow L.a. emersed. The ideal location for this tank from a convenience standpoint is in my garage. Unfortunately, August came to NE TX in May this year. Using a digital max/min thermometer/hygrometer, I'm getting max readings of 107 dFahrenheit/75% humidity without lights and 110 dF/75% with lights. This is a covered empty tank with a couple gallons water, no plants yet. Pretty sure that's too hot for this plant, but cannot find what IS a good temp range to make this guy happy. I'm taking measurements in a room within the a/c'ed house, but was wondering what others thought was a good temp range and what humidity do I need to be shooting for? Thanks in advance...you guys have been a great help so far.
 

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Thanks for the tip, chad320. I don't mind algae in the water. Before I read your post, I had found a place in my a/c'ed germination shed to put the tank. I've got germination lights on it 12 hours/day. Because I don't want to kill off my modest quantity of plant stock, I put one plant in the tank this morning. The tank came with a cover with a fairly large opening which I covered up but for a couple vent holes. The light bar sits on top of the other big opening. I'm getting 84 df/80% humidity so far, so we'll see how the plant likes it.

The good news is it tip propagates just as easily as you guys describe. I've successfully started 5/6 attempts so far. Now if I can just get the humidity to a level it likes, should be good to go. If I can't get good results where it is, will bring it to a room with south facing window as you suggest.

Thanks,
Laurie
 
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