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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have mature sword plants (close to max height range, have flowers on them, etc.) that were potted and grown emersed. I am keeping them submersed so I am of course expecting the typical die off of leaves and transition period that happens when changing a plant from emersed to submersed growth.

My question is whether it would be beneficial or advisable to trim the plant back significantly at the start or should I just wait for leaves to start dying off and then prune them then?
 

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If you trim off all the leaves, then I believe that the plant will most likely die. A gardener told me not to remove more than 1/3 of the total plant at a single time.

I've completely defoliated bulb plants, most notably Aponogeton madagascariensis, and it grew back with no problems. Since swords don't have that back-up energy stored in a bulb (or anywhere), I think taking off all the leaves (despite my assumption that there is healthy rootstock) will kill the plant.

The fact that it is a mature plant could help or hurt. I have heard that mature plants do not transplant as well, but if the rootstock is large and mature, then I would expect the plant to be able to resist more shock—maybe remove a leaf or two each day, and “leaf” one for good luck.

Another factor: Echinodorus sp. are in the Alismataceae. We have a few of species of those native to south Florida, and I know that they are well adapted to being flooded. If it were me, I would just put it underwater and let it be. Maybe you or another knows that the leaves will die off on their own. I do not know that, and I would experiment to see if the plant was able to make those leaves work underwater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you trim off all the leaves, then I believe that the plant will most likely die. A gardener told me not to remove more than 1/3 of the total plant at a single time.

I've completely defoliated bulb plants, most notably Aponogeton madagascariensis, and it grew back with no problems. Since swords don't have that back-up energy stored in a bulb (or anywhere), I think taking off all the leaves (despite my assumption that there is healthy rootstock) will kill the plant.

The fact that it is a mature plant could help or hurt. I have heard that mature plants do not transplant as well, but if the rootstock is large and mature, then I would expect the plant to be able to resist more shock—maybe remove a leaf or two each day, and “leaf” one for good luck.

Another factor: Echinodorus sp. are in the Alismataceae. We have a few of species of those native to south Florida, and I know that they are well adapted to being flooded. If it were me, I would just put it underwater and let it be. Maybe you or another knows that the leaves will die off on their own. I do not know that, and I would experiment to see if the plant was able to make those leaves work underwater.
Thanks for the input.

I never planned to trim all of the leaves off (for obvious reasons). There was a large root mass with all of the plants (boy was trying to cut out the plastic pot from inside of the root ball fun) so I am not worried about the plant dying but was just curious if there were tips or tricks for dealing with more mature plants (most of the stuff that we buy or trade is much smaller/younger).
 
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