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My Experience With Stargrass

Updated on December 18, 2014
Stargrass in strong light
Stargrass in strong light | Source

About Heteranthera zosterifolia

Stargrass is originally from Brazil and is a common plant in the aquarium trade. It is also quite popular. The only thing the hobbyist may get tired of, is the frequent trimming this plant will need as it grows really fast once conditions are optimum.

The Stargrass once the lights are out. Notice the leaves folding up.
The Stargrass once the lights are out. Notice the leaves folding up. | Source

I so liked this plant in a fellow hobbyist's planted aquarium (he had trimmed it well to form a nice compact bush), that I couldn't resist asking him for a few cuttings. At the time I was a bit surprised with the enthusiasm and speed with which he compiled with my request. It was only much later,when I myself was frequently trimming this plant from my tank and looking for similar hobbyists who would want a 'few cuttings',did I realize the real reason behind his enthusiastic response!

Jokes apart,this is one great plant for the planted tank enthusiast.

Stargrass used in the mid-ground.
Stargrass used in the mid-ground. | Source

Stargrass is a 'light-loving' plant that will grow taller and move towards the light if lighting is not adequate.The lower leaves have a tendency to fall off, if the light does not reach them. However, if the lighting is good,this plant really rewards the aquarist with it's show. With the right conditions,the plant will grow compactly,creating bushes.

I really enjoyed watching how this plants responds to light. The tank featured in the above photographs was near a window and used to get sunlight between 4p.m. and 6p.m. It was really amazing to see all the star shaped leaves facing the sun,fully opened and then close once the lights were out (see above pics).

While planting,plant the taller stems towards the back and the shorter ones in the front.

Some additional stats

Max Height : approx 24 inches if allowed to grow tall

Lighting : Bright Light

Temperature: between 24C - 30C

Can be planted via stem cuttings.

Will need frequent trimming.

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