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My Experience with the Crinum Calamistrum

Updated on December 18, 2014
The Crinum calamistrum is seen on the right side of the driftwood. Notice it's long slender leaves reaching up to the surface.
The Crinum calamistrum is seen on the right side of the driftwood. Notice it's long slender leaves reaching up to the surface. | Source

The Onion Plant

Crinum calamistrum is one of the three plants,commonly known as the ‘Onion’ plants (Crinum thianum and Crinum natans make up the other two), a name they got from the onion-shaped bulb where the plant stores all it’s nutrients and from where all leaves sprout up.

Originally from Thailand, the leaves of these plants grow quite long,sometimes exceeding over 3 ft. I was especially attracted to the C.calamistrum, given it’s long slender ‘rippled’ leaves, that almost give an appearance of an Octopus’s slender arms complete with the suckers.

My experience with C.calamistrum

I knew it was a difficult plant to grow, having read that it requires its own space and a tall tank (mine was 30 inches tall). The placement had to be below the light as this plant does well under bright lighting conditions. I had an Aquazonic T-5 fixture with 4 x 54W tubes. The tank had pressurized CO2 supply and I used to do weekly water changes,supplemented with liquid fertilizers (I use the ADA Green Brighty series).

Within 2 weeks of planting, I noticed that the plant was responding well to it’s new surroundings and the leaves started becoming longer and a darker shade of green than before. Within a month, the leaves had reached the surface.

I found the Crinum calamistrum to be quite undemanding and an easy plant to take care of. No fish bothered it, I had read that they are quite distasteful to fish and are therefore left alone. I can vouch for that as no fish bothered it,though being a planted tank, I had also taken special care in selecting the fish that go in it.

Crinum calamistrum is not as commonly found in the trade as the C.thianum and C.natans and if you do come across one,do pick it up.

Some other stats

Max Height : 120 cms

Lighting : Moderate to Bright

Temperature : 22 C to 30C

CO2 : Not necessary,but does well with it

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