Just bought Java Ferns from Petco... not sure what to do

saddlebagsoph

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I just purchased two Java ferns today from Petco and when I removed them from the containers to tie them to my driftwood I noticed the plants are actually just a few leaves tied together with thread. They look very healthy but just don't seem to be anything more than a few leaves tied together. I was wondering before planting them, should I remove the thread?

It looks like if I remove it the bundle of leaves will fall apart since it doesn't look like a real, whole plant.

Also if I were to remove the thread and the leaves fall apart could I plant them all separately or should I still plant them as a full plant?
 

AquaCaitlin

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Do you have a picture?
The java ferns I’ve bought from petco have always come in those tubes with full roots so a picture would help me see what you’re trying to explain :)
 

Flyfisha

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Hi saddlebagsoph,
a common trick that one . It’s really shocking what some people will do to make a buck.
The good news is with time and a bit of luck every single leaf has the possibility of growing a Horizontal above ground root . Each leaf can be glued or tied to wood etc but it will be a long time before you see much growth so a few leaves together might look better?

Small plants grow on the ends of leaves as well and each one of those will be a plant as well.

The most important thing is that the leaf gets to know which way is up. Letting these leaves float around will mean the poor plant is growing roots down one day and then it’s upside down and trying to grow the other way.

Perhaps groups of 4 leaves will give the appearance of a plant ?

Here is a dirty snapshot of java fern bits tied to a spare sucker .
 

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YellowGuppy

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That's how I got mine as well. They looked pretty good for the first week or two, then gradually started to worsen. BUT, in doing so, after a few months, they sprouted like 30-40 baby Java ferns per bundle! It was disappointing at first, but now I have a seemingly unlimited supply of java ferns.

They don't look great right now, but in another few months I'll have as many as I want, and will have made back way more than my original investment by selling the babies at $1/piece.
 

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saddlebagsoph

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Thanks guys! I guess I will have to be patient with them. At least they look healthy right now. Is there a specific fertilizer you would recommend? This is the first time I am trying live plants in my tank.
 

YellowGuppy

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You don't need anything specific—fish poop works wonders. You certainly CAN fertilize, but for Java ferns you shouldn't need to. If you want to go that route, any water column fert would work (i.e. not root tabs). Be sure to read up on your ferns, if you haven't so already—they aren't "planted" as most plants are; if their rhizome is below the substrate, they'll rot and die.
 

-Mak-

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saddlebagsoph said:
Thanks guys! I guess I will have to be patient with them. At least they look healthy right now. Is there a specific fertilizer you would recommend? This is the first time I am trying live plants in my tank.
Personally I always fertilize. With a lighter plant mass you can go with a low tech fertilizer like Nilcog ThriveC :)
 

Bonkers

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Flyfisha said:
Hi saddlebagsoph,
a common trick that one . It’s really shocking what some people will do to make a buck.
The good news is with time and a bit of luck every single leaf has the possibility of growing a Horizontal above ground root . Each leaf can be glued or tied to wood etc but it will be a long time before you see much growth so a few leaves together might look better?

Small plants grow on the ends of leaves as well and each one of those will be a plant as well.

The most important thing is that the leaf gets to know which way is up. Letting these leaves float around will mean the poor plant is growing roots down one day and then it’s upside down and trying to grow the other way.

Perhaps groups of 4 leaves will give the appearance of a plant ?

Here is a dirty snapshot of java fern bits tied to a spare sucker .
YellowGuppy said:
That's how I got mine as well. They looked pretty good for the first week or two, then gradually started to worsen. BUT, in doing so, after a few months, they sprouted like 30-40 baby Java ferns per bundle! It was disappointing at first, but now I have a seemingly unlimited supply of java ferns.

They don't look great right now, but in another few months I'll have as many as I want, and will have made back way more than my original investment by selling the babies at $1/piece.
Why are my stems so long compared to other pics? Also do the roots need to be closer to the wood or is that ok?
 

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YellowGuppy

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The roots are there for structural support—you don't have to worry about where they are unless you don't have the plant tied where you want it. The stem length is likely just a question of the size of the leaf—it might also be a clue as to a particular variety of Java fern that you have, though I'm certainly no expert about that.
 

Flyfisha

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Java fern is the name given to a handful of plants with different leaf shapes and sizes. My profile picture has narrow leaf Java fern in it . There’s a very good chance that you have the giant leaf variety just looking at the picture? That all looks good from what I can see.
 

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