Stem plant problems rotting at base.

Davidh9054

I don’t know why every time I plant stem plants into the gravel the base of the stems almost always wind up rotting. It happened to me with the wisteria I have so I just gave up on it and floated it (its doing great now as a floater BTW). I got some ludwigia a few weeks ago and planted it on the substrate and like the wisteria it’s starting to rot at the base of the stems. I add root tabs and liquid fertilizer. Really don’t want to float this plant as I love the way they look when clumped together like a bush.
 

nj278

I'm definitely no plant expert, but my dad has a degree in horticulture and I have spent most of the day tending to my plants, both aquatic and terrestrial.

What substrate do you have? Is there anything tied around the rotting stems to weigh them down (eg. lead)?

Upon researching, people seem to think that issues may be not enough nutrients (shouldn't be a problem for you), low N (any idea what your nitrate levels are?), low CO2, and low light. Any of these jumping out as being obvious answers? Some people seem to have luck if they let the stem grow some roots and then plant it, suggesting that it's an issue with nutrient uptake from the stem, perhaps due to poor cutting or similar.
 

bored411

ludwigia was very picky for me. I had a bunch that rotted at the stem and worked its way up but I got better lighting and cut the stems right by a leaf node, then plucked off two "levels" of leaves and replanted it and now it's doing well. You could also float it for a few days until the roots grow out a bit and replant it. I know you said you didn't wish to do that but if it's only for a little bit, you should still be able to plant it and get the bunch you'd like.

If there's anything holding it down, it's possible you damaged the stems (I've done this by using a lead weight and pinching it too tightly). There's also the question as to if these were shipped or grown emersed (out of water) which could also attribute to rotting. only other thing is as nj278 mentioned, a lack of nutrients (algae taking it all, other plants taking it all, etc). others might have a better idea than me though, and more specifics on how to fix it.
 

Davidh9054

I'm definitely no plant expert, but my dad has a degree in horticulture and I have spent most of the day tending to my plants, both aquatic and terrestrial.

What substrate do you have? Is there anything tied around the rotting stems to weigh them down (eg. lead)?

Upon researching, people seem to think that issues may be not enough nutrients (shouldn't be a problem for you), low N (any idea what your nitrate levels are?), low CO2, and low light. Any of these jumping out as being obvious answers? Some people seem to have luck if they let the stem grow some roots and then plant it, suggesting that it's an issue with nutrient uptake from the stem, perhaps due to poor cutting or similar.
I have gravel but every other month or so I put in seachem root tabs. My nitrates should be anywhere from 10-20ppm. I don’t run co2 in the tank and I don’t think light would be the issue. I run a FluvalSmart aqua sky and a marine land strip led as well. I don’t have them weighed down but I do have a rubber band loosely hold them together. I cut off about an inch or two from the stem before I planted them.
ludwigia was very picky for me. I had a bunch that rotted at the stem and worked its way up but I got better lighting and cut the stems right by a leaf node, then plucked off two "levels" of leaves and replanted it and now it's doing well. You could also float it for a few days until the roots grow out a bit and replant it. I know you said you didn't wish to do that but if it's only for a little bit, you should still be able to plant it and get the bunch you'd like.

If there's anything holding it down, it's possible you damaged the stems (I've done this by using a lead weight and pinching it too tightly). There's also the question as to if these were shipped or grown emersed (out of water) which could also attribute to rotting. only other thing is as nj278 mentioned, a lack of nutrients (algae taking it all, other plants taking it all, etc). others might have a better idea than me though, and more specifics on how to fix it.
I will try and cut it off and pluck some leaves off to se how it will do. I don’t really have any algae that I can see anyway. I dose liquid nutrients about every other day and root tabs about every other month or so and I also have plenty of fish in the tank that produce waste I usually gravel vac every other water change or every 2 weeks.
 

KrissyBunnie

I just recently learned that you're actually not supposed to bury most aquatic plants, the rhizomes need to be exposed.

I accidentally buried a couple Java ferns and an anubias, and a week later I learned about not burying. As I brought them up, the gravel that they were submerged in had already stuck to the rhizomes, so the plans are now weighed down and above the gravel.

I'm not saying I recommend that method, but it seems to have worked for me.
I know some people use aquarium safe glue as well, and attach it to Driftwood or rocks
 

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gray_matter16

I just recently learned that you're actually not supposed to bury most aquatic plants, the rhizomes need to be exposed.
I wouldn't say 'most', but definitely agree when it comes to plants that have rhizomes like your java fern and anubias. Not all plants have rhizomes though. Some popular plants, like swords and crypts, won't do well at all unless they are deeply planted in a good nutrient rich substrate.

I don’t know why every time I plant stem plants into the gravel the base of the stems almost always wind up rotting. It happened to me with the wisteria I have so I just gave up on it and floated it (its doing great now as a floater BTW). I got some ludwigia a few weeks ago and planted it on the substrate and like the wisteria it’s starting to rot at the base of the stems. I add root tabs and liquid fertilizer. Really don’t want to float this plant as I love the way they look when clumped together like a bush.
Neither of these plants are very root heavy plants. Both are going to get the majority of their nutrients from the water column, so I wouldn't focus too much on using root tabs. That being said, there are tons of low tech tanks that can grow these in the gravel bunched together. So I tend to lean to the ideas that they were grown emersed previously and are transitioning to their aquatic state. Or that you may have damaged the stems while planting by pinching too hard
 

Fisch

It is interesting how stem plants work different for everybody.
I am not sure if holding them together with a rubber band is ideal as it would crowd the stems. With water wisteria I had the problem as well that I could not get them to root by planting. So I ended up stripping off a couple of the leaves around the end, loosely wrapped a plant weight around the stem ~1 inch above the end, and dropped it in the tank.
Worked like a charm. When rooted well I can remove the weight.
Just another idea, hope one of the tips will work out for you. Good luck.
 

Fishstery

I second the other member floating it for a little bit to let it grow some roots. Ludwigia is finicky about the substrate. If your gravel is large grained then that's the issue. Ludwigia prefers a fine grain to anchor in to. I would also undo the rubber band and plant the individual stems a half in to inch apart to avoid crowding. Ludwigia seems to have a harder time transitioning and melts off somewhat until it establishes itself, my only experience with it is in a high light rich co2 injected tank with aquasoil and I lost a little bit of stem on a few pieces at first.
 

Fishnturtleguy933

I definitely recommend floating for a few days as stated above by a few others. The first time i tried i just planted them right into some sand thinking it would be fine and after a while my plants melted completely from rotting at the base. After a second attempt i floated some ludwigia rubin to grow some roots. After the roots grew i planted it back in the sand and have had no issues growing it. I'm floating some ludwigia natans super red and ludwigia repens right now as well till they are ready to be planted.
 

Davidh9054

I wouldn't say 'most', but definitely agree when it comes to plants that have rhizomes like your java fern and anubias. Not all plants have rhizomes though. Some popular plants, like swords and crypts, won't do well at all unless they are deeply planted in a good nutrient rich substrate.


Neither of these plants are very root heavy plants. Both are going to get the majority of their nutrients from the water column, so I wouldn't focus too much on using root tabs. That being said, there are tons of low tech tanks that can grow these in the gravel bunched together. So I tend to lean to the ideas that they were grown emersed previously and are transitioning to their aquatic state. Or that you may have damaged the stems while planting by pinching too hard
It is interesting how stem plants work different for everybody.
I am not sure if holding them together with a rubber band is ideal as it would crowd the stems. With water wisteria I had the problem as well that I could not get them to root by planting. So I ended up stripping off a couple of the leaves around the end, loosely wrapped a plant weight around the stem ~1 inch above the end, and dropped it in the tank.
Worked like a charm. When rooted well I can remove the weight.
Just another idea, hope one of the tips will work out for you. Good luck.
I second the other member floating it for a little bit to let it grow some roots. Ludwigia is finicky about the substrate. If your gravel is large grained then that's the issue. Ludwigia prefers a fine grain to anchor in to. I would also undo the rubber band and plant the individual stems a half in to inch apart to avoid crowding. Ludwigia seems to have a harder time transitioning and melts off somewhat until it establishes itself, my only experience with it is in a high light rich co2 injected tank with aquasoil and I lost a little bit of stem on a few pieces at first.
I definitely recommend floating for a few days as stated above by a few others. The first time i tried i just planted them right into some sand thinking it would be fine and after a while my plants melted completely from rotting at the base. After a second attempt i floated some ludwigia rubin to grow some roots. After the roots grew i planted it back in the sand and have had no issues growing it. I'm floating some ludwigia natans super red and ludwigia repens right now as well till they are ready to be planted.
Thanks everyone for your help I guess I’m going to just float them for a while until they start to root. I just didn’t want to float them because they start to curl and bend towards the light but if I have to do it is what it is. I’d rather that than loose the whole plants al together. Now I had planted a second bunch as well the same way but those haven’t been uprooted. Should I remove them from the gravel and remove the rubber band and float them as well or leave them alone? They were planted at the same time as the bunch that is rotting at the base.
 

Fishnturtleguy933

Thanks everyone for your help I guess I’m going to just float them for a while until they start to root. I just didn’t want to float them because they start to curl and bend towards the light but if I have to do it is what it is. I’d rather that than loose the whole plants al together. Now I had planted a second bunch as well the same way but those haven’t been uprooted. Should I remove them from the gravel and remove the rubber band and float them as well or leave them alone? They were planted at the same time as the bunch that is rotting at the base.
I was worried about the bend my self but after they are planted they will straighten out and grow towards the light. All of my stems have done this. If the others are not uprooted the might have roots all ready. I would leave them and monitor for new growth.
 

Fisch

If there is no rotting you could just leave them alone. Perhaps when everything goes well, dig a bit into the substrate and cut the rubber band.
 

Davidh9054

If there is no rotting you could just leave them alone. Perhaps when everything goes well, dig a bit into the substrate and cut the rubber band.
I was worried about the bend my self but after they are planted they will straighten out and grow towards the light. All of my stems have done this. If the others are not uprooted the might have roots all ready. I would leave them and monitor for new growth.
I was looking at them now while I was cutting the rotted ends off of the ones I floated and I can kind of see they are getting darker at the base well one of the stems look darker. I’m probably just going to wait till Friday or Saturday when I do my water change and cut off the rubber band. The only issue now is that I noticed my corys have taken a liking to the spot where the bunch got uprooted from :confused:. That’s probably why it uprooted to begin with apart from rotting as well.
 

Fisch

Yes, the Cories are relentless....little buggers.
The Cories will get used to it again after the replanting :)
 

Fishstery

Thanks everyone for your help I guess I’m going to just float them for a while until they start to root. I just didn’t want to float them because they start to curl and bend towards the light but if I have to do it is what it is. I’d rather that than loose the whole plants al together. Now I had planted a second bunch as well the same way but those haven’t been uprooted. Should I remove them from the gravel and remove the rubber band and float them as well or leave them alone? They were planted at the same time as the bunch that is rotting at the base.
Plants naturally grow towards the light. They will grow curved but when you replant them later they will quickly straighten out towards the light. I would remove the other bunch before your next water change and try floating them all
 

Davidh9054

Plants naturally grow towards the light. They will grow curved but when you replant them later they will quickly straighten out towards the light. I would remove the other bunch before your next water change and try floating them all
I will do it today after I get out of work. You think they would have any roots by Saturday? Or should I let them float till next weeks water change? I usually do my water changes every Friday or Saturday.
 

Fishstery

I will do it today after I get out of work. You think they would have any roots by Saturday? Or should I let them float till next weeks water change? I usually do my water changes every Friday or Saturday.
Let them float until a couple roots grow on each stem and plant them as it happens. I can't give you an answer on how quickly that will happen it depends on your lighting and setup. It won't happen in a couple of days though.
 

Davidh9054

Let them float until a couple roots grow on each stem and plant them as it happens. I can't give you an answer on how quickly that will happen it depends on your lighting and setup. It won't happen in a couple of days though.
Ok I will probably just leave them floating till next week and see how they are. And when I do go plant them should I try and like dig a hole to plant them or poke them in the substrate, it’s kind of hard to poke them through because the substrate is gravel.
 

Clarity

Ok I will probably just leave them floating till next week and see how they are. And when I do go plant them should I try and like dig a hole to plant them or poke them in the substrate, it’s kind of hard to poke them through because the substrate is gravel.
Make a little crater for them then sort of wiggle them in a tiny bit more then fill the crater back in with the gravel again. That's how I usually plant if it's in gravel and not sand
 

Thunder_o_b

Bunch plants are bunched for sale. Separate the stems and plant hem individually. Strip the leafs of two nodes and plant.
 

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