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Dwarf aquarium lily only producing small leaves

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My dwarf aquarium lily (Nymphaea stellata) only seems to be producing stunted/tiny leaves instead of large ones with long stems.  I have a red tiger lotus that seems to be fine, and other plants are doing well, but this one just doesn't want to grow. 😄 It's been in there for 6 months or so, and has never really done more than in the pictures. It's a bit back in a corner, so maybe it doesn't have enough light?  Wouldn't that make the plant extend further instead of just sending up tiny leaves? I don't think it's a nutrient issue, but maybe? Do I need to nestle the bulb down in the substrate more (it got dug up by some snails and is almost on the surface)?

Any ideas as to why it's so stunted? 


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On 7/19/2021 at 8:57 AM, MDoc said:

Yeah, I've never had a problem with bulbs before, so this one stumped me as well. 

I have bought two that just didn’t grow. (Not Aquarium Coop brand) In gardening it’s not unusual to have a some that just have less vigor than they need to thrive. I usually just pull those out. 

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  • 1 month later...

I don't see any roots in the photo, so that could be the issue. It's living off the stored nutrients rather than pulling nutrients from the soil until it sets roots. They tend to root rather aggressively, so a lack of roots would tend to imply something in the tank may be nibbling on the roots as they form. My best guess would be your snails are nibbling on the roots as they form. Putting a cage of some sort around the bulb until it makes good roots might help matters. Some plastic needlepoint canvas (cheap at Walmart) could make a nice cage to go around the plant until it's got more of a chance to get established. Light and water would still get to the plant but the cage would keep the snails out.

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It's either what Gardenman said about roots, or it was undernourished when it went dormant.

Try protecting the roots, and if that doesn't make a difference try increasing fertilization. Some bulbs need a heavy duty fertilization in a separate container, which will protect new root growth while providing more nutrients. 

This should facilitate renewed growth. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had one that did the same thing - it sprouted several leaves, but I don't think it ever actually rooted. I ended up pitching it (I got it for free, so no loss I guess). I just bought a Co Op bulb, and it sprouted two days after I put it in there, so I'm pretty sure I just had a bad bulb the last time. I had it in Stratum substrate and even added root tabs when it wasn't sprouting, so it should have had plenty of nutrients.

good luck with your bulb!

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