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My stem plant planting method

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Stem plants have an annoying habit of not staying planted unless weighted down. And the weights can cause issues of their own if they're applied too tightly. And if they're not applied tightly enough the plants can still slip free and become free floating. Getting stem plants to stay in place long enough to set roots and anchor themselves can be a challenge. I cheat. I use small plastic cups that cat food came in and fill them with my tank substrate that I wet down. Then I cover the makeshift pots with plastic wrap and secure that with a rubber band. I then use a small artist paintbrush handle to poke holes in the plastic wrap and through the substrate and as I slide out the paintbrush handle I slide in the plant stem. I can squeeze ten or so stems into the pot in this manner and then set the pot in my aquarium for a few weeks until the plants root and get a firm grip. The plastic wrap helps to hold the stems in place. Once well rooted and actively growing I can then remove the pot from the tank, carefully slice/tear off the plastic wrap and the plants should have nice roots, be used to my lights/water and can be more easily planted and stay in place. I just got an order of red ludwigia in today and managed to pot up five full pots of it in this manner with nothing floating (so far anyway.) The ludwigia was supposed to be 5"-10" but arrived more like 18"-24" long so I ended up with a lot more stems than anticipated as I trimmed it back and planted the cuttings. I'd been planning for two to three cups and I ended up with five. Not a bad problem to have. Here are some photos of the process and one of the cups in a tank. After a few days to a week to adjust to the tank they should start growing pretty well. Once I'm confident they're all rooted (maybe a month from now) I'll pull a pot and check it out. If there are roots galore I'll them move the plants to their permanent spaces and they should have a better chance to stay in place. This gives me a way to reuse those empty cat food cups and keep my newly planted stem plants in place.





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