Aquarium Banana Plant: Care, Propagation & Dying Plants


Scientific NameNymphoides Aquatica
Common NameAquarium Banana Plant, Banana Lily, Heart Water Lily
OriginNative to Southeast United States, found in ponds, lakes, and rivers
Temperature Range68 to 82°F
Water ParameterspH 6.0 – 7.5

The Aquarium Banana Plant is classified as endangered in its natural habitat. Even though the plant is rare occurring in the wild, there are many places you can purchase them online and in pet shops. All Aquarium Banana Plants sold are grown from cuttings of other established plants, and are not collected from their native habitat.

Aquarium Banana Plant

Aquarium Banana Plant Identification

Aquarium Banana Plants are easily identified by the grouping of their tubers that are (when planted) located directly above the soil. They look like a small bunch of unripe bananas which give it the charming name Aquarium Banana Plant. These tubers are where the Aquarium Banana Plant stores its nutrients. It is important to note that these tubers are supposed to rest above the soil. They are not a part of the plant’s roots. If they are planted below the soil, they will rot, and your Aquarium Banana Plant will die.

Established Aquarium Banana Plants will grow long runner stems with lily pad leaves that will sit on the surface of the water. These leaves range from green to dark green in color. Some of the leaves even develop a patchy red color. They can also grow small white flowers that will also sit on the surface of the water.

The roots of the Aquarium Banana Plants actually grow from the stem of the plant. They will grow out and down into the substrate to anchor the plant in place. It is normal to have visible roots. They will be either a white, or a light green in color. The roots all start out white in color, and they will stay a whitish color when they are rooted into the substrate. Roots that are a more greenish color, are roots that have conditioned to the water flow of the tank, and are toughened to their environment.

Aquarium Banana Plant Care

It is fairly simple to get your aquarium ready for Aquarium Banana Plants. They require at minimum two inches of substrate for their roots to anchor in. The substrate can be made up of soil, gravel, or sand. When adding to your aquarium, you can plant the tubers up to a quarter of an inch in the substrate, until the roots grow out enough to anchor the plant.

If you are planting in a low flow tank, the plant can be left to float just above the substrate, and it will grow roots to anchor itself into the soil. If you are wanting to plant in a higher flow tank, you may have to use plant weights to keep it in the area you want it to take root.

They are able to thrive in a more tropical temperature range of 68 to 82°F. This makes them a versatile plant to add to your aquarium tank setup. The minimum tank recommended for the Aquarium Banana Plant is ten gallons.

Aquarium Banana Plant Light Requirements

The Aquarium Banana Plant is fairly easy to please when it comes to the amount of lighting it needs. They are able to survive in a wide range of low level light, to high level light. The more light they receive, the faster they will grow.

In a moderate level lighting setup, you can expect your Aquarium Banana Plant to grow a new leaf every few weeks. You will also notice it growing new roots, and runners as well.

Aquarium Banana Plant Propagation

Since Aquarium Banana Plants are grown from the cuttings of other established Aquarium Banana Plants. They are considered fairly easy to propagate. Just cut off one of the mature leaves and let it float around in your aquarium. Eventually, you will notice small roots start to appear, along with some small leaves. Once this happens, you can then plant the propagated leaf into your substrate. It will grow its own runner stem and tubers.

How Big Do Aquarium Banana Plants Get?

Aquarium banana plants can grow up to six inches in height. They can grow many leaves that will rest, both, on the surface of the water and below. If you find your Aquarium Banana Plant is growing too much, or the leaves are blocking out the light for your other aquarium plants, you can simply prune the plant down to desired size.

How to Make Aquarium Banana Plants Grow Faster

It’s simple to promote healthy growth with your Aquarium Banana Plant. Like most plants, they will thrive in a high level light setup. You can also use fertilizers to promote growth. It is recommended if you fertilize your plant, you do so every three to four months.

Aquarium Banana Plant Dying

Aquarium Banana Plant leaves are typically a green to dark green color with some growing patches of red, unless the plant isn’t doing well. You will notice the change in coloration of your leaves to yellow or brown, if the plant is not getting enough nutrients from the soil. You can also inspect the roots that are embedded in the soil for signs of rot.

The banana shaped tubers of the plant are not necessarily an indicator of the health of the plant. Some owners have reported their healthy Aquarium Banana Plant tubers falling off if their needs are being met from the substrate.

In the proper set up it has been observed in the Aquarium Banana Plant the tubers falling off of the plant, or the tubers melting away and disappearing. This is not cause for alarm if the plants look healthy still. The tubers falling off could simply mean that the plant is getting enough nutrients from the substrate.

When purchasing an Aquarium Banana Plant

When selecting your Aquarium Banana Plant, you will want to first inspect it for any signs of algae visible. You must inspect the leaves, tubers, stems, and roots for algae growth.

Once you’ve inspected the plant for algae, you should then check the leaves and tubers. The tubers of the plant are the small “banana-like” tubes that are located at the base of the plant. A healthy bunch of these tubers will be green, thick, and free from cracks or damage. The leaves should be a regular shade of green with older more mature leaves being a darker green in color. Make sure the leaves are free of holes, cracks, or damage around the edges.

The damaged leaves of the Aquarium Banana Plant cannot repair themselves, so leaves that do have damage will have to be trimmed off. If there are leaves that need to be trimmed off, just make sure there are enough healthy leaves left on the plant.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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