Bacopa Caroliniana (Lemon Bacopa): How to Care and Grow

Bacopa Caroliniana (Lemon Bacopa)
Bacopa Caroliniana (Lemon Bacopa)

Bacopa Caroliniana is a popular aquatic plant species renowned for its ease of care and beautiful foliage. Originating from the United States and Mexico, it is a perfect addition to any aquarium due to its robust nature and ability to thrive in a range of water conditions. This plant exhibits a dense, bushy growth pattern with small, round leaves that display an enticing green color. It is well-suited to both background and middle ground placement in an aquarium setup, providing a lovely aesthetic and a beneficial habitat for aquatic creatures.

As the plant grows closer to the light, the leaves of Bacopa Caroliniana will maintain a pleasant light green hue and may turn yellow at the tips. Bold, rounded leaves and stout stems characterize this plant.

Bacopa Caroliniana Facts

Bacopa Caroliniana is known for its fascinating features that make it stand out among other aquatic plants. The plant emits a pleasant lemony scent when crushed, a trait that has earned it the nickname of “lemon bacopa.” In the wild, it can be found in marshy, wetlands areas, signifying its adaptability to various water conditions. Interestingly, this plant can also survive outside water and often blooms small, blue flowers when it is partially submerged or emersed. Furthermore, Bacopa Caroliniana has considerable benefits for the aquarium’s inhabitants. It provides safety and shade for small fish and invertebrates while also contributing to the water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

How to make Bacopa Caroliniana grow red?

To cultivate Bacopa Caroliniana that exhibits a captivating red color, you need to manipulate certain growing conditions. First, enhanced lighting is essential. This plant demands high-intensity light to produce red pigmentation, so consider incorporating full-spectrum LEDs or high-output T5 lights in your aquarium setup. Second, the addition of CO2 to the water can also encourage your Bacopa Caroliniana to turn red. While this plant can grow without additional CO2, providing it can heighten the coloration. Finally, maintaining a nutrient-rich environment is crucial. Regular dosing of macro and micronutrients, particularly iron, can enhance the red hue. Remember, achieving the red coloration in Bacopa Caroliniana requires a delicate balance of these conditions, and changes should be introduced gradually to avoid causing undue stress to the plant.

Bacopa Caroliniana Care

Caring for Bacopa Caroliniana involves a few specific steps. Start by planting it in a substrate that is rich in nutrients. This aquarium plant prefers a soil-based substrate, as it absorbs nutrients through its roots. Regular water changes are also essential for the plant’s health. Aim to change 25% of the aquarium’s water weekly to ensure optimal water conditions. When it comes to temperature, Bacopa Caroliniana thrives in a range of 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. It’s also important to prune regularly to promote denser growth. When the plant grows too tall, simply cut the stem and replant the cuttings. Also remember, while this plant can survive in a low-tech setup, the vibrant red coloration is best achieved under high light conditions with CO2 supplementation. With proper care, Bacopa Caroliniana can be an attractive, beneficial addition to your aquarium.

Lighting Requirements

The optimal lighting condition for Bacopa Caroliniana is high-intensity lighting. This aquatic plant thrives best under full-spectrum LEDs or high-output T5 lights. Such lighting conditions not only encourage the plant’s healthy growth but also help to enhance its vibrant red coloration. It’s important to remember that while Bacopa Caroliniana can survive under low light conditions, achieving the striking red hue typically requires high light intensity. This has earned it the nickname “big red bacopa.”

Can Bacopa Caroliniana Grow in Low Light?

Bacopa Caroliniana can grow in low light conditions, but it’s important to note that its growth may not be as robust or its color as vibrant as when it’s grown under medium to high light conditions. Under lower light levels, this plant tends to display a green hue, rather than the vibrant red that is often desired by aquarium enthusiasts. However, if vibrant coloration is not the primary goal, Bacopa Caroliniana can still thrive in an aquarium with low light, making it a versatile choice for various setups. Remember, any adjustments to lighting should always be made gradually to prevent shocking the plant.


The optimum temperature for Bacopa Caroliniana ranges from 68°F and 82°F (20 – 28 C). With that said, they are known to survive temperatures as low as 14°F. This broad temperature range makes it a versatile choice for different aquarium conditions. However, it’s crucial to maintain stable temperatures within this range to avoid causing stress to the plant, which could affect its growth and coloration.

Water pH

Bacopa Caroliniana prefers a pH range between 6.0 and 8.0. This pH range is ideal for the plant’s growth and overall health. However, be mindful to always maintain consistent pH levels, because drastic fluctuations can cause stress to the plant, potentially affecting its growth and coloration.

Growth Rate

Bacopa Caroliniana exhibits a moderate to fast growth rate under optimal conditions. Given the right balance of high-intensity lighting, appropriate CO2 supplementation, and a stable pH range, this plant can grow approximately 8 inches every month.

However, keep in mind that growth rate can vary based on the specific conditions within your aquarium, including factors such as water temperature and nutrient availability. Regular pruning can promote bushier growth and help maintain the plant’s vibrant red coloration.

Growth Height

Bacopa Caroliniana has an impressive growth height, reaching up to 40cm (16 inches) when fully grown. It is a robust plant that can rapidly ascend towards the surface of the water, particularly when cultivated under ideal conditions. As such, it’s a perfect candidate for the midground or background of the aquarium, where it adds a pop of color and texture.

Co2 Requirements

While Bacopa Caroliniana can survive without CO2 supplementation, adding CO2 to the aquarium can significantly improve its growth rate and overall health. This plant species is known for its adaptability and can thrive in a variety of conditions. However, to see the plant at its best, with vibrant coloration and robust growth, CO2 supplementation is highly recommended. Keep in mind that CO2 should be used in conjunction with optimal lighting and nutrient availability for best results.

How to Plant Bacopa Caroliniana

Planting Bacopa Caroliniana in an aquarium is a straightforward process. Begin by rinsing the purchased plant under lukewarm water to remove any potential contaminants. Next, separate the plant into smaller stems, ensuring each stem has a few leaves. Prepare the substrate in the aquarium by creating small holes for the stems. Insert each stem into the substrate, making sure it’s deep enough to support the plant but not so deep that it buries the leaves. Space the stems out evenly to allow for adequate light penetration and room for growth. After planting, gently fill in any gaps with substrate to secure the plant in place.

Remember, Bacopa Caroliniana prefers high-intensity lighting and nutrient-rich substrate for optimal growth. Regular maintenance, including pruning and monitoring pH levels, will ensure the plant stays healthy and thrives in its new environment.

How to use Bacopa Caroliniana in an Aquascape

Bacopa Caroliniana is a versatile plant that can play various roles in an aquascape depending on your layout and design needs. It can serve as an attractive midground plant, providing depth and color contrast to your aquascape. When planted in clusters, Bacopa Caroliniana can create a dense bush, offering a natural refuge for smaller fish and aquatic creatures.

For larger tanks, Bacopa Caroliniana can be effectively used as a beautiful and lush background plant. It forms an impressive wall of vegetation, becoming a perfect backdrop to foreground plants and stones. It also provides a vibrant green curtain that can hide any unsightly equipment in your aquarium.

Another intriguing use of Bacopa Caroliniana in an aquascape is shaping it into a bonsai tree. By trimming and pruning regularly, you can encourage the plant to grow in a particular shape that resembles a miniature tree.

Regardless of where and how you choose to incorporate Bacopa Caroliniana in your aquascape, remember that this plant requires bright light, nutrient-rich substrate, and additional CO2 to truly flourish. By meeting these conditions, you can create a stunning and healthy aquascape that both you and your aquatic pets can thoroughly enjoy.

Trimming Bacopa Caroliniana

Trimming Bacopa Caroliniana is essential to maintain its shape and ensure its successful growth. Here’s a step-by-step guide to efficiently trim your plant:

  1. Utilise sharp, clean scissors to prevent damage and disease. Dull or dirty tools can harm the plant and promote bacterial growth.
  2. Identify the section of the plant you want to trim. Look for long, overgrown stems as they’re usually the best candidates for trimming.
  3. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle. This makes it easier for the plant to heal and promotes new growth.
  4. Avoid drastic pruning. It’s generally best to trim no more than a third of the plant at a time.
  5. Once trimmed, you can replant the cuttings if you wish to propagate more Bacopa Caroliniana. Plant the cuttings directly into the substrate, ensuring at least an inch is buried to promote root growth.

Remember to always monitor your plant’s health before and after trimming. If you notice any signs of disease or stress, it may be best to postpone the trimming session until the plant recovers.

Growing Bacopa Caroliniana Submerged

Bacopa Caroliniana can be grown fully submerged in an aquarium setting. In fact, this plant thrives under water, making it an ideal choice for aquascaping. However, it’s crucial to ensure the right conditions to promote healthy growth when grown submerged. The plant requires plenty of light, nutrient-rich substrate, and additional CO2. It’s equally vital to maintain the water’s pH level between 6.0 to 8.0, and a water hardness of 5 to 15 dGH. Ensuring these conditions will support Bacopa Caroliniana’s submerged growth and contribute to a vibrant and dynamic aquascape.

Growing Bacopa Caroliniana Emersed

Bacopa Caroliniana can also be grown emersed, that is, partially in water with its foliage above the water surface. This versatile plant adapts well to a variety of conditions and can thrive in emersed setups such as paludariums. When grown emersed, Bacopa Caroliniana displays a more vibrant color and grows at a quicker pace, thanks to the unlimited supply of CO2 from the atmosphere. However, it’s essential to maintain high humidity to prevent the plant from drying out. Regular misting, a nutrient-rich substrate, and ample lighting are the key factors to ensure the healthy emersed growth of Bacopa Caroliniana.

Growing Bacopa Caroliniana in a Pond

Bacopa Caroliniana can certainly be grown in a pond environment. It’s a highly versatile aquatic plant that can adapt to a variety of settings. When growing Bacopa Caroliniana in a pond, ensure that the water conditions are appropriate. The plant will also require plenty of sunlight, so positioning your pond in a location that receives adequate daylight is essential. Regular pruning might be necessary to prevent overgrowth and maintain a healthy and vibrant appearance.

Growing Bacopa Caroliniana as a Floating Plant

Bacopa Caroliniana can be grown as a floating plant. This adaptive plant can thrive in most conditions and forms a lush green cover on the surface of the water when allowed to float. Floating Bacopa Caroliniana provides shade for the aquatic life beneath and adds a new layer of depth to your aquascape. Though floating, it still requires access to plenty of light to maintain its vibrant coloration and growth. Ensure that the water parameters are kept within the ideal range to support the health and growth of the plant. Adequate nutrients are necessary and can be provided through liquid fertilizers, though take care not to overdo it. It’s also important to regularly prune floating Bacopa Caroliniana to prevent it from overly shading the plants beneath and to maintain the visual appeal of your aquascape.

Do Bacopa Caroliniana Flower?

Bacopa Caroliniana does flower. This aquatic plant produces small, blue-white flowers that add a splash of color to your aquascape. The flowers usually bloom when the plant is partially emersed, meaning some part of the plant is above the water. If you are growing Bacopa Caroliniana as a floating plant, you might occasionally witness this charming spectacle. The blooming is also a positive sign, indicating the healthy growth and well-being of the plant. So, while the Bacopa Caroliniana is known for its lush green foliage, don’t be surprised when it also presents you with delicate flowers as well.


Propagation of Bacopa Caroliniana is a straightforward process, making it a great plant even for novice aquarists. It propagates primarily by cuttings, which means you simply cut a section of the stem and plant it in the substrate. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose a healthy stem of Bacopa Caroliniana and cut a 3 to 6-inch section of the stem. Make sure the cutting has a few leaves on it.
  2. Plant the cutting into the substrate. Ensure that it is deep enough to prevent it from floating up.
  3. Provide the newly planted cutting with adequate light and nutrients. Over time, it will develop roots and new growth will be visible.
  4. Regularly monitor the water parameters to ensure optimal growth conditions.

It’s also worth noting that Bacopa Caroliniana can also propagate through side shoots. This often happens automatically when the plant is in ideal conditions. Proper care and maintenance are vital to ensure successful propagation and healthy growth.

Fertilization for Bacopa Caroliniana

Fertilizing Bacopa Caroliniana is essential for its growth and overall health. Follow the steps below to ensure optimal fertilization:

  1. Choose a suitable liquid aquarium plant fertilizer that contains essential nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and trace elements.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. Typically, you will add a few drops or a small amount of fertilizer directly into the water per gallon each week.
  3. Include iron supplements as Bacopa Caroliniana has a high iron requirement. Add these supplements as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Monitor the plant growth. If the leaves start to yellow or growth slows, they may not be getting enough nutrients and you may need to increase the amount of fertilizer.
  5. Lastly, remember to perform regular water changes and avoid over-fertilizing as this may lead to algae growth.

Keep in mind, the fertilization needs may vary based on the specific conditions in your aquarium, such as the lighting, substrate, and other plants present. Always monitor the health of your plants and adjust your care regimen as needed.

Why is my Bacopa Caroliniana melting?

Bacopa Caroliniana, like many aquatic plants, may experience ‘melting’ when exposed to stress or unfavorable conditions. Melting essentially refers to the deterioration or ‘dying off’ of leaves and is a common issue among newbie aquarists. Several reasons can contribute to your Bacopa Caroliniana melting:

  1. Change in Environment: Bacopa Caroliniana is sensitive to drastic changes in its environment. If you recently introduced it into a new aquarium, the change in water parameters might cause the plant to melt as it acclimatizes to its new surroundings.
  2. Inadequate Lighting: Bacopa Caroliniana requires moderate to high lighting to thrive. If your aquarium does not provide sufficient light, it may cause your plant to melt.
  3. Nutrient Deficiency: This plant has high iron requirements. If iron or other essential nutrients are insufficient, it may lead to yellowing and eventual melting of the plant.
  4. Poor Water Quality: High levels of toxins, such as ammonia or nitrite, can cause stress to the plant and result in melting.

To stop and prevent further melting, ensure your Bacopa Caroliniana receives adequate lighting, nutrients, and is kept in a stable environment that mimics its natural habitat. Regular water changes and water quality testing are also vital to maintain optimal conditions.

Why is my Bacopa Caroliniana turning brown?

The browning of your Bacopa Caroliniana could be due to a few reasons. Primarily, it’s an indication that your plant is under stress, which could stem from various factors. One common cause is improper lighting: too much or too little light can cause the plant to turn brown and eventually die. Similarly, nutrient deficiencies, particularly iron, can also lead to browning. Another factor could be poor water quality. High levels of toxins like heavy metals, ammonia, or nitrite in your aquarium can be detrimental to the plant’s health. Adjusting these factors and ensuring a suitable environment for your Bacopa Caroliniana can help restore its vitality.

Where Can I Find Bacopa Caroliniana For Sale

Bacopa Caroliniana is available for purchase from several places. Online aquarium plant retailers are one of the most accessible sources. Websites such as Amazon, eBay, and specialized aquatic plant stores often carry a range of aquarium plants, including Bacopa Caroliniana. If you prefer shopping in person, check out local aquarium stores or pet shops, as many of these establishments carry a variety of aquatic plants. Before buying, ensure the plant is healthy, displays vibrant green color, and doesn’t show signs of melting or browning. Also, ensure that the seller follows ethical cultivation practices to protect the species and its natural habitats.

Bacopa Caroliniana vs Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Caroliniana and Bacopa Monnieri, both belonging to the Plantaginaceae family, share several similarities. They are both aquatic plants often used in aquariums for their attractive green foliage and their ability to thrive in a variety of water conditions. They are relatively easy to grow, requiring similar light, temperature, and nutrient conditions. Both these plants also serve as excellent oxygenators for the aquarium environment.

However, there are certain notable differences between the two species. Bacopa Monnieri, also known as “Water Hyssop,” generally has smaller leaves and a more delicate appearance compared to Bacopa Caroliniana. The latter, often referred to as “Giant Bacopa,” has rounder, larger leaves and tends to grow taller, making it a good background plant in aquarium settings. Furthermore, Bacopa Monnieri is renowned in traditional medicine for its neurological benefits, while Bacopa Caroliniana is primarily valued for its aesthetic appeal.


Bacopa Caroliniana is a robust and visually appealing addition to any aquarium. Although it requires careful maintenance and optimal conditions to thrive, the effort can reward you with an aquascape that’s both thriving and attractive. Proper lighting, nutrient supply, and water quality are essential factors to consider in its upkeep. Whether you’re purchasing your Bacopa Caroliniana online or in a physical store, it’s crucial to ensure the plant’s health and the seller’s ethical cultivation practices. By investing some time and care, you can enjoy the beauty this aquatic plant brings to your aquarium for a long time to come.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *