Limnophila Aromatica: Ultimate Care Guide

Native to Southeast Asia, Limnophila Aromatica often grows in flooded rice fields. Commonly used as a spice in certain regional dishes, it has a flavor reminiscent of lemon and cumin. Aquarium hobbyists like this plant for its robust growth and ability to tolerate frequent trimming. With enough light and nutrients this plant can grow surprisingly fast, and will need trimming to prevent leggy foliage and to shape it to a desired growth pattern. Special varieties are available which are smaller and have brighter green coloration. These can be good choices for densely packed carpeting in Dutch style aquascape.

While this is known as an easy to grow aquarium plant it won’t thrive without extra attention. You’ll likely need to consider extra lighting, Co2 injection, and fertilizer to get the best results from this species. If you already have experience with heavily planted aquariums you likely already have the skills to have great success with this plant. If you are new to aquariums, and planted tanks in particular, careful research and preparation will be needed to get the most out of this plant.

Limnophila Aromatica Care

Limnophila Aromatica is easy to grow in most aquariums, but it can be a challenge to grow in some conditions. While this species will survive in substandard environments it needs extra support to achieve bright and colorful foliage along with robust growth. Be prepared to apply extra lighting, Co2 injection, and fertilizer along with micronutrients. While all these things aren’t required, the more you put into this plant the more it will thrive.

Limnophila Aromatica
Limnophila Aromatica

Lighting Requirement

Limnophila Aromatica will grow in low light, but may not have the great coloration this species is known for. Medium to bright light is best for this plant. Make sure to use a full spectrum light or one specifically designed for plants. Many suitable LED aquarium lights are available. These often have brightness controls and some even include automatic timers.


Limnophila Aromatica doesn’t have specific temperature needs beyond what is common in most tank environments. This plant can survive equally well in tropical and temperate aquariums.

Water pH

Limnophila Aromatica needs slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range between 6.5 to 7.0. Many types of growing soils are available, such as ADA Aquasoil, which can provide essential nutrients and buffer water acidity to create a good environment for this plant. You’ll want to avoid any substrate which includes crushed coral or aragonite sand. These ingredients will slowly dissolve, and raise alkalinity beyond what the plant will tolerate.

Limnophila Aromatica Growth Rate

Limnophila Aromatica growth rate varies with light, nutrients and Co2 concentration. If you are providing enough light and nutrients to achieve the best coloration, this plant can grow very fast. Be prepared for frequent trimming to prevent this plant from taking over your tank. One way to control the spread of Limnophila Aromatica is by growing it in containers, or use clear plastic dividers under the soil. This prevents root systems from spreading throughout your tank, and can keep this plant contained in a specific area.

Limnophila Aromatica
Limnophila Aromatica growing in a pond. Edited. Dinesh Valke from Thane, India, CC BY-SA 2.0

Limnophila Aromatica Growth Height

Limnophila Aromatica can grow up to 27 inches. Depending on your lighting and tank setup, frequent trimming may be needed to keep this species’ height under control.

Limnophila Aromatica Co2 Requirement

Limnophila Aromatica doesn’t require Co2 injection, however for best growth and color some should be added. This is particularly true in heavily planted tanks where lots of growth can rapidly reduce Co2. If you decide to add Co2 injection to a tank with fish it’s important to closely monitor levels. Too much Co2 can displace oxygen in aquarium water and may even suffocate your fish. Simple Co2 drop checkers are available which give you an easy way to estimate the levels in your tank. These are usually less than $20 USD and can let you know if concentrations are too high or too low. If price isn’t a concern, electronic measurement units can give you detailed information about Co2 concentrations and other water parameters.

Limnophila Aromatica Propagation

Limnophila Aromatica is easily propagated with cuttings. Often this can be as simple as planting a cutting or large trimmed piece in substrate and allowing roots to form.

How to prune Limnophila Aromatica

Limnophila Aromatica is a very forgiving plant that can tolerate lots of trimming. Often this is as simple as trimming off any portions you don’t want. However, if you’re aiming for a certain tank arrangement or wanting bushy growth you’ll need to trim carefully and with some forethought. The central woody stem of this plant will grow thicker with age. As the plant grows taller, foliage on this central stem can block out light from lower leaves which can result in unattractive growth pattern when it’s trimmed down. For a bushy look, it’s best to keep the central stem trimmed down where lower foliage can get enough light for robust growth. The trimmed tops can be discarded or replanted in another area of your tank. If your Limnophila Aromatica gets really tall and out of control it may be necessary to uproot it, replanting only the top portion. Be cautious when disturbing soil in mature tanks as substrates can hold ammonia which is released when disturbed. The resulting ammonia spike may harm some sensitive fish. It’s best to only change small elements and avoid digging through large amounts of soil at one time.

Can you grow Limnophila Aromatica emersed?

Limnophila Aromatica can be grown emersed but any foliage which grows above water will be thicker and more sparse. This plant has different foliage depending on if it’s grown submersed or emersed. When switching between either of the two growing modes the old leafs will die off allowing new growth to form. This process is known as “melting,” and can worry some hobbyists who aren’t used to it. It isn’t usually fatal, and new growth often forms, but it won’t look appealing while happening. Once this plant is accustomed to its new growing environment the foliage will continue to develop normally. Because Limnophila Aromatica can grow partially or fully emersed, it can be used in paludariums. Paludariums are tanks which mix aquarium and terrarium, showing off both growing environments. Plants which can grow emersed are a great match for this unusual tank configuration

Where can I find Limnophila Aromatica for sale?

Limnophila Aromatica is uncommon but can be available from local fish stores. It’s often easier to buy it from online sources. Expect to pay less than $8 USD, plus shipping, per bunch. This plant can also be grown emersed so make sure you purchase from an aquarium plant supplier. Buying the emersed form can lead to challenges when it switches to submersed growth in your tank: the old foliage can brown and die back before sending out new growth.

Limnophila Aromatica Types

Limnophila Aromatica has a few different types which are commonly available. As a species, Limnophila Aromatica is prone to variations which don’t warrant a separate species designation. Some of these variations have commercial appeal and are available from various aquarium plant suppliers. These types are best thought of as cultivars of Limnophila Aromatica. Here are some of the common types you’ll find for sale.

Limnophila Aromatica Mini

Limnophila Aromatica Mini features light green foliage which keeps its color even in moderate lighting. Featuring smaller foliage, this type is ideal for foreground or midground use. Use this variety when you’re looking to grow a thick carpet across wide areas of an aquarium. This plant needs bright light, nutrients, added Co2 to grow its best. Still rare, it can be difficult to find this type in local fish stores, but it can be bought from online sources.

Limnophila Aromatica Red

Limnophila Aromatica Red is a smaller plant who’s foliage will turn red with adequate lighting. Not all types of Limnophila Aromatica turn red as they grow. Buying this type will ensure you are getting a variety which is capable of producing red foliage.

Limnophila Aromatica Green

Limnophila Aromatica Green is a variety which won’t produce red foliage even under very bright lighting. If you’re wanting a Limnophila Aromatica with uniform green coloration, this is the variety to get.

Limnophila Aromatica vs Limnophila Hippuroides

Limnophila Aromatica and Limnophila Hippuroides are closely related and are sometimes confused. Hippuroides has more compact growth featuring more than 3 leaves per whorl. Along with denser leafs, Hippuroides has a different color pattern: stems and tops of leafs remain green while only the underside of leafs will turn a reddish purple. This gives an unusual look to Hippuroides. Note that Hippuroides is often grown emersed. Once planted submersed, this plant will begin to develop the unique foliage its known for.

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