Terrestrial plants not included in this tool

Numerous species of terrestrial plants are sold in the aquarium industry as aquatic plants. The distinction between an aquatic plant and a terrestrial plant is often blurred because of the tendency for many aquatic species to have both submersed and emersed forms and because many terrestrial plants are able to tolerate periodic submersion. There are relatively few obligate submersed aquatic plants, (i.e. species that cannot tolerate emersion for even relatively short periods) but some examples include members of Hydrocharitaceae and Cabombaceae, Ceratophyllum, and Aldrovanda and the macroalgae (e.g. Chara and Nitella).

Most aquatic plants can, or prefer to, grow in the emersed form, and most only flower in that form. Many terrestrial plants can tolerate extended periods of inundation, and this is often part of the natural habitat of the plant where flooding is common. These plants (termed helophytes) tolerate extended periods of waterlogging around the roots and even complete submersion under flood waters. Growth rates of helophytes decrease significantly during these periods of complete submersion and if water levels do not recede the plant will ultimately decline and perish. Such helophytes are commonly sold in the aquarium trade because of their tolerance for total submersion, and durability because of their original cultivation as a terrestrial plant. If these plants do live for extended periods in aquaria, it is due to intense lighting and unlimited nutrients. Usually these plants can be transferred to a pot or terrarium and will quickly resume growing at a rapid rate. Such plants are more appropriately grown as potted plants, in terrariums, or as marginal pond plants. Many terrestrial plants are not even helophytes but rainforest species that tolerate periodic inundation. Examples of these types of plants include Syngonium, Philodendron, Adiantum, Aglaodorum, Aglaonema, Cordyline, Ophiopogon and Physostegia. These and other examples of terrestrial plants that are commonly sold as aquarium plants are given below.

Terrestrial plants and helophytes for terrariums not included in this tool:

Adiantum spp.
Aglaodorum spp.
Cordyline spp.

Philodendron spp.

A. brevispathum

Aglaonema brevispathum.
Photo: © D. Scherberich

P. bipennifolium

Philodendron bipennifolium.
Photo: © D. Scherberich

P. wendlandii

Philodendron wendlandii.
Photo: © D. Scherberich

D. macrophylla

Dieffenbachia macrophylla.
Photo: © D. Scherberich

Syngonium

Syngonium sp., climbing tree.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

D. macrophylla

Syngonium sp., fruit.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

P. bipennifolium

Spathephyllum sp.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

P. wendlandii

Spathephyllum sp.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

A. pictum

Ophiopogon sp.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

Syngonium

Syngonium sp., climbing tree.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

A. pictum

Aglaonema pictum.
Photo: © D. Scherberich

A. brevispathum

Syngonium sp., dissected leaf.
Photo: S.L. Winterton

 
Syngonium

Hemigraphis orata.
Photo: © FishesNpets

D. macrophylla

Hemigraphis alternata 'Exotica'.
Photo: © L. Krumfolz, University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, used with permission.