Ludwigia Repens: How To Care For This Aquarium Plant

Ludwigia Repens is a great freshwater plant that can provide a number of benefits to your tank. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a plant to compliment a community tank, or feel inspired to begin aquascaping, this is a species to consider.

Read this guide to learn all you need to know about Ludwigia Repens care. This plant is low-maintenance, so as long as you follow the guidelines you’ll be just fine!

Species Summary

The Ludwigia Repens plant is a popular aquatic cultivar that goes by many different names. You might see it labeled as water primrose, creeping primrose willow, or red ludwigia. No matter what you decide to call it, there’s no denying this plant’s beauty.

Ludwigia Repens is an excellent addition to peaceful community tanks with its vibrant coloration and relatively dense foliage. It works best as a midground plant. However, its adaptability lets you use it in countless different ways.

Ludwigia Repens plant outside of its aquarium

This freshwater plant is native to North and Central America. It’s predominantly found in tropical ponds, streams, and lakes. Ludwigia Penes prefers shallow water and is capable of growing fully or partially submerged.

Thanks to its simple care requirements, Luwigia Repens is one of the more popular aquatic plant species. Thanks to its unique appearance, it offers a great way to infuse some color into any underwater aquascape.

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The Benefits Of Having It In Your Tank

Like most aquatic plants, Ludwigia Repens is a beautiful piece of decor that can enhance the underwater habitat. Great for aquascaping fanatics, it can breathe new life into your aquarium and provide some pleasing aesthetics to enjoy.

All that said, Ludwigia Repens is more than just a pretty decoration. It’s a practical addition that provides a slew of benefits.

First and foremost, this plant offers tons of enrichment for tank inhabitants. Many fish species thrive when they’re in an environment with vegetation. Not only do they use the plants for play, but they can also act as cover for shy or anxious fish.

Ludwigia Repens can also enhance water conditions on a molecular level. Plants utilize a slew of excess nutrients. They even absorb harmful waste byproducts like ammonia and nitrates. As a result, water conditions can stay stable and healthy for much longer.


From an appearance standpoint, Ludwigia Repens is quite unique. It’s a trailing plant that can grow long and thick stalks. The stems are noticeably girthy and take on a reddish color. 

When the plant is young, the stems can be thin and fragile. However, they get wider the more the plant grows. By the time the plant reaches its maximum height, they are sturdy and supportive. The thickness contributes to the plant’s width and spread.

As a mat-forming plant, Ludwigia Repens can get pretty dense and unruly. However, the thick foliage only adds to the appeal.

Along each stem, you’ll notice oppositely arranged leaves. They’re large and spade-shaped, which does wonders to help with light collection. The leaves adorn the entire length of the stalk. They even sprout close to the root system.

The Ludwigia Repens can take on hues of deep green, red, and reddish-brown. Typically, the tops of the leaves are olive green as a peak of red splashes the bottoms. This allows you to make some interesting aquascapes!

Author Note: Like most plants, the coloration will depend entirely on lighting conditions and overall health.

If you’re lucky enough to witness these plants grow beyond the waterline, you’ll notice another beautiful element, flowers. The flowers have four yellow petals. Overall, each bloom is typically smaller than the leaves.

However, the bright coloration makes them stand out against the red and green plants. Blooms only appear when the plant grows beyond the water surface level, which usually only happens in outdoor ponds.

Size & Growth Rate

This plant is comparatively bigger than the species you’d use in the foreground of your tank. However, it’s not going to reach heights of several feet like some other popular species!

At full maturity, it gets to be about 20 inches tall. Remember, Ludwigia Repens can grow outside of the water as well. So, it can quickly grow beyond the confines of your tank if the water column isn’t deep enough to accommodate the entire plant.

Author Note: Regular pruning is necessary if your aquarium isn’t particularly deep. More on that later!

When it comes to growth rate, Ludwigia Repens develops pretty fast. Its large leaves take in as many nutrients as possible. Plus, the sheer coverage of the plant’s leaves help to facilitate quick and efficient photosynthesis.

As always, health and lighting will play a part in the overall growth rate. In pristine conditions, Ludwigia Repens can reach the 20-inch height in a matter of months. But if the lighting is a little more subdued, it can take a couple of years to get there.

Ludwigia Repens Care

Compared to other popular aquarium plants, Ludwigia Repens care is relatively easy to manage. It’s a little more demanding than some classic low-maintenance species, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for hobbyists of any skill level.

As long as you stick to the following care guidelines, your plant will thrive!

Tank Size

Let’s start with the size of the habitat. As mentioned earlier, Ludwigia Repens grows to about 20 inches long. To truly appreciate the density and height, it’s best to keep these plants in larger tanks that are a minimum of 20 gallons.

That said, Ludwigia Repens easily adapts to smaller tanks. Many aquascapers even keep them in nano tanks or small plant-only aquariums.

Most recommend housing these plants in a tank that holds no less than 10 gallons.

Author Note: If you want to go all out, consider keeping the Ludwigia Repens in an outdoor pond. In pond environments, this plant acts as an emergent bog species. It’ll grow partially submerged while the tips stretch to the sky in the open air.

Water Parameters

Ludwigia Repens is pretty hardy when it comes to tank conditions, making this a fairly manageable aspect of its care. It’s native to tropical environments, which are similar to the natural habitats of some of the most prevalent fish in the trade. As a result, it’ll do just fine in standard freshwater tank settings.

The plant prefers warm waters, a neutral pH balance, and decent softness. Consistency and stability are key with Ludwigia Repens. It can handle some simple adjustments as long as there are no significant fluctuations.

  • Water temperature: 68°F to 82°F (mid-70s are ideal)
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0 (aim for neutral)
  • Water hardness: 3 to 8 KH


Next to the water conditions, lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to Ludwigia Repens care. This plant prefers high light levels with very little shade, but it can survive in low to moderate light levels.

However, you may experience massive discoloration, slow growth, and a host of health problems. Leaf loss is a common issue that usually stems from poor lighting conditions.

With high light levels, the plan should display vivid coloration and large, healthy leaves.

Author Note: To help your plant reach its full potential, provide a good amount of light during the day. Three to five watts of full-spectrum light for every gallon of water the tank holds is ideal. 


The best type of substrate to use for Ludwigia Repens is nutrient-rich plant substrate. Usually, plant substrate mixtures contain a bevy of minerals. Depending on the formula, it might have tiny pieces of gravel, baked clay, volcanic rock, and peat.

There are tons of commercial substrate products out there. Choose one that’s formulated to provide a nutrient-rich environment for plants.

You can also use simple gravel. However, the lack of nutrients may affect plant growth. To overcome that issue, you’d need to provide supplements. 

If you want to utilize gravel for aesthetic purposes, you can use plant substrate as a base. Then, apply the gravel on top. Not only do you get the look of gravel, but the added layer can secure the plant better.

Author Note: Do not use sand or anything with an ultra-fine consistency that mimics sand. Sand could end up suffocating the delicate roots of the Ludwigia Repens because of how easily it compacts.

How To Plant Ludwigia Repens

Once you have your habitat ready, you can start planting! Don’t worry, planting Ludwigia Repens is easy.

The plant is readily available at most fish shops. Most enthusiasts recommend planting several stems in close proximity. For smaller tanks, four to five cuttings are ideal. A larger aquarium can benefit from groupings of 10 to 12!

To establish the plant, simply stick the cut end into the substrate. Plant it about an inch deep. If needed, lightly pack the substrate around the stem to secure it.

Author Note: Be wary of spacing. You don’t want to plant them too close together. Otherwise, the bottom leaves will not receive enough light to stay alive.

Ludwigia Repens does best as a background or midground plant. While the plant looks a little thin and barren when first introduced, it will get bushier with time. This cultivar produces several side-shoots to achieve density.

As the plant grows, make sure to provide upwards of 10 hours of light a day to encourage the red pigmentation to come out. You can also offer regular dosings of CO2 and iron-rich fertilizers. Fertilization isn’t a requirement, but it may improve the long-term health of the plant.

Trimming & Pruning

Regular pruning is a must when it comes to Ludwigia Repens care. If you don’t stay on top of its quick growth rate, the plant can quickly grow beyond the confines of your tank.

Fortunately, trimming this plant is a very straightforward process.

With a pair of sharp pruning shears, just snip off the top lateral shoots. You can use pruning to shape the plant as you see fit. Cut off some of the side-shoots to keep it more confined or keep the plant low to ensure it doesn’t ruin the view in the mid-ground.

The choice is yours.

Whatever you do, make sure to keep at least two inches of the plant intact. It’s essential to leave at least two nodes as well. That minor restriction will encourage regrowth and continued good health.

Tank Mates

You have tons of great options for tank mates.

If you’re looking for other plants to add to the mix, Ludwigia Repens goes well with many other species. It pairs exceptionally well with popular aquatic plants like the Java Fern, Amazon Sword, and the Rotala Rotundifolia.

Those plants are predominantly vibrant green. As a result, the color contrast creates a stunning look.

As far as animal tank inhabitants go, anything peaceful will do.

Ludwigia Repens is an excellent choice for docile community tanks. The goal is to add fish that will take advantage of the dense foliage for security and play. 

Here are some good fish species to consider:

That’s just a small collection. Any fish species that doesn’t have a reputation for damaging plants can coexist with the Ludwigia Repens.

You can also keep invertebrates in the tank. This plant is fantastic for most aquarium shrimp. From the eye-catching Red Cherry Shrimp to the elusive Ghost Shrimp, nearly any shrimp species is acceptable.

The same goes for aquarium-friendly snails. The only exception is snails that like to eat plants.

Author Note: Ludwigia Repens is a fantastic choice for invertebrates because it provides plenty of foraging opportunities for these critters. The leaves develop biofilm, which adults and newborn inverts will readily consume.


Ludwigia Repens reproduces in one of two ways. 

The most natural is through seeds. As we talked about earlier, plants that grow outside of the water will develop flowers. This usually occurs with mature plants during the warmer months.

The beautiful yellow flowers eventually develop seeds. The seeds plop right back into the water to grow brand-new plants. In the wild, currents will take the seeds elsewhere to help the plan spread.

Now, unless you’re keeping your Ludwigia Repens in a large outdoor pond, this method probably won’t occur. When you prune the plant to keep it underwater, it will not grow a flower.

If you want to propagate the plant, you can use cuttings. You’re free to use the trimmings you remove during regular pruning sessions.

Remove the cuttings from the main stem and plant them in the substrate like you would from samples you bought at the store. Bury about an inch of the plant into the growing medium. It won’t take long for tiny roots to develop.

After that, the cuttings will develop into a full-fledged plant! Like always, keep some space between new propagations and established plants to prevent exposure problems.


Ludwigia Repens care is something that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced aquarist or a complete beginner. This plant won’t throw you any curveballs.

If you have any questions about including this plant in your freshwater aquarium, you’re more than welcome to send us a message. We’re alway happy to help out our readers!

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