04 May ROTALA technical description and management (all varieties Rotundifolia Macrandra Wallichii Indica)
Provenance and habitat: The Rotala derives from the Lythraceae family and originates in the areas of South / East Asia, they are stem plants with a very rapid growth that require a constant supply of nutrients. They are among the most used aquascaper plants for their beauty and colors ranging from green to red depending on the species, generally, given their height that can reach 30/50 cm, they are used as plants for the background.
ROTALA ROTUNDIFOLIA: It is native to South East Asia (China, Myanmar, Vietnam) and Japan, has a very fast growth, and with its reddish-orange color, which assumes with presence of light, but green if there is little light, it gives a nice contrast with the greens of the other plants. The Latin name means “from the round leaves”, and infact the plant grown out of the water, in the hydroponic crops of large aquarium plants, has beautiful round leaves, but when it is placed in the tank, completely submerged, the new leaves that develop in water are not absolutely round, but thin and elongated even 2-3 cm or more. It grows very quickly and requires a lot of light to maintain its natural reddish color (in addition to a fair fertilization with iron). It is found quite frequently in commerce. It tends to form aerial roots that cling and everything and easily intermingle, as its stems behave almost like they were stolons, bending towards the ground to propagate. It can reach incredible lengths. If planted too thick, the lower part suffers the lack of light and loses the leaves.
ROTALA INDICA: Known as Rotala ‘Bonsai’ is a very small plant suitable also for Nano Aquariums. It is a kind of medium difficulty that needs good light, fertile background, CO2 and careful fertilization. It is cultivated in groups by planting the stems very close together. With bright light the tips become a very intense orange and the plants remain low and compact. With less intense light the stems tend to stretch a little longer, remaining almost green.
ROTALA MACRANDRA: Type of marsh Rotala with prostrate bearing and green color in emergence, has an erect bearing and color from pinkish brown to red / orange submerged. Opposite leaves, two for whorl, which in submergence are presented with oval shape, slightly sharp, with wavy margin, pinnate rib and without petiole. In submergence the single stems can reach 40/50 cm in height.
ROTALA WALLICHII: The Rotala Wallichii consists of a single stem, which in submerged form generally does not branch, but can reach up to 40-45 cm in height. It is a whorled plant, that is, with the leaves arranged all around the node, like the spokes of a bicycle. The name “Rotala”, assigned by Linnaeus to this genus of plants, derives precisely from this characteristic, common to several species. This arrangement concerns both the emerged and the submerged form, but the general appearance is very different. Under the leaves the leaves are thin, very thick and numerous and there can be up to 15 for each whorl. In emergence, however, they widen up to 4 – 5 mm, assuming an elliptical shape, but it is rare that there are more than 5-6 on the same node.
Reproduction and multiplication: The Rotala reproduces by cuttings so it is possible to cut with a pair of sharp scissors the upper portion of the stem, which must be at least 10 cm long; the lower portion (usually more ruined) can be left in the ground or uprooted. To reproduce it the new upper portions are buried in the substratum, practicing a small hole with the finger; you place the cutting at about 3-4 cm deep in the hole and cover with the surrounding sand, the tufts that must be maximum of 2 or 3 stems should be planted at a distance of one from the other of 3/4 cm to allow the light filtration even in the lower parts. Remember that in the presence of high concentrations of iron and near intense light sources, it may take on reddish colors.
Fertilizer and recommended substrate: It can be grown in closed and open aquariums; the substrate must be fertilized, since the root system is very developed; it must be planted in groups, better if numerous; the various plants can be buried at a distance of at least 3-4 cm between them and the other neighboring plants. Requires the use of complete fertilizers both liquid and solid, with chelated iron and potassium. We suggest the administration of CO2 and strong illumination, not less than 0.5 w / l is recommended.
Price: 5 € for plant.
Ideal temperature range: 22°- 28 ° Celsius
Growth speed: Medium / High
PH range: 5.5°- 7°
GH range: 4° – 15°dgh
Difficulty of cultivation: Medium / Hard