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Water Wisteria

Posted by Henry Yang on

Water wisteria

Water wisteria scientifically called Hygrophila difformis, is an easy to grow plant famous among both beginners and expert aquarists. It belongs to the family Acanthaceae and commonly called 

Wild wisteria and Vaantjes plant.

Origin and habitat

Water wisteria is indigenous to India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Thailand, Nepal, and Malaysia. In these regions, it grows during the rainy season only and will be seen mostly as a floater in shallow waters.


In a healthy environment, it can grow up to 20 inches in length and 10 inches in diameter which means that it can envelop a lot of space and can also block light easily. it has bright green leaves containing small protrusions along the length. It's leaves exhibit heterophylly which means leaves changes themselves according to the environment. the stem is dark and strong supporting the plant weight. Roots are thin and white and their only purpose is to anchor the plant in the substrate.

Tank requirement

A minimum of 10 gallons of the tank is best for this plant. Nano aquariums are not suggested for water wisteria due to it's size. The water of the tanks should have a pH from 6.5 to 7.5, hardness should be from 2 to 8 KH, and temperatures in the range of 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. You will notice that this plant is thriving in any condition but still fertilizers are necessary. Moderate lighting from incandescent and low-key fluorescent bulbs should be provided for 20 hours daily to let the plant prosper. Algae and cyanobacteria also start producing in lots of lights but water wisteria kills them by starving them. Always choose a filter that doesn't create lots of splashes and stay quiet and peaceful so that the plant won’t be disturbed. Carbon dioxide, nitrates, phosphates, and iron supplements are crucial for its healthy growth.


The plant can grow on any type of substrate like sand or gravel with proper fertilization but specialty plant substrate will be best. In the sand, you will have to be careful until it establishes a firm root system in the substrate so that there is not a chance of uprooting by any accident. In your aquarium, you can plant it as a carpet or as a background plant. to grow it as a carpet plant it in the substrate on its side to ensure that root and shoot are developed alongside each other. In this position, the leaves will grow only on one side and will keep growing  until they build a carpet over the surface.

Caring and maintaining

You won’t have any difficulty in caring for and maintain water wisteria in your tank because it blooms in any kind of environment without much supervision. To get the best appearance of the plant always has a substrate with wealthy nutrients and a continuous supply of fertilizers. Fertilizers mostly need all kinds of elements a plant needs like phosphate, iron, and nitrate. Deficiency in any one nutrient can lead to yellowing of leaves and later death. Regularly remove dead parts to stop the spread of any kind of infection. Keep the plant growth in check with random trimming and the trimmed stems a replanted to get dense vegetation. Strong light is recommended to get more intense colors and strong growth.


Water wisteria can be propagated using a leaf or stem cuttings. These cutting when planted in substrate grow their roots and develop into an independent plant. to get the bushy effect you can keep cutting the stems and replant them to get more shoots. This will cover a large area and will give a forest effect in the aquarium.


With this plant, you better keep small creatures who won’t try to eat plants. Do not keep cichlids, silver dollar fish, goldfish especially the ones who dig all the time and uproot plants. water wisteria is a treat for snails like nerite so avoid having it with the plant. The best fish for the plant are Rasboras, Dwarf Gourami, Tetras, Rasboras, Bettas, Swordtails, Corydoras Catfish, Cherry Barbs, Danios, Guppies and Mollies. 

Reason to have in the tank

With the addition of artistic impression water wisteria also provides a place for bottom-dwelling fish to roam freely, for the mid and top-tier fish it provides hiding places. This plant is best for breeding aquariums because it provides a lot of hiding ground for breeding fish and small young fry who always search for a place to hide from being eaten by adults or harassed by bigger fish. In the water, it moves in an ethereal way inducing a calming effect on the onlookers. Therapists say that looking at these movements can relieve a person from stress and anxiety.

Fun facts

  1. The water wisteria is given to the plant after American anatomist and physician Caspar Wistar.
  2. When the weather becomes warm the leaves of this plant grow apart to create more space between them.



Water wisteria is an aquarium-friendly plant. if you are at the begging of your hobby try this one. You won’t be disappointed. Even the most experienced aquarist loves this plant. the most epic characteristic of this plant is that it is adaptable to a lot of setups. 

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