HomeAquarium PlantsLudwigia Repens - Care, Appearance, Benefits, & More!

Ludwigia Repens – Care, Appearance, Benefits, & More!

Today, we will focus on the fascinating Creeping primrose-willow, widely recognized in the aquatic hobby world by its scientific name – Ludwigia Repens.

Ludwigia Repens holds a distinctive position among aquatic plants ideal for aquascaping due to its robust composition, striking red hue, and uncomplicated maintenance.

Rest easy knowing that Ludwigia Repens exhibits a remarkably high success rate and excels in accentuating visual points of interest while contributing to an attractive display in the mid-ground and background of your aquarium.

Continue reading for more insight on how to cultivate and tend to Ludwigia Repens in your domestic fish tank.


NameLudwigia Repens
Alternative TitlesCreeping primrose-willow
Scientific DesignationLudwigia Repens
Growth PatternStem
Propagation Trimming Top Shoots
Ideal pH RangeMid-Background
Aquarium PlacementSoft to Rigid
Ideal Temperature Range20 – 28 °C (68 – 82 °F)
Preferred SubstrateNutrient-Dense
Maintenance LevelUncomplicated
Growth RateRapid
Ideal GH Range6.0 – 8.0
Maximum SizeAround 50 cm (~20 inches)
Fertilizer NecessityNone to Minimal
CO2 NecessityNone to Minimal
Lightning RequirementMinimal to Average
Hue VariationFrom Green to Reddish


Ludwigia Repens, a type of blooming vegetation, hails from the Onagraceae family. It’s more commonly known as the Creeping Primrose-willow or Red Ludwigia.

Falling under the Ludwigia genus, this family holds around 82 types of aquatic greenery originally from Central and South America, yet its reach is globally recognized.

This group was given its title by an esteemed botanist and zoologist from Sweden, Carl Linnaeus, in honor of Christian Gottlieb Ludwig, a botanist of German origin. Here’s a brief outline of its taxonomic rank:

KingdomPlantaeThe realm of all plant life
PhylumTracheophytesA large assemblage of plants that utilize lignified tissues for the transportation of water and minerals throughout the plant
ClassAngiosperms (Magnoliophyta)The blooming plants, which comprise the most varied collection of terrestrial plants with more than 64 orders, 416 families, a whopping 13,000 recognized genera, and around 300,000 species
OrderMyrtalesAn order consisting of blooming plants
FamilyOnagraceaeA widely distributed family of blooming vegetation known as the willowherb group or evening primrose family, inclusive of 650 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees in 17 genera
GenusLudwigiaA genus encompassing around 82 species of aquatic plants native to the Americas
SpeciesLudwigia Repens


This vegetation originates from the southern regions of the United States and Mexico, frequently seen in the tropical waters spanning North and Central America.

Additionally, it has been noted across Asia, Africa, and Australia, thriving in shallow water bodies such as trenches, ponds, rivers, brooks, and lakes.

Ludwigia Repens establishes thick, sprawling, or trailing clusters in shallow water environments, with the tips of its shoots expanding across the water’s surface.



Ludwigia Repens is a captivating underwater trailing vegetation cultivated semi-submerged or submerged within the aquatic medium. This is a pigment-rich stem flora, and when cultivated fully immersed, it preserves lobed leaves with shades oscillating between dark green to a russet red or deep red.

Ludwigia Repens manifests as a thick carpet-forming perennial herbaceous plant with creeping stems measuring between 30 – 50 centimeters (or 12 – 20 inches) in length, and a width ranging from 4 – 6 cm (1.5 – 2.5 inches), contingent on average foliar growth.

The foliage is arranged oppositely on red stems; these leaves’ apex typically flaunts an olive green shade. At the same time, the lower surfaces exhibit a reddish hue (this might undergo changes based on light intensity).

The plant is renowned for sprouting aerial roots, roots emerging from the internodes of the stems. Ludwigia Repens also sports small flowers that house four yellow-tinted petals (approximately 3mm long) embedded on a base of four-pointed sepals, which might be slightly extended.

Tank Requirements

Aquarium Dimensions

Ludwigia Repens flourishes with meticulous maintenance in many aquarium capacities, even in micro tanks.

However, the suggested aquarium dimension for accommodating Ludwigia Repens is at least 10 gallons (~40 L).


Ludwigia Repens thrives when rooted in a well-nourished or superior nutrient-dense medium, which fosters a robust root network. Aquarium beddings such as Seachem Fluorite, Carib Sea Eco-Complete, or Fluval Plant & Shrimp Stratum are suitable for this application.

Certain accounts suggest that Ludwigia Repens might encounter difficulties in a sandy substrate due to its potential to compact and stifle the root system.

Observation: Ludwigia Repens can indeed be allowed to float within the aquarium, although it exhibits optimum growth when planted.


Ludwigia Repens doesn’t demand excessive illumination to develop vibrant hues and substantial foliage. With a nutrient-dense foundation, it will flourish even in dimmer light, bypassing the need for fertilizers or root tabs.

Nonetheless, if you intend to incorporate CO2 injections into your routine, you’ll also need to increase the lighting and ensure that the plant’s nutrient requirements are adequately satisfied.

Remember that an elevated concentration of CO2 and Copper (a common component in many fertilizers) can be exceedingly hazardous to shrimp. 


Ludwigia Repens stands as one of the most accommodating aquatic plants concerning illumination necessities. It can withstand a spectrum from dim to intense light.

Historically, Ludwigia Repens was characterized as a perennial plant. However, one of the factors contributing to its popularity is the variety of hues it can showcase depending on the light – transitioning from green in weak light to reddish tones (yellow or even purple tinge) under average lighting conditions.

Under powerful lightning and a comprehensive color range (red/blue) for enhanced coloration, it can adopt a deep red tone.

Typically, Ludwigia Repens is a good selection for non-technical aquariums.

Ludwigia Repens (Super Red)

Critical Note: In past years, enthusiasts have developed numerous varieties of this species with bright red leaves (var. “Red,” “Super red,” “Rubin,” etc.). The conditions for their upkeep are identical to the original Ludwigia Repens species, except that they require increased illumination.

In scenarios with insufficient light, the foliage of these ‘red versions‘ of Ludwigia Repens tends to drop off, and its color is apt to dull. To guarantee that the leaves retain their vividness and preserve their reddish tint, they necessitate at least moderate lighting.

Water Parameters

Aquatic Conditions, Temperature, Hardness, and pH Value

Temperature: The ideal underwater thermometer reading should oscillate between 20 – 28 °C (68 – 82 °F). The plant can withstand somewhat colder conditions as well.

pH Value: Ludwigia Repens will excel most in the aquarium water with pH degrees between 6.0 – 8.0 pH

Hardness: The plant can effortlessly bear soft or hard water but flourishes best in mild to medium solidity water, registering 3 – 8 GH.


Ludwigia Repens is ideally suited for placement in aquariums’ middle or rear sections. Secure four to five robust cuttings or stems bearing roots and embed them in the substrate (roughly 2.5 cm or 1 inch deep). Guarantee appropriate spacing between the plants; this fosters better growth and a splendid contrast within the tank.

Caution: Avoid clustering them excessively close together. The lower leaves could starve from light, causing them to wither and die.

Reproduction, akin to other stem plants, is straightforward: merely snip off the top shoots and replant them in the substrate. Always detach the bottom leaves before planting to ensure a firm anchorage in the substrate.

Pro-tip: Fear not, even if you’ve cut the Ludwigia Repens down to just two nodes above the substrate, and it will rejuvenate itself.

If you permit Ludwigia Repens to extend above the water, you could observe their reproduction in an emersed state. This happens during the warm season when the plant matures in its natural habitat. It produces inconspicuous yellow blooms on the water’s surface. Once the seeds grow, they descend to the substrate, creating new independent plants.

Care Of Ludwigia Repens

Ludwigia Repens is one of the easiest plants to maintain and care for. In nature, it is often considered an invasive plant of actual or potential threat to local waterways.

In the aquariums, this plant grows fast once its needs are fulfilled, and there would be a constant need to shorten the shoots at least two times a month or whenever you see that they are getting nearer to the water surface.

Trimming Ludwigia Repens is no biggy; use pruning scissors to snip off the top lateral shoots; they will develop numerous side shoots, making the plant bushier. You can also utilize this moment to take off dead, broken, and damaged leaves caused by infection, stress, or fish/snail aggression.

While trimming the top shoots, always try to leave at the minimum 2 inches (5 cm) of the plant with at least two nodes. This will help them grow back just fine, and it encourages an excellent bushy effect in your tank.

The cuttings can either be replanted in the substrate or collected for outright disposal in plastic bags. In addition, it can also be gifted to hobbyists in need of the plant.

The most considerable requirements of Ludwigia Repens are sufficient lighting and nutrients. If you want to see some reddish tint on the leaves, always maintain moderate lighting for at least 8 – 10 hours to intensify the red pigmentation of the leaves.

Plants that need access to enough lighting will only grow taller and more slender, and the leaves will not show much vibrant red hue.
Regular dosing of CO2, micronutrients, and fertilizers rich in iron will significantly enhance its growth and coloration.

also read: Bacopa Caroliniana

Benefits Of Ludwigia Repens

Aquascaping: Ludwigia Repens stands as an excellent option for aquascaping. It flourishes with ease in tanks and imparts an aesthetic appeal.

Extraction of surplus nutrients: Being a rapidly growing plant, Ludwigia Repens aids in absorbing and removing excessive nutrients and nitrates in the aquarium water.

Mitigates gas pockets: Even though Ludwigia Repens doesn’t possess a robust root system, it contributes to the dispersion of anaerobic pockets within the substrate.

Caution: Hydrogen sulfide pockets (H2S, a gas that gives off a rotten egg odor) could be potentially harmful to your aquatic life, including fish or shrimp.

Feeding ground: This plant augments biofilm development, which serves as the perfect initial feed for newly emerged fry and baby shrimp.

Sanctuary: Ludwigia Repens offers ample shelter and refuge for timid fish and shrimp.

Oxygen production: Like all plants, it aids in oxygenating the water, enhancing the overall environment in the aquarium.

Ludwigia Repens: Common Challenges

Shedding of lower leaves: When Ludwigia Repens grows tall, it may shed leaves at the base. This plant tends to lose foliage under dim lighting conditions. Take the healthy-looking tops of each stem, replant, and dispose of the lower, decaying growth. To prevent this from recurring, ensure adequate light is supplied and adhere to a daily photoperiod of 8 – 10 hours.

Pale leaves: If the fresh leaves of Ludwigia Repens turn pale, it may indicate an iron shortage. Iron isn’t easily mobile within plants, so a deficiency will often be noticeable in the foliage.

Punctured leaves: Predominantly, this symptom is indicative of a Potassium deficit. Plants usually draw from the reserves in the lower regions of the plant, initially manifesting as tiny perforations in the older leaves, potentially escalating to yellowing and complete decay.

The transition from emersed to submersed: If Ludwigia Repens is initially grown emersed, the plant may struggle to transition fully to a submersed state when freshly introduced into an aquarium. This adjustment period may cause the old leaves to fall off or “melt” before the plant adapts to its new surroundings and begins to sprout new foliage.

Compatible Tank Mates

The Creeping primrose-willow can coexist well with other plants like the Java mossRotala rotundifoliaJava FernCryptocoryneAmazon Sword Plant, etc. This burgundy-hued plant would blend seamlessly with these lush green counterparts, offering a stunning contrast of colors for the onlooker’s pleasure.

The Ludwigia Repens has compatibility with the following:

Tranquil Fish: It’s a fine idea to house this plant alongside fish that won’t cause it any harm. Suitable candidates encompass the Otocinclus CatfishPygmy Cory CatfishNeon tetrasGuppyCherry BarbGreen SwordtailsRasboras, and others.

Shrimp: Moreover, it gets along well with shrimp species – all varieties of Neocaridina species (Red Cherry ShrimpBlue Velvet ShrimpBlack RoseSnowball shrimpOrange SakuraGreen JadeRili Shrimp, etc.) or Caridina species (for instance, Crystal Red ShrimpCaridina cf. babaultiBlue Tiger Shrimp, etc.), Amano shrimpGhost shrimpBamboo shrimpVampire shrimp. In essence, you can keep any shrimp species with it. They will certainly enjoy it!

Snails (for instance, Ramshorn snailsNerite snailsMalaysian Trumpet snailsJapanese trapdoor snailsMystery snails). Exercise caution with snails that can potentially damage or consume the plant. 

Tank Mates To Avoid

Steer clear from belligerent, aggressive, and herbivorous fish species that could rapidly damage the plants and engage in conflict with other fish in the aquarium. Fish species such as GoldfishOscarsand Rainbow fish are likely to munch on the succulent leaves of this plant. Therefore, they should be avoided.

Refrain from housing Ludwigia Repens with crayfish or crabs. It’s a widely accepted truth that these invertebrates can wreak havoc on plants (read my introduction to crayfish care). They will consume and uproot everything within the aquarium. Therefore, the optimal choice would be to incorporate floating plants.

Buying Ludwigia Repens

This plant is economical and readily accessible in neighborhood pet shops, with a price range of $5 – $10 or slightly above for a pot encompassing roughly 5 – 7 specimens. When purchasing this plant variety, keep an eye out for healthy leaves flaunting a reddish tint.

Furthermore, plants with leaves bearing incisions or harm should raise alarms, and you should steer clear of these as it’s difficult to discern if they are ridden with diseases. The best outcomes will be achieved if you acquire young plants boasting robust roots and stems for propagation.


What you’re looking at is a captivating and appealing plant species. Ludwigia Repens is highly coveted by enthusiasts who wish to infuse a spectrum of colors into their tank, particularly those fond of Dutch-style aquascapes.

Are you seeking a flexible and easy-to-maintain plant for your aquascape? Do you yearn to integrate red shades into your aquarium’s middle or rear area? Look no further; Ludwigia Repens is the ideal selection for you!

Fishkeeping Expert
Fishkeeping Expert
With years of collective fishkeeping knowledge, we are pleased to share the tank maintenance tips and fish care advice we've picked up along the way. Fishkeeping Expert is home to all fishkeeping tutorials and guides that will help you keep your fish healthy.


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