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Ludwiga ovalis is a rather new species in the aquarium hobby. This Ludwigia, originating from East Asia, is quite easy in cultivation, which makes it increasingly popular; its beautiful pink-orange ovate leaves might help, too. In its natural habitat, it is found in cooler waters or on very moist to wet soil. Then its growth habit is creeping.
L. ovalis is a low-growing stem plant with roundish to ovate leaves quite similar to those of L. repens. In contrast to the latter, however, the leaves of L. ovalis are alternate (1 leaf per node). Amongst the most frequently cultivated species of Ludwigia, this is a characteristic only found in L. glandulosa and L. ovalis (most Ludwigia species have alternate leaves, however, almost all of those species cultivated in aquaria have opposite leaves and thus 2 leaves per node).
The stems of L. ovalis tend to grow with a little slant, however, their overall growth habit is uprigt. They form lateral shoots on the nodes regularly. Moderate to strong light suffices for a good growth rate. Limiting the nitrate and/or phosphate content of the water brings about an even more intensive colouration of the leaves. CO2 injection is not really a must, but helps L. ovalis grow faster and more robust. A micronutrient supply is required, and iron is important for intensive plant colours.
Emersed cultivation is difficult and requires very moist conditions as well as lots of light (direct sunlight is a must). The flowers are small and inconspicuous.
Propagation is easy, as in most other stem plants, just cut off lateral or top shoots and re-plant in the substrate.
L. ovalis is a unique, highly attractive plant suitable for almost any aquascape, as most other pink-orange plants are far more demanding. The low-growing stems are ideally suited for the middle- or foreground of an aquarium. It is recommendable to plant the background with light green plants to create a beautiful contrast.
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