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Sagittaria subulata
Sagittaria subulata
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  • SKU: B110
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Sagittaria subulata

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Sagittaria subulata, commonly known as Narrow-leaved Arrowhead, is a resilient and versatile aquatic plant that effortlessly thrives in both the middle and background of aquariums. Originating from the eastern regions of the USA and South America, this species has been a longstanding favorite in the aquarium hobby, thanks to its adaptability and striking appearance.

In its submerged form, Sagittaria subulata exhibits strap-shaped leaves, up to 5 mm wide, and grows dense groups through its underground runners. The plant's growth can be somewhat unpredictable, forming a short lawn in well-lit and nutrient-limited conditions, but developing longer, 30 cm leaves in dense populations with ample macronutrient supply. The plant is capable of producing long flower stalks, and its small white flowers open outside the water.

Narrow-leaved Arrowhead has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the "longest-serving" aquarium plants, making it an excellent choice for low-tech or no-tech tanks without CO2 supplementation. It demonstrates tolerance to high carbonate hardness and has moderate light requirements. Additionally, it proves to be temperature-tolerant, making it suitable for both tropical and cold-water aquariums. This adaptability and ease of care make it particularly recommended for aquarium beginners.

While sometimes suggested for creating a lush foreground "lawn," it tends to grow taller over time. For a shorter alternative, the variety Sagittaria subulata "Pusilla" is recommended. The normal Sagittaria subulata, on the other hand, is perfect for forming large, naturally appearing, grass-like thickets in the middle and background. Caution is advised to prevent it from overrunning slower-growing, smaller plants with its prolific runners.

In cultivation, Sagittaria subulata is undemanding, requiring only moderate light and showing resilience to hard alkaline water. While it can thrive without CO2 injection, the addition of CO2 enhances its growth significantly. A nutrient-rich substrate or water with high concentrations of nitrate, phosphate, potassium, iron, and trace elements promotes robust growth. The plant is notably susceptible to iron deficiencies, evident in yellow discoloration of leaves, and can display reddish shoot tips under intensive light.

Densely planted groups of Sagittaria subulata can produce leaves reaching up to 60 cm in length, while less dense groups result in more compact growth of 5 to 10 cm. This fast-growing species spreads through runners, quickly forming a lush carpet. Occasionally, it sends up long flower stalks with tiny white flowers that float on the water surface. In optimal conditions, it may even produce long-stalked floating leaves with elliptic blades.

Sagittaria subulata's versatility extends to its emersed growth, where it exhibits a low habit with wide-spreading rosettes and spatulate leaves. Various varieties of S. subulata exist, one of which was previously sold under the name Sagittaria natans. In Central Europe, this plant is hardy and can endure winter outdoors, forming numerous flower stalks and floating leaves with reddish-brown spots in shallow pond areas.

With its grass-like texture and adaptable growth habits, Sagittaria subulata serves as an excellent fore- and midground plant or can be used to accentuate other plant species, providing a natural and contrasting aesthetic to aquarium layouts. Whether creating a dense group or allowing it to reach its maximum height, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead adds vertical structure and visual interest to aquariums.