Italian Vallisneria (Individual Plant)
Italian Val (Vallisneria spiralis) is one of the hardiest and most widespread of the Val’s. It has straight green leaves; the species name “spiralis” comes from the spiraled white flower that may develop above the water level. These plants can tolerate a wider range of water conditions than other Val’s (even very slightly brackish) and grow quickly.
Vallisneria plants, commonly referred to as “Val’s”, are grass-like plants that can grow very tall in the aquarium. Most can grow 2-3ft or longer but usually limited by the height of the tank. Blades longer than the height of the tank will float on the surface but will be more delicate and break off more easily. They are best kept pruned at or below tank height. They can be pruned by trimming the ends of the leaves. There are many variations among the ten recognized species of Vallisneria, most of which are popular and common plants for aquariums. There is a great deal of variation within manyVallisneriaspecies and many species and variations share common names, depending on the source, leading to some confusion among hobbyists.
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When planting Val's, only plant the roots in the substrate. The white base of the plant (the "crown") should be left exposed above the substrate. Also avoid pushing pieces of substrate between the leaves of the plant at the base. Val's will usually spread by sending out runners from the roots in the aquarium. Most Val's will thrive best in moderate to high lighting and in softer water. A nutrient-rich gravel will help provide the nutrition the plants need. Leaves may become weak and develop holes or tears if stressed or if not provided with sufficient nutrients but will usually recover with time.