Pogostemon growth

robin adair

Junior Poster
May 18, 2005
Melbourne, Australia
Pogostemon stellata is a very attractive aquariaum plant and looks fantastic in any tank where it is growing well and is vibrant. The discolourous foliage (green on top, pink beneath) is a great attraction when the leaves wave in the filter current.
I have few problems with this plant, but do regularly experience grow irregularities resulting in stunted leaves and short internodes. The plants always recover from these symptoms within 4-5 days and growth resumes either as a single apical shoot or as branched growth. Plants may grow for 2-3 weeks and then will be affected again.
I cannot determine what the cause of the growth anomaly is. Not all stems are affected at the same time suggesting that water conditions in the aquarium are not the cause.
I have seen references to similar problems by other aquarists growing this plant and one suggestion has been low phophate levels. While I cannot tell you what my phosphate levels are, this doesn't seem an adequate explanation as all stems should be affected simultaneously, if this was the case.
Any clues on what might be going on?

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: Pogostemon growth

No, PO4 low is not what you want, you want high PO4 and high NO3 and high CO2 and high traces.

It grows like a weed.

Water changes will sometimes stunt the new growth, but that is mainly due to high KH in the tap water, other wise, a KH of 4-5 should not be an issue.

Try adding a bit more KNO3, try the CO2 mist also.

It will tolerant low PO4, most plants will, but that offers no solution to your issue.

Tom Barr


Jan 24, 2005
Cologne, Germany
Re: Pogostemon growth

Hi Robin,

had the very same issue with E.S./P.S for many months. Plant overcame stunting after I tried maintaining stable water param's. Before that the plant has been in a very poor shape sometimes. Afterwards it grew like a weed without any single stunting for about a year until I tore the tank down. So I suppose it's not low or high of something in general it's much more a question of stability. Try fertilizing on a daily routine.