Hygrophila corymbosa

Synonyms: Nomaphila corymbosa, Nomaphila stricta var. corymbosa, Justicia

Common Names: temple plant, starhorn or giant hygro

Family: Acanthaceae

Locale: South-east Asia

Height: 25-60 cm (10-24”)

Light Requirements: medium-very high

Temp: 20-30 °C (68-86°F)

Hardness tolerance: very soft-hard

pH: 5.5-8

Growth: fast

Demands: easy

This plant is known to grow as an exotic in Singapore, Mexico and the U.S.

H. corymbosa is a fairly easy plant to grow in an aquarium. It grows quickly and most likely will require frequent trimming. Many varieties grow fairly tall, and have large leaves. The plant naturally grows emerged, but it can survive extensive periods fully submerged. Most of the varieties grow fairly tall, and have large leaves.  This growth habit means you have to pay attention that the lower leaves are getting enough light, or they’ll fall off the plant.  H. corymbosa likes well lit aquariums, but will adapt to lower light.

If you let it grow emersed, it will bear purple scented flowers. This will cause the plant to drop its lower leaves. It gets messy when these flowers die. It will fill the tank with roots if you let it grow emersed and develop a thicker stem as well.

There are several forms in the aquarium trade. The following is a list of varieties of H. Corymbosa that I could find:  

Hygrophila corymbosa type 'crispa'
Hygrophila corymbosa type 'glabra'
Hygrophila corymbosa type 'gracilis'
Hygrophila corymbosa type 'strigosa'
Hygrophila corymbosa var. 'Aroma' 
Hygrophila corymbosa var. 'Stricta'
Hygrophila corymbosa ‘Angustifolia’
Hygrophila corymbosa ‘compacta’
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Fine Leaf'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Greta'
Hygrophila corymbosa ‘Red’
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Ruffle Leaf'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis'  (Giant Hygro)
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis 53B'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis Broadleaf'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis Narrow Leaf'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Stricta'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Willow Leaf'

H. corymbosa

I got this plant for my upstairs 70 gallon display tank. This tank is a Fluval Osaka 260 tank.  This is the tank with the rounded glass corners on the tank. This tank comes with 36" T5 high output double fluorescent fixtures with 2 bulbs. The tank is filtered with a Fluval 405.  There are several other plants in this setup; Rotala macrandra, Tiger Lotus, Cardamine lyrata, Echinodorus quadricostatus and an Aponogeton. The tank only gets monthly water changes since there are only a few fish in it.

When I first got my Hygrophila corymbosa, it was about 8” tall.  I placed this in two spots in my tank; one near the front and one near the back.  This plant did not take long before it was growing well. This plant routinely grows up the water surface. It does not matter which spot I put it. The growth was equal in the front of the tank as well as the back. The height of the tank is 24”. I’ve trimmed this plant a few times and stuck the trimmed stems back into the substrate.  These have grown as well.  Occasionally I’ll lose lower leaves if I plant the stems too close together. I’ve also never had it grow out of the tank, but I suspect that’s because of the tanks height and the plants actual maximum growth.

I appreciate how this plant tends to fill up some areas in my tank to help make a nice display of plants.  It would make a nice beginner plant for someone with a decent amount of light for their tank.


© Copyright Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Reading:

Aquarium Plants : Their Identification, Cultivation and Ecology by Karel Rataj & Thomas J. Horeman

Aquarium Plants Manual by Ines Scheurmann

To check other plant references:

Plant and Pond Book List

 Back to Main Page