How to Plant Cabomba Plants


Cabomba, commonly known as fanwort, is a popular aquarium and pond plant that provides shelter and oxygen to fish. The plant acts is a habitat for numerous microorganisms that are beneficial to the aquarium and are food for small fry and invertebrates. When designing a planted aquarium it can be utilized as bunches in corners or as a backdrop. The light green color of the fine needlelike, fan shaped leaves contrast well with dark green broad leaf plants. The new growth on some species are flushed with red or purple colors.

Step 1

Remove the lead weight, or rubber band, that usually keeps the bunch of stems together when the plant is purchased. The plant will grow if it stays on, but might rot at the base.

Step 2

Trim the bottom ends of each stem right above where they were bound together with the band or weight. This removes any damage from having been bunched together.

Step 3

Cut any long stems down by trimming them from the bottom. They should be about one-half to two-thirds the height of your aquarium. Pinch off all the leaves 2 inches up from the bottom of the stem.

Step 4

Use long, thin tweezers to push the bottom of each stem into the substrate deep enough so that it holds and does not float to the surface. You may have to bury up to 1 inch or more of stem. Start planting at the back, or in a back corner. Work out toward the front of the tank, planting each stem about 1 inch apart.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure you review your local state laws concerning invasive aquatic plants. Some or all Cabomba species may not be allowed in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • Cabomba
  • Scissors
  • Aquarium with treated water and substrate
  • Tweezers


  • How to Start Your Own Planted Aquarium
  • Cabomba Purple (Red) (Cabomba pulcherrima)

Who Can Help

  • Aquatic Gardeners Association
Keywords: fanwort, cabomba caroliniana, cabomba pulcherrima

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.