Elodea is a perennial and rooted plant that is multibranched. Elodea is an aquatic plant and is also commonly known as a waterweed. The plant is characterized by its deep green leaves that resemble blades, and its white flowers that consist of three petals that are coated in a wax-like substance that enables them to float. Elodea originates in North America.
In beneficial conditions, Elodea is a rapidly growing plant. The plant is capable of choking canals, margins and shallow ponds of some rivers that flow particularly slowly. During the summer months, the plant does well in water temperatures of between 50 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and also moderate to bright levels of lighting.
To propagate Elodea properly, the entire plant must be transplanted (with all of its roots) into water that is both clear and shallow. It is a self-propagating and water-pollinated plant.
Young Elodea Plants
Young Elodea plants tend to start with seedling stems that have roots. The seedling stems are situated within the mud in the bottom of the water. There are more adventitious roots alongside the stem, which can either dangle freely within the water or hang to the bottom. At the stem tips, Elodea is capable of growing indefinitely (it can grow to as long as 10 or more feet).
Elodea must be grown inside of a tank when grown at home, due to the fact that it is by nature an aquatic plant. One tip for growing Elodea successfully is the addition of a carbon dioxide (CO2) source within the tank. This helps the plant grow much more quickly. With organic soil, there already is a degree of CO2. Yeast can also be used to generation carbon dioxide.
Elodea prefers water that is near neutral, with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.5. It will adapt to many water conditions, but prefers more light if kept in warmer water. It also prefers harder water, but will adapt to softer water. Due to its ability to spread rapidly and become an invasive species, anyone growing elodea should ensure it doesn't reach non-native habitats.