Brazilian Pennywort

Brazilian PennywortHydrocotyle leucocephalaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy 'Yvonne'
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I was given a section of Pennywort as a floating plant. It didn't die but didn't do great, either. I attached it to a piece of driftwood to try it under the water... (more)  CarolO

   Brazilian Pennywort is an exotic plant with a very funky look, a most Interesting plant to add to an aquarium!

The Brazilian Pennywort is a great plant for midground to background or surface decoration. It has thin spindly stems and lily pad shaped leaves. At any given moment, plants will sport leaves ranging in size from a dime to a half dollar.

At each leaf joint the plant sends out white roots. Very healthy specimens will send up a wispy white bloom that will open near the surface. Some aquarists choose to not root Brazilian Pennywort in the substrate, instead allowing it to grow horizontally on the surface.

Brazilian pennywort can grow a few inches per week in just about any tank. However underfed plants will be slow growing, weak, and unattractive. A good fertilizer regimen would include both a root fertilizer (usually mixed in with the substrate) and a leaf absorbed fertilizer (usually added to the water). Co2 fertilization also helps this plant a lot. Brazilian Pennywort will be nibbled on by snails and some fish, but healthy specimens recover easily.

For more Information on keeping a planted aquarium see:
About Planted Aquariums:
Adding Aquatic Plants For a Healthy Aquarium


   Brazilian Pennywort is found in South and Central America.

Water conditions:

   Temperature: 64-79° F (18-26° C)
   pH: 5 - 9
   dGH: 2- 20 °


   Light level: Low to very Bright


   This is one of the easiest aquarium plants to propagate: simply cut off any length of plant at the leaf joint. The cutting will use its pre-established roots to take hold in just a few days.


   Brazilian Pennywort can be rather difficult find, however some fish stores and many online sources will stock it.

Author: "Yvonne"
Lastest Animal Stories on Brazilian Pennywort

CarolO - 2012-07-22
I was given a section of Pennywort as a floating plant. It didn't die but didn't do great, either. I attached it to a piece of driftwood to try it under the water and now it's growing like crazy. It has tripled in the last month.

Andrew - 2008-08-07
I found the Brazilian Pennywort to be a hardy plant even at low temperatures. Some dark spotting will appear on older leaves, but they needed to be trimmed by this stage anyway. Trimming will allow a burst of younger shoots to take up the available light & space. At first I couldn't work out how to present this awkward, fragile & spindly tangle. I wanted it to be anchored as a ground cover, sprawling along the bottom and creeping up the sides of my tank, but it would not stay anchored or in the position i wanted. So, in the end i threw a whole lot of stainless steel kitchen hooks at it - to keep the mess at the bottom & gave up on it; walking away...To my surprise & delight the next day, the leaves and stalks had resolved their buoyancy issues - settling into wonderful fantasy-like, lily-pad layers (nature always proving the better designer), giving an unexpected magical appeal (so much so, it remains as the central theme of that tank still today).
My advice with Brazilian pennywort as with most stem plants is to submerge whole plant in water overnight to resolve buoyancy issues, good idea to treat water with an antibacterial preventing unwanted nasties. Try even acclimatising your plant first by just floating it (out of a bag) on the surface of the aquarium for a couple of days.
- submerge for 12 - 24 hours prior to design to clear buoyancy problems
- place (enough) s/steel hooks along selected runners to achieve a neutral
- work with the natural buoyancy of plant in fast flowing tanks, let it settle
where it lands - nature is an incredible designer when given the chance! let the
current determine its best position
- although the stalks/branches are incredibly brittle out of water, with leaves that
should fold & flop in any water flow - it is remarkably resilient even in strong
currents. At first a few leaves may fold, don't worry too much as the plant will
soon compensate for this over a day or 2 rectifying the leaf to upright & open.

Overall I love Brazilian Pennywort or Cardamon as is sometimes called - due to it's sweet spice-aroma emitted when out off water. I've found the perfect lily-pad ascetic without the slow growth & smell!

have fun...

Patrick - 2010-03-26
An awesome plant for the aquarium. Its root system that forms beneath each leaf adds an interesting touch. I have mine running vertically up the side of my 75 gallon tank and also horizontally along the bottom. With my light and CO2 set-up, it constantly gives off streams of bubbles.

I often clip sections of it off and transplant into my dad's low-tech 55 gallon. It has done very well, is growing quickly, and looks great.

Julia - 2008-01-29
This plant is really pretty but if you aren't a plant expert, you might kill it within the week like I did. I wouldn't consider it hardy.

  • Shannon - 2011-09-26
    I love this plant it's probably my favorite and I got it quite by accident as a hitchhiker with some other plants I purchased. I did find it hardy but It seemed to do better with brighter light. It went crazy in my 10 gallon where the light penetrated better. It did okay in my 55 but grew much slower. I suspect with a lighting upgrade its growth would improve but it is healthy just slow growing.