by Robert Paul Hudson
Cryptocoryne wendtii has been a long time favorite in the aquarium, and is one of the Cryps from Sri Lanka that is easy to grow in the aquarium. A couple years ago Florida Aquatic Nurseries released their new cultivated version that is variegated showing multiple colors of green, yellow, white, orange, and red. It is quite a unique looking plant.
Hobbyist have reported that the leaves loose their color and turn green after being in the aquarium for a while, but FAN President Brandon McLane insists this should not be the case and that they grow the plant totally submersed in their facilities. According to him it may be an issue of light. It is possible that for the plant to retain its variegated rainbow of colors, it may require sufficiently higher light levels than normal wendtii.
The amount of coloring on the leaves of this plant can vary greatly from one plant to the next. Some may show a hint of variegation while others may have nearly solid yellow or white coloring with a hint of red.
Wendtii is also notorious for going through some leaf melt when transplanting or if water conditions are unstable. If this happens, new leaves will grow out usually within 30 days or so.
While the species is not too picky about fertilization, it does respond well to a nutrient rich substrate or substrate fertilizer tabs.It can also tolerate a wide range of hardness, but a low to medium KH may be the most ideal.
The leaves grow from a woody horizontal root structure called a rhizome that when divided will produce another plant. Wendtii also sends out short runners with new plants. The growth rate is slow to moderate depending on conditions, and generally the plant is placed in the middle or rear as it gets taller. You should pick a good spot for it and avoid moving it later to prevent leaf melt. The plant will rarely flower underwater.