If you’re looking for an exotic accent to your aquarium, the plant we present today, will surely bring it to your tank. Let’s see some facts about Nymphoides aquatica, commonly known in aquaristics as the Banana plant or Banana lily!

In nature, Banana plant occurs in backwaters or slowly-flowing waters of the East coast of the United States and closely placed regions of Mexico.

The plant has thick roots in the shape of a bunch of bananas, hence its name. They form at the base of leaf blades. The white, thick auxiliary roots  don’t root deeply into the substrate. It’s worth knowing that depending on the cultivation conditions, the structure, colour and form of the plant is different. In the early stage of growing, the plant develops delicate,  underwater leaves. Then, when the small bananas get bigger and change their colour from dark green to dark brown, the plant starts to develop floating leaves. The leaf blades are round, with a shallow, oval, heart-shaped notch at the base, dark green on the top with a matte shade, delicate purple on the underside, with clearly visible, decorative veins. The length of the petioles depends on the water level. Each new leaf unfolds from the angle of the previous leaf and is initially twisted. And a cherry on top is that Banana plant develops white, delicate, flowers from below the leaves. Hence its second common name- Banana lily.
The perfect substrate can be gravel mixed with peat and clay.

PlantingThere are different ways to plant banana plant although today we’ll present you the way our Experts consider as the best. Firstly, we need to be aware that Banana plant absorbs nutrients directly from the water, not from the substrate with the roots. That’s why fertilising the water with liquid fertilizers will surely prevent it from rotting. Theoretically this plant can just float around and with time, connect to the substrate with roots. In our opinion it’s better to plant the tips of the roots (not more because it may begin to rot!!)  into the substrate. This will allow you to keep the banana plant in one place and grow up healthy at the same time.


If you see excessive growth of the leaves, they should be cut with straight scissors. We reproduce the Banana plant by separating rhizomes, via runners, or by severing developing new bananas from the mother plant.

CO2 injection

The Banana lily is very sensitive to water parameters, that’s why it’s considered as difficult to grow. As mentioned before, it absorbs all the nutrients directly from the water so liquid fertilizers will be a great choice when deciding on this plant. But as we always underline- carbon dioxide has always a beneficial effect on aquarium plants. There is a lot of carbon dioxide in natural reservoirs coming from the underground waters. Such water, compared to aquariums, has muuuuuch more CO2. And this element will surely let your Banana lily grow faster and healthier. Check out our offer with Complete CO2 Systems if you don’t have your own yet!

LightingThe Banana plant requires good lighting. Be careful about the excessive growth of it because as a floating plant, it can inhibit the light to reach other plants hidden unter big banana’s leaves.

TemperatureDuring summer it likes the water temperature 25-27 Celsius degrees but during the winter 15-17. It’s very important to maintain stable water parameters, including temperature and pH which should be between 6,5-6,8; water hardness 4°N.

As you can see, the banana plant is not the easiest plant in the world. For sure its interesting appearance will give your tank a more exotic atmosphere because of its “fruits”. It’s worth it to introduce some cleaning species that will help you with controlling the amount of algae in the aquarium which is highly recommended because of the strong light required by the banana lily. We strongly believe that our tips will help you to grow this beautiful plant and hope that it will bloom generously above the water surface!

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