Hygrophila corymbosa propagationHygrophila Corymbosa, also known as temple plant, giant hygro, and starhorn is a hardy starter plant. They grow rapidly with little or no extra care routine. However, they require good lightning which sometimes creates f a vibrant reddish hue to its leaves, especially under intense light. Keep reading to learn about the Hygrophila Corymbosa, its origin, care, and subspecies. Let’s get started!

Hygrophila Corymbosa Stats

Here are some quick stats about the Hygrophila Corymbosa, that we will discuss in detail further in the article:

Common names Hygrophila Corymbosa ,starhorn, temple plant, giant hygro
Scientific Name Hygrophila Corymbosa
Origin East Asia
Tank size 10 gallons
Substrate Fine gravel
Ease of Growing Easy
Aquascape Mid-ground
Height 3-5 inches
pH 5.5 to 8
hardness level 2-15dGH
Temperature 68-86 F
Growth Rate Fast Growing
Propagation Trimming and re-planting runners
Light Requirement Medium
CO2 Requirement CO2 injection is not required, but recommended for faster growth.

Hygrophila Corymbosa Overview

Hygrophila comes from the Greek words “hygros” and “philein”, which means moisture-attracting. This plant started growing in the US in 1979 and has spread throughout the world due to European aquarists who are fascinated by it.

However, Hygrophila Corymbosa originated from Southeast Asia in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and India. As we mentioned, it has spread to Mexico and the USA due to its uniqueness. Moreover, it thrives in tropical aquariums or other suitable ecological areas of the globe but flourishes best in the wild of southeast Asia.


The Hygrophila Corymbosa can be easily spotted because it is a distinct stem plant that has slender, long leaves with a pointy tip. The leaves are bright green, but they turn a darker shade when exposed to intense light. They occasionally also turn red, pink, or purple, but it depends on the lightning.

The Hygrophila Corymbosa grows fast, so it gets dense quickly, especially in its natural biotope. They can grow in a submerged or emerged state, yet they produce purple or pink flowers when partially submerged in the wild.

Growth Rate

The Hygrophila Corymbosa also known as temple plant grows to an average height of three to five inches in a tank but can grow up to 24 inches in their natural habitat. Furthermore, the Hygrophila Corymbosa compact does not grow so tall but attains a height of 10-15 inches. Hence, they are an excellent fit for smaller tanks. However, they do not grow as rapidly as the original Hygrophila Corymbosa variant. They thrive the most when you plant them at the front of the aquarium since they require intense light.

Why is the Hygrophila Corymbosa Popular?

Its popularity is mainly due to professionals culturing them in horticulture, plant nurseries, and aqua trade businesses. They would grow fully either partially submerged or emergent. Notably, some aquarists even stated that they dumped surplus Hygrophila Corymbosa in their garden, and it grew even without planting or care.

Hygrophila Corymbosa Care

To properly care for and maintain the Hygrophila Corymbosa, you must be willing to trim it weekly and nourish them with fertilizers. Aquarists have complained about their plants losing leaves at the bottom part of their stem. They don’t realize, however, that the leaves shed because they do not receive enough light as the top ones shield them from reaching the bottom So this is why it is critical to trim.

Below are other requirements to consider when caring for the Hygrophila Corymbosa.


Hygrophila Corymbosa or the giant hygro, is ideal for beginners as a starter plant in the aquaculture hobby. It is because it is not demanding and would easily grow in a different range of water conditions. The parameters may be natural or artificially set in a tank to fit its natural tropical biotope.

Tank Requirements

The Hygrophila Corymbosa needs a lot of space. This is because it grows from its stem into a tall bush, so it requires a minimum of 10 gallons tank size.

Water Parameters

The suitable temperature for the Hygrophila Corymbosa is between 68-86 F. In the wild, it enjoys the full intensity of sunlight, but moderate to intense lighting is adequate in a tank. The pH level of the water used should range between 5.5 to 8.0, while its hardness level is around 2-15 dGH.


Hygrophila Corymbosa is an aquatic plant that thrives in fine gravel. It is a perfect substrate for it because it allows the roots to remain firm and evenly distribute nutrients through the plants.


The Hygrophila Corymbosa thrives in moderate to intense light (5000-7000 k bulbs and ii-iii watts per gallon). Under intense lights, the leaves transform from green to red.

Hyrophila Corymbosa Nutrition

They require large quantities of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, so regular addition of liquid fertilizer is critical. It helps the plant to maintain its vibrant green colour. The Hygrophila Corymbosa can benefit from CO2 since it causes the plant to flourish, but if you begin to observe the leaves turning yellow, that indicates the plant has iron deficiency. The plant may also suffer from stunted growth if the macronutrients are not sufficient.

Hygrophila Corymbosa Tankmates

Hygrophila corymbosa tank matesThe Hygrophila Corymbosa do well with different kinds of tank mates (small fishes, snails, and crustaceans). Favorable tankmates for the Hygrophila Corymbosa are cyprinid schooling fishes like Trigonostigma Espei, Theteromorphy Rasboras, and Cryptocoryne, since they are peaceful and non-destructive. However, the aquarist should not pair them in an aquarium with goldfish and cichlids that dig and eat the plant’s leaves. They would pretty much make the plants bare in a very short time.

Purchasing Hygrophila Corymbosa

You can get the Hygrophila Corymbosa online in aquatic stores for three to four dollars. You can save quite a lot and give your aquarium a full look with little money, especially when you buy in bulk. Also, as they propagate easily, you can have a surplus to sell or gift other hobbyists.

How to Plant Hygrophila Corymbosa

The giant hygro should be left semi-immersed in an open tank because immersed plants tend to shed the bottom leaves. This is one of the reasons the leaves fall off when you initially plant them in your tank, but they recover and grow back quickly.


You can prune and trim the Hygrophila Corymbosa and then replant the trimmings. With time, they will develop new roots.

To properly propagate it, you should cut the top part of a healthy Hygrophila Corymbosa and plant it separately inside the substrate to give a fuller look. The side shoots would grow rapidly after pruning and produce baby staghorn which causes the plant to look denser.

Bonus: Tips on Planting Hygrophila Corymbosa

Below are some significant steps to consider when planting the Hygrophila Corymbosa:

  1. First, make sure the substrate is moist.
  2. Check the plants to find which of the side shoot is at least four inches.
  3. The inches are supposed to give the plant room to grow.
  4. Strip the leaves about an inch from the stem.
  5. The roots would grow out from the last node, which helps the plant remain in place.
  6. If necessary, you may use tweezers to help you place the side shoot trimmings deep into the substrate or water can cause them to float away.
  7. Place the side shoot according to height as you plant them with the tallest behind the group.
  8. You must not place them too close because the Hygrophila Corymbosa has long leaves that need enough space.
  9. We recommend that you place the plant diagonally and ensure it is secure.

Moreover, you should decide if you would like it as a background plant or in the middle of the tank. Both options are excellent choices as the Hygrophila Corymbosa grows tall and wide. However, since the Hygrophila Corymbosa is a stem plant, you cannot plant it on a hard surface like driftwoods and rocks.

Placement, Design, and Look

Underwater, you may plant the Hygrophila Corymbosa mid-ground or as a giant background bush. However, most hobbyists tend to lean towards full-leaved forms than compact. But they would generally use the plant to decorate their aquariums while paying attention to the height of the plant and the design they choose.

To obtain a fascinating effect on the Hygrophila Corymbosa, intensify the light and add iron supplements. After a while, you will notice how the green leaves will turn to different shades of bronze.

Furthermore, you can replant the trimmings by terraced grouping for an Asian-themed tank that imitates the Hygrophila Corymbosa biotope. While for a Dutch-style aquascape design, you can use the plant to create a street in your aquarium.

Hygrophila Corymbosa Subspecies

The Hygrophila Corymbosa has some popular subspecies. Although they are all starhorn, they are different variants of the plant. Below are brief descriptions of the subspecies:

Hygrophila Corymbosa Compact

Hygrophila Corymbosa compact is one of the variants of the Hygrophila Corymbosa. It originates from Asia, and it is denser than the original starhorn plant. It produces lateral shoots and has little or no gaps, giving it a thick yet compact look.

This variation has deep leafy green color before adapting in the nursery but turns a lighter green shade afterward. The underside of the Hygrophila Corymbosa compact leaves turns a silvery-white color, while its newer leaves are usually a distinct reddish-brown.

Hygrophila Corymbosa Siamensis

Hygrophila Corymbosa Siamensis is originally from Thailand. Its leaves are dense and light green. They are popular and great starter plants for beginners. Its stems are usually about six to 16 inches in length and four to six inches wide. They are easy to care for as well, which is another one of the benefits of this plant species.

Hygrophila Corymbosa Stricta

Hygrophila Corymbosa Stricta is another variation of the Hygrophila Corymbosa. Like both the original starhorn and the compact, it originates from Asia. However, it appears slightly different from both; its leaves are different, but it’s equally easy to tend.

The leaves are similar to the shape of an apple tree, and they change from a range of greenish hue to reddish-brown under intense light. They are beginner-friendly plants with low maintenance as they do not have any particularly intense need. They would grow even with low lightning source and little fertilizer and CO2 injections. Lastly, the Hygrophila Corymbosa stricta grows fast and can get to around 20 inches in height.

Benefits of the Hygrophila Corymbosa in Your Aquarium

There are several advantages of choosing to plant the Hygrophila Corymbosa for your aquarium set up; here are a few:

  • It absorbs the nitrates and ammonia in your tank, thus keeping it at a healthy level for your fish.
  • They help reduce the growth of algae in an aquarium.
  • It will provide a gorgeous background and a perfect hiding spot for smaller fishes.
  • The hygrophila covers a significant part of your aquarium because it grows fast; it would even fill a large tank in a short time.
  • They are also relatively affordable, hence they are quite popular in the aquatic hobby.
  • Their low care and maintenance needs are another huge selling point because they stay healthy even if the conditions they are living in are not ideal.


Here are some reasons why the Hygrophila Corymbosa is a great starter plant for your aquarium:

  • Hygrophila corymbosa care guideThey are undemanding and adapt to a wide range of habitat requirements
  • They grow rapidly to an average height of three to five inches
  • In the wild, Hygrophila Corymbosa can grow up to 24 inches
  • You can replant the pruned stems as a means of propagation
  • They have subspecies with similar features yet with expert knowledge are distinguishable

Your Hygrophila Corymbosa plant would remain healthy as long you meet the basic habitat needs. You can practice some tips we shared and plant your very own Hygrophila Corymbosa.

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