Hygrophila Corymbosa Guide

Published on May 28, 2019
Hygrophila Corymbosa Guide

Why Hygrophila Corymbosa?

A simple plant like Hygrophila Corymbosa can create a magnificent underwater view when in equilibrium with other aquatic plant and fish species.

The giant hygro is a stem plant that exhibits an array of coloration from dark green to pink that can eventually turn to magenta.

However, this color variation depends upon illumination, additional doses of iron, and utmost care.

It can also produce dainty purple flowers when health is at its best. In all its simplicity, the plant exudes a brilliant green color, the dominant color in the aquascape.

Origin and Distribution: Where it Came From

temple plant origin

Hygrophila Corymbosa is indigenous to selected countries of Southeast Asia like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and India.

However, it is not endemic or just limited to its defined geographic zone in Asia because it also grows in the USA and Mexico, where they say it to be exotic and unique.

Although the plant can survive in tropical aquariums or some of its ecological location in the globe, it cannot thrive well as compared to its abundance in the wild of Southeast Asia.

Its widespread distribution in many countries now is mainly because of possible culturing these in plant nurseries, horticulture and aqua trade industries.

Hobbyists also contribute to its reproduction while the plant is in captivity under their care.

Scientific Classification

  • Species: Hygrophila corymbosa
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Family: Acanthaceae
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Genus: Hygrophila


Common Names:

  • hygrophila corymbosa siamensis
  • starhorn
  • temple plant
  • giant hygro

Binomial name:

  • Hygrophila corymbosa
  • Lindau


  • Justicia
  • Nomaphila corymbosa
  • Nomaphila stricta var. corymbosa,

Ecological Variants:

When you try to find one in the marketplace or local store, be aware that this plant has many variants.

Some of the most famous ones are Stricta, Crispa, Gracilis, Glabra, Aroma, Strigosa, Angustifolia, Fine Leaf, Willow Leaf, Compacta, Red.

Hygrophila Corymbosa 101

hygrophila corymbosa careThe hygrophila corymbosa siamensis is a stem plant that you can easily recognize because of its long, slim leaves which are lanceolate up to the tip.

The height of this plant can average a length of 3-5 inches when grown in a tank. They are healthier and have the possibility of growing up to 24 inches when grown in its natural habitat.

Its leaves are vibrant green, but they can turn darker if exposed to heavy light. Occasionally, the leaves may turn to pink, red or purple depending on the plant’s reaction to the intensity of light.

The temple plant is a fast-growing species when maintained in a suitable environment; therefore, the plant can easily be dense as it takes on its cycle in a shorter period. How much more when left in the biotope of where it hailed from?

Like a lot of aquatic herb and stem species, this plant can also grow in emersed or submerged forms. When in the open wild, and partially submerged, the Hygrophila Corymbosa can produce pink to purple flowers.


The giant hydro as they commonly call it is a right starter plant for beginners in the aquaculture hobby. It is never demanding and can adapt in a diverse range of water parameters, be it in an aquarium or in select geographic locations other than the tropical region where it is native to.

Maintenance and Water Parameters

Since the hygrophila corymbosa siamensis plant can grow fast, it is vital to keep it well-maintained, trimmed and nourished with extra nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia plus an additional injection of CO2. A rich substrate is always a must; that is a rule of thumb.

To get a stimulating effect on its leaves, add more iron supplement, aside from intensifying its light needs. The reaction will delight you when in a short time, the colored green leaves will transform into hues of bronze.

Somehow, the plant tends to show signs of deficiency in iron, like when grown in high light and its veins and the surrounding tissue turn yellowish instead of maintaining a bright green color. Likewise, stunting problems may occur in fast-growing plant species if some macronutrient is too low.

Maintenance for these plants is just natural because it is not a demanding species. It would need a lot of hours at first, but in the long run, you only need regular pruning. Sooner, the plant gives off a more compact bushy appearance.

Recommended Water Parameters:

  • Temperature: 20-30°C or 68-86°F
  • H2O Hardness: 2 -15dh (very soft to hard)
  • The range of pH level: 5.5 - 8

Light Preference:

Moderate to intense illumination when in a tank

Total exposure to sunlight when in the wild

Propagation Instructions

When underwater you have the option to place it in the middle or as a giant massive bush in the background, therefore a lot of aquarium hobbyists would prefer full-leafed forms that are not compact. They will arrange them; however, they want it and grow them in whatever height they prefer to dramatize a concept in mind.

You can trim the excesses for much orderly stand and let the trimmings grow new roots as is. You may opt to cut the top of the healthy giant hygro to replant each one of them separately in the substrate to develop a much fuller look.

Take note that after pruning, the side shoots won’t take time to appear. It produces continuously on its own, creating baby staghorn contributing further to the plant’s density.

You can also replant the cuttings by terraced grouping as in Asian-themed aquarium depicting its biotope. For tank mates and assortment with other aquatic plants, you can join in Cryptocoryne and some cyprinid schooling fish species like T. heteromorphy rasboras or Trigonostigma espei. The harmony it will create is just soothing to one’s sight.


The giant hygro is a modest choice for novice aquarium enthusiasts. As the best starter plants could be the immersed type, the submersed ones are more pleasing to the view.

Why not purchase a simple yet attractive plant like the staghorn? Either which way you can plant it deep in the substrate; partially submerged or floating on the water surface.

The temple plant looks vibrant in cichlids and Dutch aquaria. As long as there is an equilibrium for all the biota in your small environment, including fish and aquatic plants as tank mates, there is a very slim chance that this temple plant will not survive.

The report has it they know the plant to combat the spread of algae and has a property of absorbing nitrates and ammonium.

The art of aquaculture is a rewarding hobby, even if you are a beginner or an experienced one. Underwater landscaping is an enjoyable yet an effortful hobby of which it can be difficult from the start but minimal work in the long run.

Everything will pay off when you can view the fruit of your labor, a well-planted and highly conceptualized aquarium that your passion calls for.

Finally, nothing compares with the green; the Hygrophila Corymbosa which when mixed with other colorful aquatic plant species can offer a calming, relaxing sight when viewed near or far. We always believe that green refreshes tired eyes.







Featured image by Tropica

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