Hygrophila Difformis (Water Wisteria):
Essential Guide

Are you looking for a water plant for a new addition to your aquarium? Prefer to get a new aquatic plant easy to care?

Then consider getting a Hygrophila Difformis for your aquarium. Also known as water wisteria.

Trust me, it can change your life forever. 

Imagine coming home from work tired and exhausted, then you stare at the aquarium, and end up having your worries fade away. 

The plant's peaceful movement will instill a sense of peace and tranquility in your life, this is the reason why a lot of offices have calming aquariums with exotic fish and plants like the wisteria.

hygrophila difformis featured
hygrophila difformis care

The good new is, water wisteria is an easy to grow plant even for beginners.

Some people might suggest the plant is difficult to grow. We can assure you it's incorrect, they don't have the proper insight or knowledge about these plants.

In this article, we'll discuss the tools and insights about these gorgeous, luscious plants that make an excellent addition to your aquarium.

They offer excellent decor and a place for your fish to play hide and seek, and with the proper information and tools, you can be a Hygrophila Difformis expert in no time.

Table of Contents

Let's get started, shall we? This is a long-form article, you can navigate to each section quickly by clicking any of the buttons below.

Why should you get Water Wisteria?

Out of the hundreds of reasons we can list (dramatized intended), we compiled the 5 best you should know:

  1. Just like anemone acting as a home for clown fish, Hygrophila Difformis can be the anemone for your aquarium fish. It's a perfect place for your fish to hide.
  2. Its leaves are nutritious for your fish to eat. A huge perk!
  3. Extremely easy to breed. It's a matter of re-planting the cut-offs from trimming.
  4. In terms of aesthetic, it's a great addition.
  5. The last but not the least, Water Wisteria's floating motion is peaceful, so it will reduce your stress and blood pressure as you stare at your aquarium.

A misconception about the Water Wisteria


Many claim these plants are more demanding than other famous aquarium plants such as Java fern, Java Moss, or Anubias.

But in reality, it's false. Hygrophila Difformis is suitable even for beginners.

Many new coming plant enthusiasts have claimed they could grow Water Wisteria with little to no experience with planted aquariums. 

Sounds promising right?

Hygrophila Difformis Origin

hygrophila difformis map

Scientifically, Water Wisteria is from the Acanthaceae family.

And as we've already discussed above, its Latin a.k.a scientific name is "Hygrophila Difformis".

Geographically, It's originally from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. If you plan to visit one of these countries to get the plant by your own hands, we suggest you look for them in shallow waters. It can be easily identified by finely branched light green leaves flowing above the water.

And don't forget to only search in the wild during rainy season because they rarely show up during dry season.

How does Hygrophila Difformis look..

It's often green with luscious leaves and thrives in the water.

In less than optimal lighting conditions, it can still do well, depending on the exposure.

Hygrophila Difformis is heterophylly, a phenomenon which a plant grow dissimilar leaves in response to numerous environmental conditions. So next time, don't confuse yourself when you find one with different looking leaves. It's totally normal.

How big/small is the plant?

It can grow to be anywhere between twenty to fifty centimeters with a width of roughly fifteen to twenty-five centimeters. Due to its size, it makes an excellent place for fish and other species to hide. However, we don't recommend the plant for small tanks. 

water wisteria origin

Hygrophila Difformis Care

When you provide the plant with high-quality water with the proper amount of light, it should thrive well in most aquariums.

Just like any other aquatic plant, Wisteria also needs similar ingredients others need.

When you think of keeping aquarium plants, the following are their 3 most basic needs:

  1. They need primary factors such as light, carbon dioxide, and essential nutrients.
  2. They will do well with subdued fluorescent or incandescent lights.
  3. Co2-wise, if your aquarium has enough fish, they usually generate sufficient Co2 for the plant, which means it rarely needs any additional carbon dioxide booster.

At a Glance

OriginIndia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan
Size20 to 50 centimeters
Light demandLow (10-20 hours/day)
Co2 demandLow

Plant Temperature

H. Difformis thrives best in the temperature range of 18-30°C.

The water's temperature plays a vital role in determining the shape and structure of the leaves. When the temperature is high, they will grow larger with more space between each leaf than they would do in colder temperatures.

The amount of Lights these plants need

Keep in mind that aquarium plants should get enough artificial lights. Wisteria is no exception, and as a rule of thumb, it should get around ten to twelve hours per day to flourish in the aquarium.

Intense light conditions have the effect of encouraging cyanobacteria and algae growth in aquariums, but this will not cause any problem because of Water Wisteria's high nutrient requirements.

The plant's high nutrient absorption can deprive bacteria and algae of their nutritional needs for growth, therefore will lead to the death of these organisms before they can cause any harm.

Substrates for the plant

You can add quality substrate to aid the roots of the plant to hold tightly in the aquarium. A quality substrate would be one that has the complete essential nutrients required for plants to grow and thrive.

Why do we need mechanical filters?

Everyone knows filter is an essential aspect of a thriving aquarium, but not everyone knows how to choose the correct one.

In addition, it's essential to make sure you install the mechanical filters that will not cause too much surface splashing. This will keep the plants in your aquarium undisturbed and at peace.

Are CO2 injection and Liquid water fertilizers necessary?

Although unnecessary, Hygrophila Difformis could benefit from Co2 injections and liquid water fertilizers.

If you apply the liquid water fertilizer, especially the ones that contain Iron, the plant will experience a major growth and health benefits.

Water Wisteria Propagation?

Water wisteria propagation is pretty simple.

In high nutrient environments, your plant will grow like crazy, so it might be necessary to prune it once a month.

Cutting off excessive leaves and structure of the plant will give it the opportunity to grow new plants.

Water Wisteria Propagation

It's time to breed them!

Since Hygrophila Difformis is a stem plant, you can breed them easily.

All you have to do is replant the top you cut off while pruning. The new roots will form, which shares the similarity of the regeneration process that acts the same way when you cut off a lizards tail.

Types of fish to put with your wisteria aquarium

Hygrophila Difformis is friendly and is compatible with most types of fish, but, it's best to keep them with smaller fish.

The larger fish could damage the thin leaves of the plant. They do well with smaller non-cichlid fish and should never live with goldfish.

Why can't they live with goldfish?

From the plant's perspective, they fish are monsters that will devour the plant and leave you nothing, but a floating lonely stem.

wisteria aquarium

There you have it..

A brief guide on Hygrophila Difformis.

We have all the information you need to be a successful parent to these plants. With this guide, you'll find that adding these plants in your tank may not be as hard as you think. It's going to be enjoyable to witness the natural beauty of your water wisteria in your aquarium.

Although the lighting conditions have to be more intense than the other plants like Java Fern, the Water Wisteria easy to plant and care. 

So... will you get the plant for your planted tank? 

Featured image and in-post images by Tropica

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3 comments on “Hygrophila Difformis (Water Wisteria) Essential Guide”

  1. I'm using Hygrophila difformia in a outdoor barrel fountain with goldfish. From what I'm reading this plant will NOT kill the goldfish. But that the fish may eat the plant. So all I have to worry about is that the plant can be consumed and I'm just out the cost of the plant. Right?

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