Anacharis najas is considered a beneficial plant because it helps control algae growth in ponds and aquariums as well as being used as an oxygenator in aquariums and ponds. The narrow leaf anacharis can be used in freshwater or saltwater aquariums, but make sure to do your research on how it will affect the other fish and plants before adding it to your tank.
A hardy, low-maintenance aquatic plant commonly known as narrow leaf anacharis or egeria najas, Anacharis najas is one of the most popular aquarium plants in the world. Native to the southern United States, they are one of the few aquarium plants that can tolerate colder water temperatures than most other species. More importantly, they don’t require a large amount of lighting or intense filtration like other popular aquarium plants, making them easy to grow even with basic equipment and a limited budget.
We’ll learn about Anacharis Najas (Narrow Leaf Anacharis) and its many benefits, whether it be used in aquariums or as a decorative pond plant. Let’s get started!
What Is Anacharis?
Anacharis is a genus of herbaceous aquatic plants, it can be found in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout much of North America. The plant consists of long stems covered in whorls of small, rounded leaves. It is valued as a plant for aquatic habitats because it grows quickly and produces oxygen at night while other plants are sleeping.
For most people, anacharis najas will only ever exist in aquariums or water gardens. For gardeners who want to add some underwater greenery to their outdoor spaces, they may choose to use Narrow Leaf Anacharis instead.
This is because Narrow Leaf Anacharis isn’t invasive like its cousin; although it’s not exactly difficult to grow, its large size means that aquarists should think carefully before adding it to their tanks.
Origin and distribution
The narrow leaf anacharis originates in South America and is found throughout many regions of tropical and sub-tropical countries. It is typically native to slow-moving waters like ponds, ditches, and canals but also can be found in swamps and lakes.
Due to its widespread distribution, it is considered a weed in some areas. Though anacharis najas originated in South America, today it has been spread around most of Europe as well as Asia and North America due to its popularity with aquarium owners. In these places, it has escaped from aquaria and begun to thrive in local bodies of water.
This aquatic plant is propagated by stem cuttings or division. You can buy rooted stem cuttings from most garden stores and mail-order businesses; these should be planted into pots of water. If you’re dividing, simply dig up an established clump, divide it in two and replant as above.
They will grow extremely quickly but are very hardy as long as they have plenty of light and a nutrient-rich water supply. The species has been reported to survive temperatures down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celsius), but I recommend keeping them indoors if possible during the winter months.
If kept outside, a floating shelter, like one of those used for pond plants, will help protect your plant from winter wind damage. Narrow leaf anacharis doesn’t spread via seeds, so if you want more plants, either you’ll need to propagate them yourself or find someone who already has some that they want to give away.
General care information
When it comes to maintenance, narrow leaf anacharis is pretty low-maintenance. In fact, when planted in a community aquarium, it can even spread out and form larger clumps for you. When left alone in a healthy aquarium environment with minimal disturbance from you or your fish, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have to worry about taking care of your anacharis najas at all.
Narrow leaf anacharis (Egeria najas) is a light-demanding aquatic plant. It requires at least 4 hours of bright light per day to maintain optimum health and color. If leaves begin to turn yellow, move the plant to a brighter location or add more light. Additionally, if algae begin to grow in the aquarium, cut back on light duration and intensity. Without adequate lighting, Egeria can be prone to algae growth.
The substrate/potting mix should have a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 or be slightly acidic to neutral. It should be nutrient-rich and easy to maintain, although there are many other plants that don’t mind a little extra work when it comes to nutrients.
They actually prefer a rich substrate so they can grow healthy and strong while they decorate your tank! Since these plants will be potted in the substrate, make sure you use only fresh soil from a reputable source.
Anacharis najas is a tropical, submersed plant that generally grows best in warm water with soft alkaline or neutral pH. It requires 1 to 2 inches of lighting per week and regular fertilization with plant-based nutrients. The potting medium should remain moist at all times. The narrow leaf anacharis does not respond well to winter cooling and may die when subjected to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time.
No matter which type of fish you have, Anacharis najas will do best with regular applications of high-quality fertilizer. There are many different types on the market; follow label instructions to make sure you use them correctly. Liquid fertilizers are easiest to apply and tend to dissolve faster than others, but they can lead to algae growth if not used properly. Be sure to dilute your fertilizer at least one-part water for every two parts fertilizer.
The average temperature of the water will determine how deep to propagate your plants. The ideal temperature for growth is about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be attained with a fish tank heater or an electric plant heater. If you are planting anacharis in a freshwater pond, it is important to leave some space between these plants and other aquatic plants because anacharis are not able to tolerate colder temperatures than many other species of aquatic plants.
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers says that high humidity will slow down transpiration in egeria najas, making them more tolerant to regular watering. According to an Ohio State University Extension fact sheet, plants like egeria najas may prefer lower levels of water and may do better in more arid environments. These claims have not been proven with extensive research; however, high humidity seems to benefit narrow leaf anacharis over other varieties.
An ideal humidity range is 60 to 80% with an optimum of 70%. When you are growing anacharis najas in your aquarium, it is important to keep a close eye on your relative humidity levels. If they get too low, you may notice that your plants begin to lose their leaves or start to rot. If they get too high, you may notice that your plant’s growth slows down and its leaves become droopy. A hygrometer can help you monitor these levels more easily.
The pruning season for najas is during late fall and winter when plants are usually semi-dormant. This is because excessive pruning of live plant material at any other time can actually stimulate growth. After cutting off dead leaves and stems with shears or pruners, gently remove any remaining live roots by hand. The best way to do so is to squeeze them between your thumb and index finger; they should pull right out if they’re still alive.
When to repot
Repot your anacharis najas into a larger container only when it’s already outgrown its old one—if you try to repot an overgrown plant, you may actually kill it. If necessary, transplant multiple clumps into one container. (Repot only in spring or summer.) Water often but not too much; anacharis najas like damp soil but shouldn’t be left standing in water.
In their native habitats, anacharis najas can go dormant throughout winter. When it’s dormant, all of its underwater leaves will fall off, but it will still have a few of its aerial leaves. However, if you place them in your aquarium in colder weather and try to force them into dormancy, they won’t work. Most likely because their environment is colder than what they would be used to at home, forcing your plant into dormancy in cold weather could kill it.
Flowers & Fragrance
The flowers of Anacharis najas are small and inconspicuous, so they’re usually used as filler in flower arrangements. The green stems with their yellow-tinted leaves form a delightful contrast against any backdrop.
This arrangement works well for seasonal or tropical home decorations. Narrow leaf anacharis is also well known for its sweet, pleasant fragrance that resembles vanilla or wintergreen oil. The scent stays with your home long after you remove these plants from your vase!
The average growth rate of an Anacharis plant is 6 to 12 inches per year. In its first year, an Anacharis plant can grow up to 24 inches tall. It should be noted that plants grown in poorly aerated water tend to have stunted growth and may not reach their full potential height. The proper environment will ensure your plant has a healthy start and develops into a lush green aquatic landscape.
Anacharis najas will grow best in medium lighting conditions with a temperature between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant will reach its maximum size around six to eight weeks, but if you move it into direct sunlight, it may stunt its growth rate. The narrow leaf anacharis grows in soil or water and can survive for about two months underwater before dying. However, new shoots will grow from below water level so you can replant your anacharis back into freshwater when desired.
Anacharis najas are not particularly toxic, but it does produce free radicals in aquarium water. This process can stress fish and irritate gills, as well as cause redness and tissue damage. If you plan to introduce anacharis najas into your tank, keep in mind that you may need to prepare extra filtration or consider adding an algae-eater fish to manage it. The more anacharis najas you add, however, the greater these problems become.
USDA Hardiness Zones
Most varieties of anacharis najas can survive in USDA Hardiness Zones 6-11. If you live in a particularly cold climate, you may want to plant narrow leaf anacharis in pots that can be brought indoors during winter. Be sure to choose high-quality soil for indoor planting. If a pot does not have drainage holes, add them with drill bits and sandpaper. Make sure you keep the soil moist during winter; too much water can damage or even kill potted plants.
Pests and diseases
Narrow leaf anacharis can be affected by a variety of pests and diseases. To prevent problems, keep your aquarium clean and limit algae growth as much as possible.
As with many other plants, Anacharis Najas is susceptible to a number of common pests and diseases. For example, gardeners may find themselves dealing with nematodes that feed on roots, or an infestation of snails and slugs. In order to avoid infestations like these and keep your plant healthy, you’ll need to take proper care of it.
Health benefits of narrow leaf anacharis?
Anacharis najas provides several health benefits to those who are looking for a natural way to fight common ailments. Narrow leaf anacharis is often used as a treatment for allergic rhinitis, which is characterized by sneezing, itching, and a runny nose due to allergy-induced inflammation in your nasal passages.
Additionally, narrow leaf anacharis also helps with respiratory problems like asthma. When you inhale it, narrow leaf anacharis works to dilate your bronchial tubes and relieve spasms that cause wheezing or shortness of breath.
It can also be used as a laxative because it stimulates peristalsis, which is when your intestines contract and push digested food forward through your digestive tract. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce pain associated with arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.