Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ Growing Guide – Updated for 2022 (growing, feeding & propagating)

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Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a truly unique plant whose leaves offer a stunning contrast against the traditional green of most aquarium plants. In my experience, this slow-growing plant grows well, even in lower light tanks, and is suitable for use in the midground of medium to larger tanks.

Originating from Sri Lanka, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is happiest when grown in harder water tanks with a nutrient-rich substrate.

Overview of Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a popular choice with aquascapers thanks to the amazing bronze leaves which have an almost hammered look to them. Growing slowly, and then only to around 8″ (20cm), Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ works well either as a solo specimen surrounded by other, greener plants or as part of a larger display.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ has a strong root system that anchors itself in the substrate where it feeds heavily from any nutrients it comes across.

This is an easy-to-grow plant that will grow in lower light conditions and without the addition of CO2 injection, although with high light and CO2 it does grow stronger and darker in color.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ Characteristics

Common Name:Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’
Origins:Sri Lanka
Care Level:Easy
Growth Rate:Slow to medium
Light Level:Any
C02 Level:Low
Tank Location:Midground
Temperature:72°F – 82°F (22°C – 27.5°C)
Propagation Method:Runners and Divison
Maximum Height:8″ (20cm)
Minimum Tank Size:20-gallons (76liters)

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ General Description

Fortunately, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is easier to grow than it is to say! This really is an easy-to-grow plant that is undemanding on both light and CO2.

Ideally grown as a midground plant, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ grows to around 8″ (20cm) tall, and given enough space, will grow almost flat against the substrate.

This plant originates from Sri Lanka in South Asia, where it naturally grows in mineral-rich waters, making it an ideal plant for growing in harder water. The leaves of Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ can be highly variable in color, becoming darker the more light they are given.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ really is an undemanding plant. It grows well in almost all conditions, although it really does appreciate the extra minerals that are available when grown in harder water.

This plant is hardy and grows well in a wide range of temperatures and light conditions.

Although Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ isn’t too fussy about water parameters, it does have its ideal parameters, which I have detailed out below.


Over the years I have grown Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ in a number of different setups which had varying water conditions. However, I have found it grows best when the water temperature is between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 27.5°C).

I have had Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ growing in tanks that ran colder than this, but the plant did not grow as well as it should.


Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ has really varied leaf colors, with the bronze color becoming darker the more light it is exposed to.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ will happily grow, even under what might be considered low light conditions. I currently grow many of my Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ under Fluval Aquasky lights, which are considered a moderate light fitting.

I also have one solo specimen growing in a tank under a Fluval Plant 3.0, and I have to agree, the leaves are a much more vibrant bronze color, almost a chocolate brown color. Stunning!

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Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


There are many plants in our hobby that benefit from the addition of CO2 injection. In my experience, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ does grow better, and probably slightly faster with CO2 injection, but will still grow really well in an aquarium that does not have CO2 injection.

If I were setting up a low-tech, non-CO2 tank today, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ would be one of my go-to plants.


The substrate is definitely one area where we can make our Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ happy. Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a heavy root feeder. Whilst it does absorb some nutrients through the leaves, it’s the roots where the real action takes place.

Using an enriched substrate like Eco-complete or ADA Aquasoil will give Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ a real boost of nutrients.

I currently grow my Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ in Fluval Stratum which is a substrate made by Fluval that has been specially designed for growing aquarium plants. I add plenty of root tabs to ensure I get strong, healthy growth (more on fertilizing below).

The image below shows one of my 155-gallon (600 liters) aquariums which is fully planted using Fluval Stratum. The plants thrive.

Truth be told, I have also grown Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ in normal aquarium gravel, again with the addition of root tabs, and the plant still grew really well.

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  • Preserves Water Quality: Ensures water clarity by preventing discoloration and effectively manages organic discoloration, especially in the presence of natural driftwood, while being specifically formulated for use in freshwater aquariums

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Grow Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a rooted plant that has to be grown directly into the substrate. This plant can not be grown as a floating plant.

This plant is almost always sold as a potted specimen. I am not sure I have ever seen it for sale as loose, individual plants.

When you are ready to plant your new Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ you need to start by carefully removing the plant from its pot. Usually, the roots will have grown out of the bottom of the pot, stopping the plant from being lifted out. You can safely cut these roots off using a sharp pair of scissors.

Once the plant has been removed from the pot, you will need to take off all the Rockwool. The easiest way to do this is to carefully split the Rockwool down the middle. It should come apart easily.

Image courtesy of Tropica Plants

Once the Rockwool has been split, the largest pieces of Rockwool should come away from the plant fairly easily.

Next, you will need to remove the small pieces of Rockwool which are no doubt all mixed in with the roots. I have found there are two ways to do this.

Firstly, carefully teasing out all the remaining Rockwool using a pair of aquascaping tweezers, and secondly by dipping the roots into a bowl of tank water and gently shaking the plant to wash out the last bits of Rockwool.

Once all the Rockwool has been removed, the roots can safely be trimmed to make planting easier. Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is very hardy and will not mind its roots being trimmed at all. In fact, in my experience root trimming encourages new, more vigorous roots to grow.

I would suggest reducing the roots to about 1″ – 1 1/2″ (2.5cm – 3.75cm) long using a sharp pair of scissors. Don’t be tempted to try breaking the roots off with your fingers, there is a good chance you will rip them off the plant altogether. Believe me, I’ve done it!

Image courtesy of Tropica Plants

After removing all the Rockwool and trimming the roots the next job is to split the bundle of plants that were in the pot into as many smaller plants as you can. Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is usually sold as 5 to 7 individual plants in a single pot.

When I plant Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ I like to spread all the plants out so I can clearly see how many I have, which allows me to work out my spacings.

Image courtesy of Tropica Plants

The final step is to actually plant the Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’.

I have found the best way to plant Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is using a pair of aquascaping tweezers. I have tried using my fingers on countless occasions, but I always seem to make a hole that is too big, and the plants just float back up to the surface.

Carefully grip each plant individually in the aquascaping tweezers, taking care not to crush the stem. Next, gently push each plant into the substrate, taking the time to go deeper than you actually want the plant, but then pulling it back up slightly before releasing it.

I have found that using this technique helps spread the roots of my plants out, giving the plants a better grip on the substrate.

What is Cryptocoryne Melt?

This seems like a good point to discuss the dreaded Cryptocoryne Melt or Crypt Melt as it is often referred to.

Cryptocoryne Melt is the phenomenon we often see when members of the Cryptocoryne plant family are added to a new tank. Cryptocoryne’s (and many other aquarium plants) are very sensitive to change. When we bring them home and plant them in our aquariums they can go into a shock-like state.

For the first few days after planting, everything seems fine. By day 3 or 4 one or two of the leaves may have begun to turn yellow and develop holes. By day 6 or 7 most of the leaves have essentially begun to die.

Before long the plant is completely leafless and appears dead. It is at this point that many aquarists pull the seemingly dead plant out of their tanks and throw them away, vowing never to buy plants again.

In fact, the plant hasn’t died, rather it is most likely just adapting to your water. If the dead leaves are removed and the plant is left alone, it will usually start to grow new leaves within about 10 to 14 days.

Fertilizing Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

As discussed above, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’, is a heavy root feeder that really does need to be given additional nutrients, either in the form of an enriched substrate, or using root tabs.

As I don’t have too many tanks with an enriched substrate, I tend to use a lot of root tabs. Root tabs are small capsules filled with fertilizer that we can bury in the substrate of our aquariums.

I tend to put 3 or 4 root tabs around the plants I am planting, usually about 2″ (5cm) from the main plant. If I am planting a whole patch of Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ I will probably use 1 or 2 root tabs for every plant.

Depending on the brand, the root tabs usually last around 4 to 6 months.

Over the years I have tried many different brands of root tabs, with varying levels of success. Currently, I mainly use Flourish Root Tabs which are made by Seachem. They seem to really give the plants a boost.

Seachem Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement - Aquatic Plant Stimulant 10 ct
  • GROWTH TREATMENT: Seachem Flourish Tabs are growth stimulating tablets for plant roots which contain essential trace elements, amino acids, and vitamins.
  • VITAMINS: Seachem Flourish Tabs are rich in iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, inositol, choline B12, biotin, and other factors that have been determined to be beneficial to aquatic plant roots.
  • NUTRIENTS: When inserted into the gravel, Seachem Flourish Tabs provide direct, time-released fertilization to the plants’ root zone. Nutrients are slowly made available through enzymatic action of the plants’ roots on the tabs.
  • TANK USE: Insert one Flourish Tab in the gravel for every 10–15 cm (4–6 in.) radius. A standard 10 gallon aquarium requires 6 tabs. Distribute the tablets evenly throughout the gravel bed, pushing each tablet midway into the gravel bed.
  • COMPLETE MAINTENANCE: For optimal plant growth, add new Flourish Tabs to the aquarium once every three to four. Seachem Flourish Tabs will not alter pH, however, in very soft or unbuffered water, they have slightly acidic properties similar to peat moss.

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ Maintenance

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a fairly low-maintenance plant that needs little in the way of day-to-day care.

In many of my tanks with Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ growing, the only maintenance I ever carry out is the removal of dead or dying leaves, and that doesn’t happen very often. This isn’t really a plant that needs trimming as a stem plant might.

If you decide your Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is getting too big, individual leaves can either be cut off using a sharp pair of scissors or more often just pulled from the main plant using your fingers.

Propagating Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is easy to propagate in the home aquarium. In fact, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ tends to propagate itself in the aquarium by sending out runners under the substrate.

Often the first we fishkeepers know is when a new plant pops up through the substrate.

Left untamed, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ would happily take over an entire aquarium. I have numerous tanks in my fish room that are full of just Cryptocoryne Wendtii, although they are Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘green’, another strain of this fantastic plant.

If you wanted to actively propagate your Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ the best way to do so is via root division.

To divide a Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ you simply take a mature plant from the aquarium, taking time to wash any substrate off the roots. Using either a sharp knife or just with your hands, divide the plant up into as many smaller plants as you can.

A large clump can often be divided up into 10 or 15 smaller plants. Each individual plant can then be replanted, either back into the same aquarium, or spread across new tanks. Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a great plant to grow and sell for a profit.

What Other Plants Can Grow With Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’?

Because of its slow-growing nature, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ can be grown with so many different plants. Personally, I like to contrast the bronze, textured leaves against smooth, green leaves.

In my fish room right now I have Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ growing with the following plants;

Mermaid Weed

Mermaid Weed, which is also known as Saw-Tooth Hygro thanks to the saw-like edges to its leaves, is one of the most dramatic plants in the aquascaping hobby. Not only do the leaves have a stunning natural shape, but they also change from green to deep pink when conditions are right.

Although not the easiest of plants to grow, the rewards for growing this plant are huge as a good specimen of Mermaid Weed makes any aquascape look amazing.

Amazon Sword Plant

Amazon Sword plants are probably one of the most recognizable plants, and certainly one of the most popular plants in the freshwater fishkeeping hobby. Amazon Sword plants have been in the hobby for 50 years or more, and their popularity has barely wained.

Amazon Sword plants are beautiful, architectural, and incredibly hardy, making them an ideal plant for those who are new to aquatic plants.

As I sit and look around my fish room, I think I have more Amazon Sword plants in my tanks than any other plant.

Hygrophila Corymbosa

Temple Plant, which is also known by its scientific name Hygrophila corymbosa, is one of the hardiest and easy to grow plants available to hobbyists today. This bright green plant makes an ideal background plant for any aquarium.

Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus

Fortunately, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus is easier to grow than it is to say! In fact, Pogostemon Stellastus Octopus is one of the easiest stem plants to grow. It is practically bulletproof.

This beautiful plant quickly grows to fill any space it is planted in. Whilst not necessarily one for a highly aquascaped tank, it certainly has its uses. I especially like to use Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus in all my breeding fish for profit tanks.

Dwarf Hairgrass

Many of the plants that we can use to create these carpets require special lights and lots of dedication from the fish keeper. Dwarf Hairgrass is the exception. This low-growing, grass-like plant will create a lush carpet with very little help from us fishkeepers.

Water Sprite

Water Sprite is one of the easiest stem plants to grow in an aquarium. Whether grown traditionally as a rooted plant, or as a floating specimen, Water Sprite will quickly grow and fill your aquarium with lush green, fern-like foliage.

Water Sprite can be grown either as a background, mid-ground, or foreground plant, and just trimmed accordingly to be kept at the desired size.

What Fish Can Live With Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’?

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is tough and can stand up to all but the roughest of fish. Over the years I have kept many different ‘community-style’ fish in tanks with my Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’. At the moment I have the following in tanks with it.

I think it is fair to say, any fish that would be considered suitable for a community aquarium could be safely kept with Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’.

What Fish To Avoid With Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Although a very hardy plant, large, boisterous fish, can quickly damage Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’. I would not try growing it with larger, South American Cichlids like Oscars, Jack Dempseys, or Green Terrors. I would also avoid African Cichlids as they are well-known plant destroyers.

If you were looking for plants that were suitable to be grown in with African Cichlids, I would consider giving Java Fern a try. I have grown Java Fern in numerous African Cichlid tanks. They don’t seem to pay it any attention.

I have grown a lot of different Cryptocoryne plants with both Common and Fancy Goldfish, but I haven’t yet tried Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’. I suspect it would stand up to the battering they would give it, but only if it was well-established first. Goldfish would quickly dig up newly planted specimens.

The photo below shows two of my Fantail Goldfish living with a well-established clump of Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘green’.

Benefits of Growing Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

I am not sure you will find a bigger fan of growing live tropical aquarium plants than me. I have them in pretty much every single aquarium I own.

The benefits to growing live plants are many, but as far as I am concerned, the three main benefits to growing a plant like Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ are as follows.

Firstly, in my opinion, adding live aquarium plants to a tank just gives the whole setup a natural feel. Whilst I appreciate there is nothing natural about the collection of fish we place into a glass box filled with water, but it does somehow look more natural with live plants.

Secondly, live plants provide both line of sight blocks and hiding places. Having both these means that fish who are been bullied can get away from the bully, and females who might be being hassled by males wanting to spawn can hide from the males. It also means any baby fish born in the aquarium have somewhere to hide, reducing the chances of the other fish eating them.

Finally, and probably most importantly, as live aquarium plants grow they absorb excess nutrients from the water column. These excess nutrients are often in the form of ammonia and nitrate, both of which are toxic to fish and result when the fish go to the bathroom.

Any aquarium with live aquatic plants growing in it is a cleaner, healthier place than it otherwise would be.

Common Problems with Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

The most common problem this plant suffers from is Crypt Melt, which I discussed above. Other than that, this is a fairly problem-free plant to grow.

Occasionally a leaf or two may turn yellow and die, but these can be removed when noticed. If multiple leaves on an established plant start to turn yellow or die, it may be a sign that additional fertilizer is required (again, see more above). What typically happens is that we start off adding a set amount of fertilizer each week. However, as the plants grow, we don’t increase the amount of fertilizer, meaning after a few months we are simply not adding enough.

Where to Buy Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is not sold in local fish stores as often as it should be. I feel this is an excellent plant that everyone can grow, no matter their skill levels.

Ask your local fish store if they have this plant, or if they can order you some. If not, I have had really good luck buying live aquarium plants from The selection tends to be wider than in stores, and in my experience, the quality tends to be really good.

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In Conclusion

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is an attractive, hardy aquatic plant that is undemanding and easy to grow. Even for those who are new to growing aquatic plants, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ will grow well, almost no matter what setup it is grown in.

Remember, there is a good chance Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ will melt within a few days of adding it to your aquarium, but don’t throw it away, leave it to regrow and it will give you many years of pleasure.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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