Temple Plant (Hygrophila corymbosa) Ultimate Care Guide 2022

In recent years there has been a massive rise in the popularity of planted aquariums. The high number of professional aquascapers showing their skills on YouTube has given rise to a whole generation of fish keepers who are now interested in growing aquatic plants.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

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.

Overview of Temple Plant

Temple Plant is an easy-to-grow stem plant that is suitable for new and experienced fishkeepers alike. It will happily grow in any tank providing it has moderate light (meaning just about any commercially available aquarium light).

Temple Plant is one of my favorite aquatic plants to use along the back of my aquariums. Reaching almost 24″ (60cm) high, it quickly creates a wall of green all along the back of the tank.

Temple Plant is not only easy to grow but also easy to propagate, meaning with a little care and attention you can create yourself an almost endless supply.



Temple Plant Characteristics

Common Name:Temple Plant, Starhorn, or Giant Hygro
Scientific Name:Hygrophila corymbosa
Family:Acanthaceae
Origins:Southeast Asia
Care Level:Easy
Growth Rate:Fast
Light Level:Low
C02 Level:Low
Temperature:72°F – 82°F (22°C – 27.5°C)
Color:Green
Maximum Height:24″ (60cm)
Minimum Tank Size:10-Gallons (38 liters)

Temple Plant Origins

This fast-growing, easy to care for plant is indigenous to freshwater streams and rivers in many countries across Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Singapore. Largely thanks to the aquarium trade, this plant has spread to many other areas of the world where it now grows.

Temple Plant is incredibly hardy, making it an ideal plant for those new to fish keeping or aquascaping.

This plant can also be grown out of the water, which makes it an ideal choice for those wishing to set up paludariums or for anyone who wishes to grow plants out the top of a lidless aquarium.

Temple Plant Natural Habitat

In the wild, Temple Plant is found across much of Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Singapore. Its preferred habitat is the slower-flowing freshwater rivers and streams, where it grows both in and out of the water.

Largely due to the aquarium trade, Temple Plant now grows wild across many tropical parts of the world including the USA and Mexico.

Temple Plant General Description

Temple Plant is a fast-growing stem plant that grows straight and true as it reaches for the surface. The stems of this plant are dark green to almost black with the broad leaves being bright green to an almost golden-green color.

Whilst on the face of it this plant seems like a fairly uniform color, it makes an excellent addition to even the most carefully aquascaped aquarium.

As the plant grows upwards, broad leaves form in pairs on either side of the main stem. The very tip of the plant typically has 4 to 6 leaves, which will form into pairs as the stem grows.

The nature of the way Temple Plant grows often leads to the uppermost leaves shading out their lower counterparts. On very tall stems this often leads to the bottom 6″ to 12″ (15cm to 30cm) having no leaves at all.

Temple Plant roots easily and can be propagated simply by cutting a stem in half, and carefully pushing the top section back into the aquarium substrate.



Ideal Tank Conditions for Temple Plant

Temple Plant is incredibly versatile and will happily grow in a variety of tank setups. In my own fish room, I have it growing in a large number of tanks, and those tank setups vary greatly.

Although Temple Plant grows tall, it is so easy to keep under control that it is often used in smaller tanks as well as larger ones. I have grown it in tanks as small as 10-gallons (38 liters). I also have it as a huge clump in a 155-gallon (600 liters) tank.

As mentioned above, Temple Plant is not fussy at all about what substrate it is grown in. Over the years I have grown it in sand, in gravel, in Fluval Stratum, and in many other commercially available substrates. I have to say, in my experience, it grows about the same in all of them.

Temple Plant does not need a great deal of light to grow. It is considered a low light plant, meaning it will grow using just about an aquarium light on the market. I use a lot of Fluval Aquasky lights in my fish room, and these certainly make it grow tall and strong.

I have found the ideal growing temperature for Temple Plant to be around 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 27.5°C). Because it grows happily at slightly lower temperatures, I find Temple Plant to be a great plant to add to my Fancy Goldfish tanks.

I haven’t found adding CO2 to be necessary with this plant. Whilst it will grow stronger with added CO2, it grows just fine without it.



Caring for Temple Plant

Temple Plant really doesn’t require a lot of additional care from us, fish keepers. Give it the ideal setup, make sure it has at least some light, and it will grow.

I have to say though, with the addition of some aquarium fertilizer, Temple Plant will grow faster (not always what you want) as well as bushier and greener.

As aquarium plants grow they absorb nutrients either from the substrate via their roots, or directly from the aquarium water via their leaves and stems. Temple Plant feeds mainly through its roots, although it does also absorb nutrients directly from the water column.

By adding either root tabs directly into the substrate, or a liquid fertilizer directly into the aquarium water, you will notice your Temple Plant appears a lot healthier.



There is no doubt, if you grow Temple Plant in anything other than a very large tank, you will at some point need to trim it. Trimming Temple Plant is a relatively straightforward procedure. Simply take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the stem, just above a pair of leaves, at whatever height you want the plant to be.

Temple Plant will quickly grow back, usually with a pair of stems growing from the top of the cut stem.

The top part of the cutting can be carefully pushed into the gravel where it will quickly root and grow into a new plant.

What Fish Can Temple Plant be Housed With?

Temple Plant is tough and hardy and can be kept with just about any plant-safe fish. I use it in a lot of my Tetra and Rasbora tanks. I keep it with Congo Tetras, Neon Tetras, Tiger Barbs, and Dwarf Gouramis to name but a few.

I also grow lots of Temple Plant in my Fancy Goldfish tanks. Providing the plant is either anchored down or given sufficient time to root before the Fancy Goldfish are added to the tank, I find it does really well.

I would not try growing Temple Plant in tanks with known plant destroyers like Oscars, Tin Foil Barbs, or any of the African Cichlids. Many South American Cichlids will also quickly destroy Temple Plant.

One other species that does really well with Temple Plant is Red Cherry Shrimp. I have found the broad leaves of this plant often grow algae, and one of the best algae eaters I know are Red Cherry Shrimp.

Propagating Temple Plant

Temple Plant is really easy to propagate. The ease with which we can grow and propagate Temple Plant is the main reason it is one of the plants I recommend to people who wish to grow aquatic plants for profit.

Step 1

Take a sharp pair of scissors. Carefully cut the Temple Plant anywhere on the stem, but ideally just above a pair of leaves.

Step 2

Take the piece of stem you have just cut from the main plant and carefully push it into the substrate, taking care not to crush the delicate stem. Push the stem right down until the first pair of leaves are just above the substrate.

Step 3

Make sure the new plant does not float up or get knocked out of the substrate before the roots have a chance to form. Within 4 to 6 weeks the new cutting should have a healthy root growth.

Step 4

After 4 to 6 weeks, either leave the new plant in place or carefully pull it out of the substrate, taking care not to crush the stem in the process.

The new plant can either be replanted in another aquarium, or sold to another fish keeper.



Where to Buy Temple Plant?

Temple Plant is one of those plants that is sold in local fish stores around the country. If your local fish store does not stock it, I highly recommend you try WetPlants.com. I have always found their quality to be first-class.



In Conclusion

Temple Plant is an amazing aquarium plant. It is tough, fast-growing, and adapts to just about any aquarium we grow it in. This plant is suitable for just about every community tank fish in the hobby, and it is so easy to propagate it is one of the best plants to grow for profit.

I use this plant in so many of the tanks in my fish room, and because it is so easy to propagate, you can start off with a few stems, and within 6 to 8 months you have masses of the stuff


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
Editor

Article Sources:

https://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/Hygrophilacorymbosa(053BDT)/4490

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygrophila_corymbosa