Propagating Dwarf Clover (Marsilea Minuta)
March 5, 2007 by Purrbox
Propagating Dwarf Clover
By Joy Twentyman-Crock
Marsilea Minuta is one of the few plants that can be used as a foreground carpet plant in low light tanks. Another trait that makes it desirable is that it is a slower growing plant than most carpet plants. While this means that it takes longer for it to grow in, it also means that you are a lot less likely to be stuck tearing up your carpet and replanting it on a frequent basis.
I’m currently growing Marsilea Minuta in a 5.5 gallon standard tank. For lighting I’m using a Coralife 36 watt compact fluorescent fixture which is on for 12 hours a day, which provides very high light. I perform 50% water changes once a week using tap water treated with Prime. CO2 is injected into the tank using a DIY CO2 setup consisting of 2 x 1 liter bottles for CO2 generation and an Inline DIY CO2 Reactor powered by an 80 GPH water pump. With this setup the CO2 averages between 45-60ppm. I currently dose dry fertilizers based on a slightly modified EI method. Since there is Nitrates in the tap water, I skip the first dose of KNO3 after the water change and dose some extra K2SO4 to make up for the Potassium that would have been dosed with the KNO3. Exact amounts vary slightly as I work to find the best balance for dosing to obtain good plant growth and minimize algae.
When planting Marsilea Minuta like most carpet plants you want to divide the plant into smaller pieces and spread them through the entire area that you want your carpet to fill. I find it works best to cut the runner so that there are two to four leaves per plant. This leaves enough of the runner to make it easer to get the plants to stay in the substrate. It can also be helpful to bury the runner a bit deeper to encourage the leaves to hug the substrate more and help minimize the plant getting leggy. Once it starts spreading you can cut the runners again dividing it into pieces with two to four leaves. This will allow it to fill in more quickly since the runners won’t branch.
I’ve had Marsilea Minuta in this tank for about 3 months now and it is finally getting to the point where it makes a nice carpet, though it will need to fill in some more before it could be considered a dense carpet. It is probably my favorite carpet plant at the moment and as a result I’ve recently taken some clippings from this tank and added it to both my 2.5 gallon and 10 gallon tanks. I would highly recommend it to anyone regardless of whether they have a high or low light tank.
PlantGeek.Net 2002-2006, Plant Guide [On-line] http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide.php, September 13th, 2006