ABC PLANTS - Rotala "Orange Juice"
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A stunning variety (first cultivated in Italy) of the perennially popular and beautiful Rotala rotundifolia that produces an intense orange coloration in good conditions vs. the reddish pink coloration of normal Rotala rotundifolia. The spectacular shape and color of this plant is best seen when it is grown submerged under high lighting and CO2 fertilization though it grows well in virtually any aquarium and will show its colors in low-tech setups when it is happy.
Submerged with it's elongated, almost feathery leaves and delicate stems, Rotala Orange Juice makes for a fantastic background plant when planted as a thick bunch. If allowed to, like its close cousins, Rotala Orange Juice will grow quite tall making it a great plant for larger tanks while routine pruning makes it a fantastic choice for smaller aquariums and promotes the intensely bushy, dense growth habit that makes this and related plants (Rotala rotundifolia, Rotala 'Vietnam H'ra', Rotala wallischii, Rotala nanjenshan, Rotala macrandra) so ubiquitously popular in planted aquariums. Rotala Orange Juice can also be used as a colorful midground "specimen" plant when pruned low - which will result in a tight, bushy appearance.
Care is pretty similar to standard Rotala rotundifolia. A good, rich substrate helps keep this plant well fed and high-iron fertilizer is recommended for the best coloration but otherwise, it's an easy plant that is simple to grow and difficult to kill. Better conditions (lighting, nutrients and CO2) will result in better coloration as well as denser, faster growth but the plant will still grow beautifully in virtually any aquarium. Rotala orange juice can grow quite tall and will keep growing vertically if left alone so it should be regularly pruned to keep the bottom parts of the stem healthy and bushy. The clippings from pruning can be planted to make the display denser and bushier.
Like it's close relative, Rotala Orange Juice is an excellent addition to any aquarium and grows well in both low-tech and high-tech (CO2 injected) setups. CO2 injection can dramatically increase the growth rate, density and improve the coloration but is not required by any means.
When grown submerged, the leaves and stems can be quite delicate and sleek looking and the plant should be handled gently. Leaves become more rounded and stems thicker when this plant is grown emersed in a moist terrarium, paludarium or vivarium and its distinctive orange coloration makes it a great addition to these kind of set-ups.
Type: Stem plant with bright orange leaves under good conditions
Size: Can reach up to 50cm, generally around 20 - 30cm. Usually kept between 4"-8" (10-20cm)
Position and Usage: Midground or background plant
Growth Rate: Moderate to high
Lighting: 3/5 - 5/5. Higher light will result in the most vibrant orange coloration.
Water Conditions: 22 - 28°C. Lower temperatures are tolerated but will slow growth. Softer water and low to neutral pH are preferred but exact water parameters are unimportant. However, sudden changes in water chemistry may not be tolerated well.
CO2: Not required but recommended for optimal growth speed, health, density and especially, colouration.
Propagation: Make stem cuttings 2-3 nodes and replant. Frequent trimming will promote shorter, denser and bushier growth and cuttings can be replanted for an even denser display. It's a plant that really just keeps on giving.
Special requirements: Like Rotala rotundifolia and other closely related plants, Rotala Orange Juice appreciates a rich substrate and iron-heavy fertilizers as well as good lighting for the best coloration.
Emersed Growth: Can be grown emersed. Emsersed plants are short and dense, rarely exceeding 10cm. They tend to have rounded leaves and solid strong stems and are hard to distinguish from Rotala rotundifolia except for its orange coloration. This plant is well suited for use in a terrarium, paludarium or vivarium and will instantly become a focal point.