How to Trim Water Lettuce And Take Care of it

Water lettuce is a very common aquarium plant. But if it spreads too much it can create unwanted barriers for other plants and get it. Therefore it is important to know how to trim water lettuce. And take care of it.

The water lettuce is trimmed in two parts. You can trim the two small leaves in the shoot to stop the water lettuce from growing in height and breadth. If you want a plant of small size then you can also cut the larger leaves near the root. 

An important part to trim is the roots. The roots of the water letters can be very long and bushy. Therefore to stop them to grow and also to control asexual reproduction it is important to trim the roots now and then. But one needs to be very careful while trimming any part of the water lettuce. It is a very soft plant that can tear up. Try not to use your hand to trim rather use scissors and clams. 

Water lettuce doesn’t need much attention but it needs good water conditions and sunlight. Cold water and excess sunlight can end up killing your water lettuce. Therefore as a part of taking care of the water lettuce along with trimming you need to be careful about the other factors too. 

Which Part Of Water Lettuce To Trim

Water Lettuce After Trimming root

The trimming of water lettuce is a part of taking care of the plant and the aquarium for the pond. But people often don’t know how to perform the trimming of the water lettuce.  

This is not actually that complicated, it is very easy. It is mainly done in two parts. The shoot and the root. We have to trim the shoot and the root separately. 

In trimming the shoot the focus has to be on the two small leaves. The water lettuce expands its structural growth through those two leaves. If you don’t want your plant to spread in width, or get any larger then you will need to cut the two leaves of the water lettuce in the center. 

The intention of trimming the root is to stop the growth of the water lettuce. In general, water lettuce does reproduce through its roots. Wherever the roots spread it gives birth to new water lettuce. To control this growth it is necessary to trim the roots so that they stay in a definite zone. 

No matter which part you’re trimming off they both will help you to maintain the desired look of your aquarium. As water lettuce grows very fast, it is important to trim them if you don’t want them to turn into a bushy structure. Therefore first decide what the purpose of the trimming is and then trim that part. 

Trimming Water Lettuce

Trimming the shoot or the root of the water lettuce is very sensitive.  It is a very soft plant. You can even take off the shoot and the root by pinching with your finger. But it is not an ideal process to trim the plant. Try to use scissors and clumps. 

At first, hold the plant with clumps delicately. Make sure that it does get uprooted. Then target which leaves you to want to trim. Gently trim off the shoot without hurting the whole plant. 

In the same way, you will need to trim the roots. The roots of water lettuce are bushy. If they are not attached to any solid ground you can just pick up the plant and trim the root. Be sensitive while doing so. Do not cut off so much that the plant may end up dying. 

If the plant is on a solid surface, then just identify the extended roots and cut them off. Do not cut the root of one plant while cutting the root of the other. If you do so it will temper the survival of the other plant.

Always keep a distinctive gap between two trimming sessions. Because the plant needs to get adapted to the new structure for survival. 

Types of Water Lettuce

Before we start taking care of water lettuce, it is good to know which kind of water lettuce you are dealing with. There are basically three types of water lettuce. 

Pistia stratiotes ‘Ruffles’

This kind of water lettuce is ruffled in shape. It doesn’t spread like the other variant of the water lettuce. That means the Trimming of these lettuce doesn’t need to be done more frequently. 

Pistia stratiotes ‘Jurassic’

These water lettuce don’t grow faster but they can grow up to 12 inches wide. Therefore if you want to keep it within the limit you need to trim the side leaves along with the shoot. 

Pistia stratiotes ‘Splash’

It grows pretty fast but it is very easy to find. But it gives an exotic look to the aquarium.

Taking Care of Water Lettuce

If you are planning to put water lettuce in your aquarium then there are some caring tips for you. This will help you to maintain a healthy relationship between your aquarium and the water lettuce.

Size of The Tank

Even though the growth of water lettuce doesn’t need a large space to expand and survive, it is recommended to have a medium-sized tank. Make sure that the aquarium you are placing the lettuce in can hold at least 10 gallons of water.

If you have a small tank you can place the water lettuce but it will be an unnecessary challenge for the plant. 

Parameter of Water

One of the good things about water lettuce is it can survive in a very difficult environment. The change in water doesn’t affect much. If you want a healthy look and healthy environment in your aquarium it is important to provide a healthy water environment for water lettuce.

Remember that water lettuce is a plant from tropical areas. It is not a fan of cold water which creates a cold environment for the plane. It expands with enthusiasm in the presence of a balanced temperature to water.

Otherwise, provide cold water to it only when you don’t need your water lettuce to spread. The ideal temperature for the plant is 72॰ Fahrenheit to 86॰ Fahrenheit.

pH balance is also an important factor for any aquatic plant to survive in your aquarium. As the aquarium is a congested place, balancing the pH without external health is quite difficult. Try to keep the pH of the aquarium water between 6.0 to 7.5. Not only the water lettuce but also the other plants will stay healthy and safe in the aquarium water.


Even the water is not an important factor for the survival of water lettuce, but light plays an important role. When there is too much sunlight, the water lettuce tends to lose its health and turn brown

Water lettuce preface is to stay in a shady place but with access to enough sunlight. They need the natural cycle of day and night to perform photosynthesis. If there is no presence of light in your place, to put in the aquarium then you can install artificial small bulbs. (Our Pick: hygger Auto On Off LED Aquarium Light)

Why Keep Water Lettuce In Your Aquarium

Water Lettuce Plants in Aquarium

Works As A Tank Cover

Water lettuce plants are set on the water surface. And as it grows it creates a layer on the top of the aquarium. It works as a shield for the tank from excess light and temperature. 

Sometimes to protect the aquatic life in the aquarium it is necessary to cover the aquarium tank of the aquarium. In the presence of water lettuce, you do not have to apply the artificial cover to reduce the temperature of the water. 

Keeps The Aquarium Clean

If you want to keep your aquarium clean naturally up to an extent, then having water lettuce is a great option. It takes nutrition from the water which creates nutrient deprivation for algae. Therefore it becomes difficult for algae to form a habitat in the aquarium.

Another great role of water lettuce is that it absorbs excess Ammonia and nitrates which are created from the plant and animal waste in the aquarium. Water lettuce absorbs harmful toxins that can cause damage to the existing plants and animals in the aquarium or pond. 


Water lettuce is a very beautiful green plant with long roots falling from the top of the tank to the bottom. It looks like dripping curtains in your aquarium. Some aquatic plants like to play with those roots. Small creatures like fish fry use these roots as a hiding spot.

The color of the leaves of water lettuce is elite green which gives a glossy look. When the sunray falls on the leaves it reflects. 

Partners In The Tank

We already know that water lettuce is a very bushy plant. The elongated roots can create a net-like environment in the tank. Therefore, it is not important but useful to pair up the right plants and animals in the aquarium along with the water lettuce. 

If you intend to put a fast-swimming aquatic animal then there is a probability that the fish or the animal can get trapped in the net of the water lettuce. They can tear up the roots. Ideal to place invertebrate aquatic animals. They move smoothly and don’t get easily trapped in the roots of the water lettuce.

In the case of plants try to choose plants that need less sunlight like water lettuce. As water lettuce creates shade in the aquarium therefore the plants which need excess sunlight can get deprived of the light if they appear with water letters. 

But in general, you do not need to be too sophisticated around water lettuce. You can place any plant and animal in the aquarium pairing it up with water lettuce. It doesn’t harm the animal or any other plant. 


Why Is My Water Lettuce Leaves Turning Yellow?

Water lettuce additionally could not have water on its leaves. The absence of supplements will make water lettuce develop inadequately and become yellow. Lettuce is a particularly overwhelming producer; it once in a while goes through at least one supplement in the lake. This can particularly be an issue in tiny lakes and lakes with not many fish.

Does Water Lettuce Absorb Nitrates?

Water lettuce has the effectiveness of eliminating 83% nitrate nitrogen, 84.8% ammoniacal nitrogen, and 81.6% Phosphate from sewage.

Is There A Difference Between Dwarf Water Lettuce And General Lettuce?

Bantam water lettuce bears no connection to genuine lettuce; it gets its name in light of the fact that its appearance is like lettuce. Bantam lettuce is likewise called Nile lettuce or water lettuce, even though it’s not real lettuce, by the same token. In reality, Dwarf water lettuce is a drifting sea-going plant.

How Do You Keep Water Lettuce Small?

Water lettuce does best in water temperatures somewhere in the range of 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s for the most part prescribed for USDA zones 9 to 11. Since this plant lives in water, it flourishes in medium to high mugginess levels. Low dampness levels will make developing this plant a test as it can dry out the leaves.

Can You Plant Water Lettuce In The Soil?

They can be overwintered by establishing them in pots filled to the edge with water as well. Base soil isn’t required for development, yet they require occasional treatment to flourish. Without even a trace of sufficient nourishment, numerous plantlets are created, yet the rosettes stay little.

Final Words

If you have water lettuce in your tank and you want to know how to take care of it, the first thing that comes to mind is how to trim water lettuce. Water lettuce spreads very fast, has long roots, and does asexual reproduction. Therefore it is necessary to trim the water lettuce from time to time.

When water is in favorable conditions in the aquarium, it gives the aquarium a great look and cleans the water. The water lettuce can be used as a detoxifier from nature. Therefore, you can try to put some water lettuce in your aquarium and keep it healthy.

Howard Parker

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