Eleocharis vivipara
Hairgrass

Description

Background History

Eleocharis vivipara is indigenous to the southern United States where it can be found growing on the shores of ponds, marshes, and streams. It is a fast growing plant that is adaptable to both underwater and terrestrial conditions.  In some states such as Florida, Eleocharis vivipara is listed as an invasive species due to its tendency to dominate waterways and culverts. 

Eleocharis vivipara is one of the taller hairgrass species available to aquatic plant hobbyists.  There are other shorter growing hairgrass such as Eleocharis acicularis (15 cm) and Eleocharis parvula (6 cm).  

Eleocharis vivipara is commonly known as sprouting spike rush, viviparous spike rush, and umbrella hairgrass.

Growth Characteristics

Eleocharis vivipara is a tall grass plant, which can reach a height of 12 inches (30 cm) in the aquarium. It will grow into a dense mat when there is a high amount of light and carbon dioxide available. 

This plant is an easy plant to grow and does well in a large range of water conditions.  In addition to light and carbon dioxide, it prefers a temperature range of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit , 6.4-7.0 pH, and slightly soft to moderate water. 

When first introducing Eleocharis vivipara to new aquariums browning or decaying stems may occur .  This adjustment period is a natural process of this plant as it needs to adapt to its new environment or transition from emersed growth.  Trimming Eleocharis vivipara will speed up the transition process and will encourage new runners and stems.

In emersed/terrestrial growth, Eleocharis vivipara grows into a tall lawn and will produce spikey flowers at the tips of each stem. Occassionally these flowers may appear in the submergent form as well.

Propagation is through splitting the runners of rhizomes.

Aquascaping Application

Eleocharis vivipara is an ideal background plant because of its height and tendency to grow dense. However, it tall grass nature could also be a reason why aquascapers have found it difficult to blend this plant with other ones in their aquascape. Eleocharis vivipara is commonly seen as a background plant in rock and Iwagumi influenced layouts, with one or two other foreground species such as Riccia Fluitans, Hemianthus callitrichoides, and Glossostigma elatinoides.

Plant Profile
Scientific Name: Eleocharis vivipara
Common Name: Hairgrass
Difficulty: Easy
CO2 Requirements: Moderate
Lighting Requirements: High
Plant Arrangement: Background
Growth Rate: Moderate
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Eleocharis
Origin: North America
Plant Type: Undefined/Unknown
Water Hardness: Medium (GH = 9-13 dH)