Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Brazillian Pennywort


Background History

Hydrocotyle leucocephala is native of South America that has founds it way into planted aquariums, ponds and even paludariums.  It is an extremely hardy, fast growing plant that develops beautiful round green leaves that contrasts well with other leaf structures in an aquascape.

Hydrocotyle leucocephala is commonly known as Brazilian Pennywort, noted for its round, penny shaped leaves.

Growth Characteristics

Hydrocotyle leucocephala grows on average to 5-10 inches (12-24 cm), but it can grow up to 24 inches if allowed. The leaves consist of bright green leaves that are round or kidney shaped, and alternate along the length of the stem. 

Hydrocotyle leucocephala is extremely easy to grow, and does well in a large range of water conditions, lighting ranges, and nutrient regimes. Under lower lighting schemes, the plant will grow slowly, if at all.  Under high lighting conditions and harder water, it will grow rapidly, and as it nears the surface it will branch and continue to float along the surface.

This plant can be either planted in the substrate or left floating. If allowed to penetrate or float along the surface, Hydrocotyle leucocephala will produce tiny white flowers. 

Propagation is similar to other stems.  Simply cut the tops off and replant, while leaving the remaining bottoms to grow side shoots.

Aquascaping Application

Hydrocotyle leucocephala fits well in side, midground areas of the aquarium.  The leaf pattern is highly unique and looks beautiful in stem clusters of 5-6 stems. Each stem should be cut so that the stems are at different heights to maximize space, depth, and visual appeal.

Plant Profile
Scientific Name: Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Common Name: Brazillian Pennywort
Difficulty: Very Easy
CO2 Requirements: Low
Lighting Requirements: Low
Plant Arrangement: Midground
Growth Rate: Moderate
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Hydrocotyle
Origin: South America
Plant Type: Stem
Water Hardness: Medium (GH = 9-13 dH)