Eleocharis parvula (common name hair grass / hairgrass) is an extremely versatile and useful plant. It may be used to great affect by itself to form a grassy carpet: a very dense lawn like effect may be achieved in 6 – 8 weeks from planting.
It is also very useful when planted sparsely around the edges of rocks and other hardscape and produces a ‘softening’ effect when used in this way, particularly in an Iwagumi style aquascape – read more about Iwagumi’s in our article Iwagumi Aquacapes: An Introdcution.
A unique feature of this plant is that if it is cut short before it is planted then it tends to stay short when it grows in and becomes established. Conversely if it is left in its longer state it will carry on growing in a longer form.
For this reason Eleocharis parvula may be graded with the longer form being placed to the rear of the tank and the shorter ‘cut’ form being planted near the front and sides. Use of the plant in this way is extremely effective in the smaller and ‘nano’ aquaria where a great sense of scale may be achieved with proper use.
Eleocharis parvula is a plant that is not particularly demanding and is fairly tolerant of lower levels of light although the addition of CO2 will, as with most plants, increase growth dramatically.
An average potted Tropica specimen will yield about 10-15 small bunches which may be pinched or cut out of the original rock wool cube. Any remaining rockwool may then be sprayed away by placing a finger over a running tap and directing the spray at the rooted sections until the majority of the rockwool is removed.
The individual portions should then be placed an inch or so into the gravel or substrate and for this job a decent pair of tweezers are essential – try the Aquascape Pro Pinsettes from our Exceptional Value Range – this range provides surgical quality tools and great value.
Where a carpet is required, position plants an inch or two apart in a pattern similar to the number five found on a dice. The plant will grow by sending out runners into and out of the substrate and growth can be very rapid indeed. Eleocharis parvula, like other carpeting plants and grasses, will do particularly well in ADA Aqua Soil Powder, because the smaller granules allow the small roots to get better anchorage, although it can be grown quite happilly in ADA Aqua Soil (normal type) and can also be grown in Tropica Plant Substrate capped with fine gravel.
Elecharis parvula can be particularly effective when used by itself with stones, in the Iagumi style, where a simple statement may be made. It also works very well in conjunction with other carpeting plants such as Hemianthus callitrichoides, Hydrocotyle verticillata and Utricularia graminifolia. Where simplicity is the goal of the aquascaper this plant can be invaluable in helping to achieve that goal.
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