Water Wisteria Floating On Surface? (All Doubts Solved!)

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Water Wisteria is a favorite aquarium plant because it is pretty, easy to grow, and suitable to pair with many fish types. The only thing that can be a bit confusing about this plant is whether you should plant or float it.

Water Wisteria can either be planted or floated, but both options come with pros and cons. Planting the Water Wisteria is often better for the other plants, but it will have trouble surviving if there is a strong current. Floating is a good option if there’s a current, but you will need to trim the plant frequently.

To learn more about how to care for Water Wisteria and whether or not it should be floated, keep reading. In this comprehensive guide, I will help you understand the best way to keep Water Wisteria in your aquarium.

Is Water Wisteria A Floating Aquarium Plant?

Unlike most other aquarium plants, Water Wisteria can be floated or planted in the substrate. As long as the Wisteria has access to nutrients, it will grow practically anywhere. The appearance of the plant will differ depending on whether you float or plant it, though.

It is perfectly fine to float Water Wisteria. The reason for this is that the plant does not get its nutrients from its roots. As a result, a nutrient-rich substrate is not needed. Instead, it needs liquid fertilizer since it gets its nutrients from the water.

Even though Water Wisteria can grow while floating, it’s important that you don’t let the plant float too much.

If it covers more than 50% of the water surface, it will end up blocking light from the fish and other plants.

It is for this reason that most aquarium enthusiasts recommend planting your Water Wisteria in sand. This substrate grounds the Water Wisteria and prevents it from taking up too much surface.

All the while, it still allows the plant to absorb all of the nutrients it needs from the water.

Floating vs Grounded Water Wisteria

It’s important to note that floated versus grounded Water Wisteria does not look the same.

In both cases, the plant displays heterophylly, which means the plant changes shape based on its environment. Wisteria that is entirely under the water will have thinner leaves than Wisteria that is partially on the surface.

Why Is My Water Wisteria Floating On Surface?

Water Wisteria that is floating on the surface is likely in that position because it has been floated, is experiencing rapid growth, you are not caring for it properly, or is dislodged by the current or fish. Determining the cause can help you better care for the plant and aquarium.  

Here’s a closer look at the five most common reasons why Water Wisteria floats on the surface.

#1 Floating

Most obviously, your Water Wisteria may be floating on the surface if you did not ground it in the substrate.

Some aquarium enthusiasts specifically choose to float their Water Wisteria. If you decide to do this, the plant could be pushed by the water’s movement to the surface.

If you intentionally decided to float your Water Wisteria, the only way to remove it from the surface is to plant it directly in the substrate.

If you decide that you do not want to float the Water Wisteria anymore, grounded in either sand or gravel substrate. Sand is best for growing purposes.

#2 Rapid Growth

It’s also possible that your Water Wisteria has experienced rapid growth. Water Wisteria is known to grow very rapidly, which means some plants will end up floating on the surface if they have access to a lot of nutrients and are not trimmed back.

This rapid growth is generally a good thing. It means that your plant has gotten enough nutrients to rapidly grow.

However, you still have to make sure that the Water Wisteria is not blocking the other plants from the light and nutrients they need to grow.

#3 Poor Care

Water Wisteria is considered easy to care for, but there are some things you definitely need to do. For example, you must trim the plant to prevent it from taking over the entire aquarium.

If you fail to trim it, a lot of the plant will end up floating on the surface.

If you have never trimmed your Water Wisteria before, this is likely the reason why it is floating on the surface.

All you need to do is trim back the plant and continue to do so every time it begins taking over the aquarium.

#4 Water Current

Water Wisteria is best planted if there is very little water current if any at all. If the current is too strong, it could dislodge the plant or even break it apart.

If you know that your filter creates a strong current, that might be to blame for the floating Wisteria.

In that case, you will either want to float the Wisteria or get a new filter. Floating Wisteria can’t handle a strong current, unlike planted Wisterias.

If you simply don’t want floating Wisteria, you will have to invest in a different filter that does not create as intensive of a current.

#5 Foraging Fish

The last possible reason that your Water Wisteria is floating is that a fish dislodged it from its original rooted place.

If you know you have a foraging fish, this might be to blame. Foraging fish will try to dig in the substrate. Occasionally, this causes them to dislodge the plant.

If your plant is dislodged by a foraging fish, you need to either float the Wisteria entirely or provide extra protection around the plant’s roots.

That way, the fish does not dislodge the plant by accident next time it is foraging.

Read: How Long Does It Take For Aquarium Plants To Root?

How To Keep My Water Wisteria Floating On Surface?

Floating Water Wisteria is relatively easy. All you need to do is place it on the water surface, and it will begin growing on its own. You can either do this whenever you are converting the plant or leave it in the floating position once it grows. Maintain the plant during the process. 

How it works is that you will place a growing plant on the water surface. This allows the plant to have access to CO2 and many other nutrients. Roots will begin to grow randomly.

Once roots start growing, you have your choice to either root the plant or allow it to continue floating.

If you decide you want to root the Water Wisteria, cut back some of the plans and root it in the substrate. If this isn’t your thing, just continue to allow the Wisteria to grow on the water’s surface as before.

Trim The Plant

In the case that you decide to allow the Wisteria to float on the surface, you will need to maintain it carefully. Never let the plant cover more than 50% of the water surface at a time.

If it covers more than 50%, the other plants and fish will likely not get enough light and nutrients. Trim the plant to ensure the rest of the aquarium gets enough light.

If you want to trim aquarium plants but don’t have aquascaping tool, then I recommend you to check out the capetsma aquascape tools here – available on Amazon. It is 5 in 1 aquascaping tool that you can use, not only to take care of your aquarium plants, but also for cleaning fish tank substrate and aquarium gravel.


In addition to trimming your Water Wisteria, you will need to provide it with liquid fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer puts CO2 and other nutrients directly in the water for the plant to absorb.

Floated Water Wisteria does not need as many nutrients as rooted Water Wisteria, but some fertilizer is still needed.

I recommend you to check out API LEAF ZONE Freshwater Aquarium Plant Fertilizer here – available on Amazon. It is one of the best aquarium plant fertilizer that promotes the beautiful growth of your aquarium plant. It uses essential nutrients that includes chelated iron as well as potassium.

Should I Float Or Plant My Water Wisteria?

Whether or not you should float or plant your Water Wisteria ultimately depends on your preferences. Floating is best if you want a plant to cover the water surface, but planting is better if you don’t want to worry about the Wisteria taking over the aquarium.

Here is some information to help you decide which option is right for you:

Floating Water Wisteria

Floating Water Wisteria is an option since the plant gets its nutrients from the water, not its roots.

The good news is that floating Water Wisteria is super easy, but it isn’t right for all situations.

In general, floating Water Wisteria is best if your aquarium has a strong current or you want a unique look.

Floating Water Wisteria is also an option if you need it to grow some roots. All you would need to do is float the Water Wisteria while it is sprouting the roots.

Plant the sprouts in the substrate once the roots have grown.

However, you will need to trim and prune your Water Wisteria more frequently if you decide to float it.

Floated Water Wisteria often grows faster because it has more access to nutrients. Frequently prune back the plant so that it does not take over the aquarium.

At the most, the plant should only cover 50% of the aquarium’s water surface at a time. If the Water Wisteria is covering more or is simply taking over your aquarium, you will need to trim it back.

Planting Water Wisteria

Even though Water Wisteria does not get its nutrients from its roots, you can still plant it in the substrate.

It does not need a nutrient-rich substrate. It grows best in sand, but select gravel if you want to propagate the plant.

Planting Water Wisteria has pros and cons, just like floating Water Wisteria. Planting Water Wisteria is ideal if there is very minimal water movement.

Water movement will damage the plant and dislodge it if it is rooted in the ground.

You will still need to trim Water Wisteria, even if it is planted. You will also have to provide liquid fertilizer. At least you will not need to prune as frequently since it takes a lot longer for the Water Wisteria to take up too much of the aquarium when rooted.

Final Thoughts

Water Wisteria gives you the option to either root or float the plant. In either case, the Water Wisteria needs a lot of CO2 and liquid fertilizer to grow. It does not get its nutrients from its roots.

If you want, you can float your Water Wisteria, but you will have to trim it frequently. Make sure the Water Wisteria only covers 50% of the water surface at a time. Planted Water Wisteria will need to be trimmed too, but you won’t have to trim it as frequently.

Whether or not you root or float Water Wisteria is up to you. If you have a strong current in your aquarium, float it.

If you don’t want to worry about trimming the plant as frequently, plant it. In either case, you will still have to trim the plant on occasion and provide it with liquid fertilizer.

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