How has a small, slow-growing plant genus with only 3 recognized species become all the rage in the planted aquaria hobby? The answers are beauty and versatility. Bucephalandra, or simply “Buce” plants, are rhizome plants that affix to rocks or driftwood, may be planted in substrate, and can grow both submersed and emersed. When submersed, “Buce” leaves exhibit gorgeous shimmering silver dots, and blooms with aroid flowers when emersed. Found exclusively in Borneo, undescribed species are often given names based on the region of collection, though some are given playful names like one of our all-time favorites, Bucephalandra sp. “Godzilla”. Just as Godzilla is “King of Monsters”, this “Buce” is the king of plants!
This “Godzilla” was named for its longish dark-green, curved, and ridged leaves that exhibit a blue sheen and tons of scale-like silvery dots. This plant grows low to the ground on short, red stalks, and is perfect for both mid-ground and foreground planting. The rhizome exhibits creeping growth and branches readily to become a large group over time. The rhizome can be snipped to propagate.
Relatively easy to care for, they require medium light to exhibit the best coloration, though they will survive under low light. They also need CO2 injection and regular fertilization. Bucephalandra do best in soft waters, with a pH of 5.0 to 8.0, and temperatures between 68 and 80°F. Sensitive to water fluctuation, they may melt if conditions change drastically, but as long as the rhizome is intact, the plant will acclimate.