Placing flowering plants in your aquarium is art. If you get it right, your aquarium will become as beautiful and exotic as a natural habitat, if not more.
But if you use the wrong plants, you could have a horror show on your hands.
The best flowering aquarium plants are not only beautiful but also easy to maintain. Even beginners can take care of them without experiencing any significant challenges.
We have created a list of some of the best flowering plants you can put in your aquarium to produce the best aesthetic and functional results. This detailed review contains their essential info, pros, cons, and our thoughts on each product.
We've also divided them into two categories by their ability to grow underwater or overwater, but first, a quick comparison of the vegetation.
The 8 Best Flowering Aquarium Plants Reviews
Suitable for Beginners
/ Care Level
Adventitious plantlets/Splitting at the crown
Cutting from the stem and growing
Propagates itself by sending long runners
Madagascar Lace Plant
Sexually through seed formation
Check out some of the best plants that can produce flowers underwater.
Anubias (Anubias Nana) are natural inhabitants of Africa. They are known for their hardy nature, making them able to resist damage and almost impossible to kill. These plants work well with goldfish.
The Anubias is ideal for low-light tank environments and might burn if you expose it to too much light. You don't need to worry about giving them fertilizers or carbon dioxide and planting them in nutrient-rich substrates.
They will grow wonderfully and produce flowers either immersed or submerged. A unique characteristic is a thick central spandix that is covered in tiny flowers.
This plant propagates by rhizome division and through its plantlets. It requires a pH of 6.0 – 7.5, a temperature range of 72 – 82oF, and a light requirement ranging from low to moderate.
Our Thoughts: Excellent choice for beginners as you do not have to worry about its nutrients and other needs because they're pretty tricky to kill.
What Customers Say: "Got it in excellent condition and its performance in my tank made me order for two more. Great stuff!"
Amazon Sword (Echinodorus Grisebachii) is a plant that is most abundant in the Amazon Rainforest, growing in steamy shallows along with fishes like Angelfish and Discus.
This plant has large, sword-shaped leaves that give its name. It can quickly get to heights of 16 inches and has robust root systems. Also, you'll notice beautiful white flowers if you let the plant grow above the waterline.
They might look bushy sometimes because of their long leaves and short stems. Amazon plants will grow well if they're planted at the center of your tank, so their roots have space.
This plant propagates by splitting at the crown or through its adventitious plantlets. It requires a pH of 6 – 8, a temperature range of 72 – 82oF, and a light requirement ranging from low to moderate.
Our Thoughts: A great decorative plant usually used in the backgrounds as the centerpiece. It grows pretty quickly, too, making it a go-to choice for beginners.
What Customers Say: "It is very green and taller than I expected. Even though some of the leaves dried up when they were out of water, overtime the plant has stabilized in my tank."
Bucephalandra has its origins in Borneo, one of the largest islands in the world. Even though most of these plant species rarely grow more than 10 inches in length, they're still excellent for any tank's backgrounds and foreground.
You will find over 200 species of this plant, usually hinting at their appearance. Typical colors at different growth stages are brown, purple, green, blue, red, and other mixes. You can add other decorations to make your aquarium stand out with glowing colors.
This plant propagates through its rhizomes. You can use scissors to divide and plant it in the substrate or attach it to the hardscape. It requires a pH of 5 - 8, a temperature range of 72 – 84oF, and a light requirement ranging from low to high.
Our Thoughts: Bucephalandra is a common choice in the aquascaping practice and is excellent at reflecting some colors because of its iridescent nature. However, it's vital to note that this plant is slow-growing.
What Customers Say: "I got it in excellent condition with two rhizomes and an impressive packaging. I would definitely recommend it."
Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is an adaptive and versatile plant that will be an excellent addition to almost any aquarium.
It has needle-like leaves that grow out in the shapes of whorls around the stems and look like a raccoon's tail. This look gives it the name coon-tail plant. You can find it all over the world free-floating in ponds, streams, and lakes.
Hornwort can grow up to 10 feet and needs a considerable space in the tank regardless of if you're allowing it to float freely or planting it in the substrate at the back of the tank.
Propagation in this plant is simple. Cut a piece of stem and plant it, so it grows into a new plant. It requires a pH of 7 - 8, a temperature range of 60 – 80oF, and medium light requirements.
Our Thoughts: Hornwort is easy to grow and maintain, making it an ideal choice for beginners and one of the best aquatic background plants. However, its main downside is its needle shedding, which could mess up tanks.
What Other Keeper Say:
"As a beginner to the aquarium hobby, I am so glad my first plant didn't give me any issues."
Check out the best plants that can grow flowers overwater.
Giant Hygrophila (Hygrophila corymbosa) is one of the most popular aquarium plants among the 30+ varieties of hygro aquarium plants. They can reach heights of 25 inches in their natural habitats but only get to 5 inches in aquariums.
Giant Hygrophila is a fast-growing aquarium plant with bright green leaves. The leaves have a characteristic long and narrow shape with sharp lance-like points. It is essential to give them the required nutrients, CO2 injections, and nitrogen-based fertilizers as they are prone to iron deficiency.
This plant propagates from cuttings of the stem. It requires a pH of 5.5 - 8, a temperature range of 68 – 86oF, and a light requirement ranging from low to moderate.
Having one or two species of Giant Hygrophila in your tank will remove CO2, oxygenate the water, and give your tiny fishes a hiding place from predators. The bright green colors also give your tank a fantastic and natural look.
What Other Keeper Say: "I've had it in my tank for a couple of months and its starting to spread out and take off. Its shoot system has grown to about 3 inches."
Green Cabomba (Cabomba Caroliniana) is the least demanding species from the Cabomba line and can grow fast enough to become a weed in the tank without proper care.
Green Cabomba can grow to heights of 11 inches and has beautiful purplish, yellowish, and white flowers. If you want it to grow correctly, then supplementation with liquid fertilizers and injecting with CO2 is necessary to achieve the best results. You can either leave it to free float in the aquarium or plant in a nutrient-rich substrate.
This plant propagates by cutting. Make terminal cuttings from the mature stems and plant them back into the substrate. It requires a pH of 6 – 7.5, a temperature range of 68 – 82oF, and a high light requirement.
Although an excellent plant for the tank, we wouldn't recommend this to beginners as they often grow too fast and become a weed in the tank or die off after a short while.
What Other Keeper Say:
"I was quite disappointed that it wasn't a full-sized plant however, it hasn't disappointed me since it's been in my tank."
Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria Subulata) has been a popular plant in the aquarium practice for a long time. It is an excellent choice if you're looking for a carpeting or foreground plant to put in your aquarium.
Even though this plant can do without CO2 injections, using it will show a noticeable boost in the growth spurt. A perfect addition to brackish tanks and planted communities, egg-shaped leaves show up on the water surface when this plant is about to bloom before tiny, white flowers pop out.
This plant propagates easily by spreading its runners. It requires a pH of 6 - 8, a temperature range of 68 – 82oF, and a light requirement ranging from moderate to high.
Our Thoughts: Dwarf Sagittaria is very forgiving and does not have tricky conditions. It is more tolerating than other plants making it an excellent choice for beginners in the aquarium practice.
What Other Keeper Say: "Fast delivery and excellent product too! This is my second time of buying this plant and I'm considering a third because of its amazing performance,"
Madagascar Lace plant
Madagascar Lace Plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis) originates from the island of Madagascar in Africa. It is well known in the aquarium practice because there is no connective tissue, giving it a lacey or skeletal appearance.
The flowers of this plant have a unique look and will glow up on the surface of the water. Even though it requires a little skill and work, beginners can still handle it because of its hardy nature. Madagascar lace is better rooted in tanks with a substrate like gravel or dirt.
This plant propagates sexually with seed formation. It requires a pH of 6.5 – 7.5, a temperature range of 65 – 74oF, and a light requirement ranging from low to moderate.
Our Thoughts: This plant is sure to give your aquarium an exotic and unique look because of its lacy leaves. As long as you have an aquarium with low to moderate light, it'll fit right in without any challenges.
What Other Keeper Say: "It really shows that a lot of care was taken in the packaging and shipping of this plant. So far I haven't encountered any difficulties with the plant."
FAQs and Additional Tips
How and why do plants grow flowers?
Plant reproduction is the reason why plants grow flowers. The petals and their unique colors are designed to be eye-catching to attract potential pollinators to them. So, flowers aren't just ornamental; they are the reproductive organs of plants. After attracting pollinators and the flowers get pollinated, they produce more seeds to produce more of their kind.
Even when the roots are submerged underwater, many of the flowers on plants stay above the surface to be pollinated easily. However, some select plant species can grow their flowers underwater, but they won't be as colorful or as large as other plants.
How to make your plants grow flowers in the aquarium?
The best way to make your plant flower in your aquarium is to supply the right water conditions so it can thrive. Necessary things to watch out for are the pH, temperature, humidity, and general conditions of the tank. Typically, this is different for each plant, and guides like ours can help with this. Check the above guide for your plant to get the unique requirements it needs to survive.
If you do not see your aquarium plant on our list, you can do your research or check out our other guides on different types. Remember that an LED light in a tank is necessary for photosynthesis and growth. Flowering is almost impossible without an adequate lighting system in place for the aquarium.
How long does it take the flowers to bloom?
The time for a flower to bloom varies significantly by the plant species in your tank. Regardless of the species, however, you can speed up the process by applying CO2, fertilizers and ensuring the appropriate water conditions in your tank.
Any of the above plants would be great as flowering plants for almost any aquarium. However, if you're a beginner, stay away from the Green Cabomba, as you're better off with others on this list.
For the overall best plant, we recommend the Amazon Sword because it fulfills all necessary conditions. It is a vigorous plant that will mostly stay unaffected by the water conditions, does not need fertilizers or CO2 to survive, and propagates easily.
Another great alternative is Anubias, as long as you can keep to the appropriate lighting conditions, so it does not burn.
Generally, flowering plants tend to do better with fertilizers and good tank conditions, so if you want them to flower quickly, make sure to keep the conditions in check.