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Can I make my anubias rhyzome grow from the other end?


22 Dec 2015
Calcutta, India
My anubias nana is growing pretty well on a bog wood. But unfortunately its rhyzome is growing on the end where I don't want it to. I want it to grow at the other end, where it is completely static for the last four months or so when I first bought it. It is not possible now to uproot the plant because it has taken a good hold on the wood.
Is there any trick that I can do which might induce growth at the other end? Incidentally the direction of growth has nothing to do with direction of light. Light is pretty uniform from all directions and coming from the top. The worst case scenario for me would be to cut the rhyzome but I want to avoid doing that.
You could release a few of the roots and slowly shuffle it about to the desired area. Or simply re attach with some cable tie and then cut off once its taken hold again.
Unfortunately the answer it is no, as the side that is growing is the "embryonic" active one. However you could just detach it and flip it around if possible
Couple of tricks you might try. The end you want new growth. Count forward a couple of leaves then peel back and remove the next couple of leaves. This should induce a new branch of rhyzone. Easier would be to simple go to the growth end, count back about fives leaves and use a stanly blade to cut the rhyzone. The old plant will continue to grow possible sprut some new growth and then you simple attach the propergated plant in the direction you want it. Anubias is the bonsai tree of the aquarium :D
This we have to see a bit deeper than what just visualy obvious for us.. As with so many things in nature, it follows some natural laws and always go towards the most favorable direction (direction of least resistance). For a plant as living thing there are more factors to it than only the consistency of the medium it grows in or on. For a plant with it's roots in the substrate it could be something else in the substrate preventing it to grow in a certain direction this could be anything e.g. affecting the soil to be less favorable, so it's grows in the other more favorable direction. Till that particalar spot becomes more favorable again. This all can happen on a level which is visualy not recognizable for us, there could be a number of things in the soil at that spot slowing root growth down in comparison to the other direction..

For an epiphyte growing on a piece of wood it kinda works the same way, the plant will grow in it's favorable direction. As you already state your self with this Anubias you see no obvious reason why it does. But still the plant is triggered somehow to grow faster in that direction rather than the other.

Now sceintist discovered that plants and their rootsystems work in symbiosis with some kind of bacteria in and around it's rhizoids.

For a epiphyte on a piece of wood the reason could be in that piece of (dead) wood. Visualy for us that piece of wood is consistend and looks the same all over. But on a microscopic level there probably are patches in this wood which are in consistency more favorable and containing a richer bacterial population the plant lives with. So there is more food fo the plant in that direction and the plant will rather grow faster towards that.. :)

Soil we can replace, but with epiphytes on a piece of hardware this is rather difficult and we probably just need to let mother nature do it's thing. Even if you cut loos the plant and turn it around, it probably wont change it's favorite direction if that piece of wood in that direction yet is not ready enough for the plant to use it. The plant will keep growing faster in the direction where it gets the least recistance in this case. Not to say that the other direction never will be good, eventualy it might it's just a biological process which needs it's time.

This you can speed up as EnderUK says, cut a piece of rhizome or buy another nana and plant it in that spot, this might speed up that process... :) Put some moss with it, could also speed up that symbiotic process..

If you look closely we see this happen all the time in our tanks and in nature. In hour tanks the first to show are usualy the algae.. I have one, growing algae film and all others yet don't.. Algae spores are all over, it's not just a matter of change algae spores landed on that spot.. :thumbup:

And this is just one possible explanation there probably are many more..
Thanks a lot everyone for your valued opinions. I will go with what enderUK says. Attaching some moss is not possible because I cannot really pick the bog wood out without disturbing everything around. It is surrounded by a thick carpet of tripartita. So unless there is a way to attach moss to a bog wood without picking it up (I normally tie moss with a thin black thread) that's not happening. Buying another nana is an easy way out :) I was just trying to understand the biology of it all.
Thanks once again everyone.
Zozo sorry to disagree with you but the direction of growth has nothing to do with physical pressure. The cells at the tip of a stem are different from the others below it. You can search for meristem to find more about it. There is also a strong gradient of hormones between the top of the stem and the bottom that stops stems branching, however if you remove the tip of the stem the producer of this hormone disappears and the other auxiliar buds takeover causing new branches to form from these buds

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An Anubias attaches to the wood with it's (hair) roots and not with the rhizome.. If you are very gentle it might be possible to stick a tiny piece of moss between the rhizome and driftwood.. :) Doesn't need to be a huge chunk, but just a tiny little bit.. Moss attaches faster than most plants, because it doesn't have roots it starts straight away with rhizoids and might spread over the wood in that direction or not.

@Bacms don't be sorry :) to disagree, that's how we learn from eachother. :thumbup:. I'm just trying to explain in laiman terms what the possibilities are and that there is much more in plant life than meets the eye. I don't mean any physical pressure with the path of least resistance in a mechanical way, like in laws of principle of least action. It was more meant in a way to say there probably is less or maybe to much of something available at a that particular spot making the plant grows rather faster in the other direction. I spend a lot of time in my garden, in the woods and in front of my planted tanks and also see thing like this happen everywhere. That a plant or moss or even algea just does not want to grow at a certain spot on a piece of wood or soil. Like the wood is totaly covered except that 1 patch isn't, everything kinda grows around it. That could mean 2 things, something is not there to make it happen or the other way around something is there preventing it from happening. What it is?? We can have theories about the possibilities. The above is just one..

But there obviuosly is a factor present which makes that spot of wood not ready yet to be overgrown plants avoid it and rather use their energy to grow the other way.. :)

Maybe you are right, turn the plant around could work as well, i can not disagree with that i do not know till it is tried. But the possibility is valid it just wil start grow in the same direction again. It could be flow causing it to do that.. etc. etc. :)
Unfortunately the answer it is no, as the side that is growing is the "embryonic" active one. However you could just detach it and flip it around if possible

Is there any way to tell which side is going to be the embryonic one without actually seeing new growth of a new leaf. I am asking this so that next time I plant an anubias I know how to let it sit on the bog wood.
You can normally tell by how old the leaves are and the old end is normally "square" while the growth side is round and as leaves attached to it. Hard to say without actually looking at it
Hi all,
Is there any way to tell which side is going to be the embryonic one without actually seeing new growth of a new leaf.
You can look at the location of the buds and the shape of the leaf scars.

If you look at the image of the Anubias rhizome, the growth is basically <"monopodial">, and the leaves scars are horseshoe shaped, with the concave side pointing towards the growing tip.

You can also see the forward pointing axillary buds in the leaf axils. It is from these buds that branching can occur.

cheers Darrel
Nice photo.. :) Love how it shows the little new plantlet under the E.. :)
This isn't a very good monitor, but due to its position on the rhizome I think that is a root?

Could be. :) i blew the photo up and it looks to me like i see tiny leaves growing, that's why i thought it's a new plantlet..
If you have a windows pc it's easy to blow web content up on the fly with holding the control key down and scroll the mousewheel.. If you right click the pic and choose show picture you'll get a new page with the pic only, there you can blow it up it even bigger.
Very nice discussion it is shaping up to be. Thanks a lot Darrel. I guess I will need more minute observation and experience.