Crinum Calamistratum

Type:Bulb/Onion Plant
Origin:West and Central Africa
Growth Rate:Slow
Light Demand:Medium to High
CO2 Demand:Low
Care:Easy to Medium

Crinum Calamistratum is also known as “Narrow Crinum” or “African onion plant” is an aquatic plant species belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family. The natural habitat of this plant is West and Central Africa (especially Cameroon). It lives submerged in wildlife. According to the records, this plant was first discovered in the Kumba region of Cameroon in 1948. It has been grown in aquariums by hobbyists in recent years.

This plant, which has long, slender, and curly leaves, contains different shades of green, but mostly dark green. Crinum Calamistratum structurally rises from an onion-like bulb and has vigorous roots. The leaves can grow up to 120 cm in length. On the other hand, the maximum width of the plant can be up to 30 cm.

The ideal water pH balance for this plant is between 6,0-8,0. Water hardness between 4-18 dGH is proper for this plant. It can tolerate both soft and hard water and also lives in brackish water. Water temperatures between 20-28°C are suitable for the plant to grow healthy. The growth rate of this plant that grows completely underwater is slow compared to other aquarium plants. It could not tolerate shady areas and frequent displacement. These situations may cause plant leaves to fall out and weak root development. Since it has a strong root structure, the substrate must be deep enough to support and allow root development and also rich in nutrients.

Carbon dioxide addition is not necessary for growth since it grows slow. Light conditions are significant for plant health, and the proper lighting ranges from medium to high-intensity light. High-intensity light should be used for the plant to bloom. One of the beautiful things about this plant is that its leaves are resistant to herbivorous fish. For this reason, it can live in harmony with many fish species in the aquarium. Due to the low tolerance of this plant to shady environments, while keeping especially with floating plants, paying more attention to the light penetration is vital.


Crinum Calamistratum can propagate sexually and asexually. But, sexual propagation (pollination) rarely occurs in aquariums. If suitable conditions are provided, daughter plants begin to form around the bulbs of large plants that grow healthy. After these daughter plants reached three or four leaves, these parts can be plucked off from the parent plant and placed on the substrate. The replanted parts will develop its root system to become an independent plant. If propagation is desired, additional nutrient supplements to the substrate for the healthy development of the root system is necessary. Instead of adding fertilizers to the substrate, nutrient-rich soils are also available in the market are preferable.

Crinum Calamistratum has white and beautiful flowers. The flowering of the plant is more common in soft waters with high intensity of lighting and rich in carbon dioxide environment. Flowers remain open for about 1-week and also new flowers bloom every 4-6 weeks. In summary, Crinum Calamistratum was not popular with aquarists until recent years but, with its easy care, harmonious life with aquarium fish, exotic appearance, and beautiful flowers, its popularity has started to grow. Crinum Calamistratum is generally placed in the center of the aquarium as the masterpiece. It also provides a role as a shelter for aquarium creatures such as dwarf shrimp and nano fish.

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