Creeping Staurogyne (Staurogyne repens)

When it comes to adding lush greenery to your aquarium, there’s one plant that might be just the thing you’re looking for: Staurogyne repens, otherwise known as the Creeping Staurogyne.

This rapid-growing species boasts vibrant green, paddle-shaped foliage, and thrives as a foreground cover in all sorts of paludariums, aquariums, and other small-space habitats.

Best of all, it’s easy to care for and propagate, making it a perfect aquatic plant for those who are new to aquascaping.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cultivating Staurogyne repens.

Read on to find out how you can get started growing this tenacious aquarium plant.

Quick Stats:
Scientific Name Staurogyne repens
Common Name Creeping Staurogyne, Java moss
Family Name Acanthaceae
Habitat Still Waters
Temperature 72°F – 80°F
Height 4-6 inches
pH 6.0-7.5
Lighting Bright, Indirect

What is a Creeping Staurogyne?

Staurogyne repens, also known as creeping Staurogyne, is a rare and stunning stem plant from South America.

This plant is unique for its bright green foliage—often blushed with red—and colorful stripes along its stem.

Creeping Staurogyne grows in a low carpet habit, and unlike most other stem plants, it does not require pruning to achieve a ‘carpet’ shape.

It does, however, need some maintenance from time to time to keep its shape and health, and can grow quite rapidly in the right conditions.

Staurogyne repens "Creeping Staurogyne" Plant Care Guide

Creeping Staurogyne Facts

Staurogyne repens is often used as a foreground plant in an aquascape tank.

It can also be used as a mid-ground or background plant as well, as its creeping habit often cascades down tanks nicely, creating a lush and attractive look.

Due to its low-light requirements, Staurogyne repens is one of the few stem plants that can be grown in low-light environments and is a great choice for beginners looking to get started with stem plants.


Creeping Staurogyne has long and slim stem tips, with vibrant and waxy green foliage that often blushed with red.

The leaves are small in size, oval-shaped, and slightly pointed.

As this plant prefers slow-moving water and shady habitats, the leaves remain relatively short and broad compared to similar plants in the Acanthaceae family.

Along each stem of this plant are thin, blackish-brown stripes which are often used to identify the species. 


Staurogyne repens is native to the Neotropics and has been found in the Amazon basin, as well as parts of Central and South America.

This plant does best in still waters and prefers a water column filled with plants with low light penetration, as well as a slightly acidic soil substrate.

Its ideal temperature range is 72°F – 80°F. 

pH Preference

Staurogyne repens prefers slightly acidic water and soil, with ideal pH levels around 6.0-7.5.

However, this plant will tolerate slight variations in pH without any issues.

It is important to note that Staurogyne repens must not be kept in water that is too alkaline, as this will encourage an unwanted algae bloom.

Vivarium Type

The Staurogyne repens is quite an easy-going species.

With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when it comes to choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in.

It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this foliage plant with its basic needs.

The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant.

Be sure to choose setups that are moist and high in humidity.

Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

    • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.

    • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosures with little to no aquatic features.

    • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosures with some terrain features present.

    • Aquarium– Fully aquatic-based enclosure with little to no dry terrain.

Vivarium Placement

Staurogyne repens is best placed in the foreground or mid-ground of a vivarium.

It is best grown on a densely packed substrate, with even lighting.

This plant is particularly useful for aquascaping, as its bright coloration can help bring out other features in the tank.

It is also ideal for tanks with low light, as this plant is able to tolerate lower light conditions better than other stem plants.


Staurogyne repens prefers a densely packed aquatic substrate. Sand, gravel, or a combination of the two can be used for the substrate.

Be sure to include fertilizers to ensure proper growth and nutrition.


When it comes to aquarium lightingStaurogyne repens is an adaptable plant.  The plant needs bright, indirect lighting to thrive.

This plant enjoys light levels between 4 and 10+ watts per gallon, depending on the intensity of the light.

If your light is too bright, the leaves of this plant may turn a light brownish or yellowish color.

Buy Creeping Staurogyne

When it comes to buying Staurogyne repens, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased is essential for its success in a vivarium or pond.

Vegetation that is already in poor conditions will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

Creeping Staurogyne Care and Propagation

Staurogyne repens is a moderate grower and requires some maintenance to keep it in its optimal form.

It is relatively resistant to pests and diseases but may require some light pruning to help maintain its shape.

How to Grow

Staurogyne repens can be easily propagated by dividing the stalks and replanting them.

Plant small, individual stems in the substrate, being sure to press them down firmly.

Once planted, the stems will begin to root and spread outwards.

This plant prefers light to moderate current, as this will encourage faster and more compact growth.

Water Requirements

Staurogyne repens has a fast growth rate, so it is important to maintain a consistent water column for it.

Maintain the water column with a pH of 6.0-7.5 and a temperature of 72°F – 80°F for optimal growth.

Plants Similar to Creeping Staurogyne

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup.

Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find the Staurogyne repens hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this aquarium plant

Here are other aquatic plants you might find will do well with or in place of Staurogyne repens:

Rotala indica "Indian Toothcup" Plant Care Guide
Vallisneria spp. "Eelgrass" Plant Care Guide
Bucephalandra spp. "Buce Plant" Plant Care Guide


In conclusion, Staurogyne repens is an excellent addition to any aquatic landscape.

Its rapid growth and vibrant green foliage lend texture and dimension to otherwise static vivariums, and its easy care and propagation make it a great option, even for those just beginning in the world of aquascaping.

With its ability to quickly spread and cover the bottom of an aquarium, Staurogyne repens can truly transform the look of your small-space habitat.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the vivarium hobby, adding the Creeping Staurogyne to your enclosure will be sure to impress!

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Staurogyne repens does not need CO2 to survive. This type of aquatic plant does not require additional CO2 to thrive in an aquarium environment. However, added CO2 can help to promote healthy growth. CO2 supplementation provides the necessary carbon dioxide for photosynthesis which assists the plant in producing the energy it needs. CO2 is especially important when providing high light levels to Staurogyne repens.

Yes, Staurogyne repens can spread through runners and is considered to be an aggressive carpetforming stem plant.

Yes, Staurogyne repens is a root feeder. It ingests the nutrients from the substrate by its root system.

Yes, Staurogyne repens can grow on driftwood. Driftwood is an ideal material for planting Staurogyne repens and it can be anchored to driftwood or wood chunks with fishing line to help establish any unattached stems. Additionally, planting in regular soil and attaching the stems to the driftwood is also effective.

Yes, Staurogyne repens is easy to take care of. This hardy and undemanding plant is ideal for beginners and experienced aquarium owners alike, requiring minimal care and maintenance. It is an excellent foreground or midground plant that is easy to propagate and relatively tolerant of most water parameters.

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