A fern that is fully aquatic and which is really easy to care for is Salvinia Natans. They provide shade and shelter for some fishes. The beginner’s guide helps in understanding the plant and the proper way to plant them

Salvinia natans plant – Overview

Common NameSalvinia Natans are popularly called Floating Fern. Other common names include Water Butterfly Wing and Floating Watermoss
ColorThe plant has leaves that are light green in color
Habitat/OriginThey are native to Central Europe. They thrive in freshwaters like ponds and water gardens
Average SizeTheir thickness is 2-3 inches
Growth RateIf the water temperature is proper in the tank, they can grow really fast
PlacementIn the tank, they are placed on the surface of the water. They do not fix themselves in the substrate hence they can spread anywhere on the surface of the tank
MaintenanceAs this plant grows really fast and dense in proper condition, they need to be pruned regularly
Planting MethodsThe plants should not be completely submerged nor be above the ground. They should be placed in such a way that the roots are submerged in the water and the leaves are in the open air
Ideal SetupMost suitable for Biotope kind of setup. The tank should be well lit. They also need a warm and humid location. Since they do not have typical roots, they do need any substrate. If they are kept outdoors, they should be kept in full sunlight
Care LevelThey are really easy to care for all they demand is proper Lighting and temperature
SupplementsGive them a little amount of iron supplement dosing and nothing more is required
LightingThey need heavy lighting. Keeping them near the window would be of benefit. If that is not possible, have brighter LEDs or UV lighting in the tank
Water temperatureThe temperature can be maintained from 60 – 70 degrees F. The pH range is from 6.5 – 7.5
PropogationSalvina natans are very easy to propagate. Just cut some leaves in clumps and place them elsewhere. With the proper condition, they will establish themselves as new plants in no time
Approx. CostThey cost approximately about 2 to 3 USD and in Southeast Asia, they are about 1/2 the price in the USA
Common DiseasesNo serious disease or insect issue has been reported by fellow hobbyist
What to look for when buyingPick the plants which do not holes in their leaves
Related SpecifiesThis aquarium plant does not have long roots like other plants. They have some root-like strings of green hanging down alongside the leaves. This is one way to identify the real Floating Fern. Another thing to look for is that the fern is snail free or any other pest-free
FAQs Check out the most asked questions about Salvinia Natans

Salvinia natans plant gallery


  1. Species was first described and named in Flora Pedemontana 2. 289. 1785.; and in Bak. Hdb. 135. NPfl. 402. 1785 “Plant Name Details for Salvinia natans
  2. Joyce McCauley (April 30, 2001). Salvinia natans. Washington, Pennsylvanian: Washington and Jefferson College. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  3. “Profile for Salvinia natans (Floating fern)”PLANTS Database.
  4.  “Salvinia Natans”. It’s a Fishy Business