How do I stop my red plants fading?

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Have you ever wondered why your red plants fade so quickly? Jeremy Gay offers his advice to one reader who would like to know why his red plants always turn bronze.

Q) I’ve tried a number of times to grow red plants. I’ve tried Rotala rotundifolia and also Red Ludwigia. They are really red when I purchase them but within a few weeks they have lost the red colour and end up bronze. Please can you advise? Are there any plants that will stay red?

GEORGE SCOTT, VIA EMAIL

A) JEREMY GAY SAYS: I’ve always found Ludwigia palustris to be one of the easiest of the red plants to keep, but Althernanthera reineckii is pretty straightforward to grow, and widely available. Many of the tropical water lilies are red including Nymphaea rubra and sp.’red’, and they can be contained by pruning the leaves regularly.

The best red colour with any plant will come from bright lighting, and several LED lights with actual red chips will encourage growth, and greatly enhance that red colour in the leaves.

Some plant foods are specially designed to help you grow red plants, like Aquaforest Red Boost, and combine that with CO2 fertilisation and strong lighting and you will achieve success.