Pogostemon Helferi: Complete Guide to Care, Breeding, Tank Size and Disease

Pogostemon Helferi care

Pogostemon Helferi needs constant fertilizing, mainly when there is not much fish in the tank to contribute. The leaves turn yellowish when they don’t get enough iron, but they can recover fast if you notice it early and add nutrients in the recommended doses.

It must have its leaves trimmed if they go too high, and entire stems must be removed to allow light and nutrients to reach the entire plant.

Pogostemon Helferi Overview 

The Pogostemon Helferi is an unusual yet beautiful foreground plant for aquariums. Its unique look is due to the curled appearance and dark green shade of its leaves. Thailand locals named this plant “dao noi,” meaning “little star.”

Its natural habitat is in riverbeds, from Thailand’s border with Burma, and living both submerged and partially immersed.

Information Chart Pogostemon Helferi
Family: Lamiaceae
Care Level: Easy
Growth Rate: Medium
Maximum Size: N/A
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
Water Conditions: pH 6 to 7.5, temperature 68 to 86 degrees F
Lighting: Plenty of lighting
Propagation: Easy to propagate
Placement: Foreground, substrate

Pogostemon Helferi Appearance

Pogostemon Helferi is a striking plant and easily noticeable by the green curly leaves, spiraling up the shoot. It is aesthetic, but it is also one of the most miniature freshwater plants in your tank. That means you can host a Pogostemon Helferi in a smaller tank.

Pogostemon Helferi

These plants are pretty similar to the Dwarf Baby Tears in appearance. It has a rosette-shaped design, and the plant’s leaf shape is wavy. The leaves of the Helferi grow outwards from the stem and create a star-shaped pattern with its wavy leaves. They look very beautiful with Dwarf Baby tears.

These leaves have a wax coating, making them look thicker and luscious in the light. 

Pogostemon Helferi Size

The typical  Pogostemon Helferi typically grows up to 2 inches on the lower end and 6 inches for larger specimens. They are an excellent foreground plant and will give your tank the appearance of being heavily planted.

Pogostemon Helferi Care and Tank Set-Up

It needs constant fertilizing, mainly when there is not much fish in the tank to contribute. The leaves will become yellowish when they don’t get enough iron, but they can recover fast if you notice it early and add nutrients in the recommended doses.

CO2 may be added to accelerate growth, but the plant will still grow without it, just a bit slower.

If the Pogostemon Helferi grows too high, trimming the leaves is mandatory and removing entire stems to allow light and nutrients to reach the whole plant.

You can replant the removed stems if you want to propagate the plant.

Pogostemon Helferi Tank Size and Specifications

The best way to make a plant feel at home and grow to its full potential is to set up a tank that mimics its natural environment. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your Helferi thrives.

Optimum Tank Size for Pogostemon Helferi

The recommended tank size for Pogostemon Helferi is 16″ x 8″ x 10″. A 5-gallon tank will be the smallest tank you can plant this plant in. If your tank is more prominent, you can use multiple plants in the tank. You can also use it as a centerpiece or in the background in a very small or a Nano aquarium.

Tank Shape for Pogostemon Helferi

Pogostemon Helferi can grow in small, nano tanks and larger tanks. 


As far as the substrate needs go, Pogostemon Helferi are versatile. They can adapt to any kind of substrate. The best choice would be clay, as the plant’s roots will quickly take hold of it. You can then cover the surroundings with gravel so that your fish cannot get to the roots quickly.

You must clean your tank regularly to keep the fish waste or other debris sticking to your plant and ruining it. To clean the substrate or the plant decorations, you can place them under running tap water. If there are any algae deposits, use an algae scraper to get rid of them. But, do not use any chemical products as it might ruin the pH of the tank and impact your plant’s health.

Water Parameters for Pogostemon Helferi 

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for Pogostemon Helferi is 73.4 to 86 degrees F. The Pogostemon Helferi thrives in a wide range of water temperatures, making it suitable for many kinds of tanks. To maintain the correct temperature, you can use external devices like a heater and a thermometer to keep it in check.

Water Parameters for Pogostemon Helferi 

pH Level

The perfect water pH level for Pogostemon Helferi is 5.5 to 7. This plant to slightly acidic water conditions. To make sure that your pH level is proper, use a testing kit to measure it from time to time.

Water Hardness

This plant is pretty tolerant to changes in water chemistry, as its natural habitat in Thailand is constantly changing; this makes it even easier to keep, as water parameters can vary.

Remember to change your water from time to time to keep your plant and the fish healthy. While changing the water, never change the entire water quantity, killing all the good bacteria in the tank. You can change 10% of the water once a week or 30% of the water every fortnight. 

Before introducing any new water in the tank, check the parameters of the water and then add it to the tank to make sure that there is no drastic change. 

Pogostemon Helferi Tank Landscape

Decorations for Pogostemon Helferi Tanks

These plants do not require special decorations, but the decor will help them grow better. For a more interesting effect, you can grow the Pogostemon Helferi on porous rocks or pieces of driftwood. Tying the roots gently around the rock or wood using a fishing line or cotton thread.

Remove dead, old, and already detached leaves, as they will die and rot anyway, thus delaying the establishment and development of the new and healthy plants.

If you leave a portion together to acclimate in your tank and divide and plant the stems after the acclimation, the stems are less likely to die off or go into shock.

Lighting for Pogostemon Helferi Tanks

The Pogostemon Helferi is straightforward to care for, thus very popular with hobbyists, especially beginner aquarists. It can thrive in either low or strong lighting, but it will grow high in search of light when it’s not strong enough.To achieve the commonly desired carpet look, strong light (about 5 watts per gallon) is recommended to achieve the commonly desired carpet look. But, it will grow as high as 6 inches to reach for more light if it is not enough.

Planting your Pogostemon Helferi

The bundle in the pot should be planted as-is, about 1.8 inches deep in the substrate, and leave it to acclimate to your water conditions. After that, you can divide it into 4-5 smaller stems and replant it in the substrate at about 1-2 inches away from another.

In a short while, the new plants will form a dense carpet. The Pogostemon Helferi will look good in smaller and larger packs in the tank foreground.

Pogostemon Helferi Compatibility and Tank Mates

This plant is an excellent option for community tanks because there are many plants like Cyperus Helferi, Pogostemon helferiAnubias nana, and fish that you can keep with it. Even the fish who occasionally nibble on plants should not be a problem unless they are very aggressive.

Pogostemon Helferi with Tetras

Ideal Pogostemon Helferi Tank Mates

The Pogostemon Helferi may be planted alone or with other foreground plants, like the Dwarf Baby Tears, and Glossostigma Elatinoides, for a more substantial impact. Some ideal fish tankmates for this plant who will benefit from it are

  • Yoyo loach
  • Rosy barb
  • Silver shark
  • Neon tetra
  • Angelfish
  • Molly 
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Otocinclus 
  • Invertebrates like shrimps and snails

Bad Tank Mates for Pogostemon Helferi

Some herbivore fish may think of it as a tasty salad, or are just violent and will uproot the plant, so try to avoid species like:

  • Rainbow fish
  • Rummy nose
  • The Almighty goldfish
  • Most crabs and crayfish
  • Oscar cichlids (they will try to uproot the plants in the tanks)

Reproduction of Pogostemon Helferi

This plant propagates through small side shoots, each developing its roots. You can leave it to propagate on its own or snip off the sprouts and replant them for faster coverage of the tank floor.

When grown immersed, the Pogostemon Helferi will develop small flowers that produce seeds. These seeds are released into the tank, resulting in new plants.

Ensure the substrate and water column are rich enough in nutrients and CO2 to support healthy growth and development.

Facts about Pogostemon Helferi

  • Pogostemon Helferi is native to Thailand, and you can find it easily in parts of Myanmar and India.
  • They are tropical plants. They grow both inside and outside the water. Even when they grow outside the water, you can still find them close to the water area.
  • The long, waxy leaves of the Helferi prove a fertile breeding ground for the fish to lay eggs on. Many fish lay eggs on the leaves of the plants in the tank, and Pogostemon Helferi is one such plant that can host eggs.

Facts about Pogostemon Helferi

Are Pogostemon Helferi Right For You ?

Authors Note: Pogostemon Helferi are suitable for every freshwater aquarium. They only need moderate care and attention, but they will grow well if you keep their living conditions. They are pretty hardy, so they will not die quickly unless the fish eat the leaves or try to uproot the plant. They are an affordable and beautiful option to decorate an otherwise empty tank and provide shelter and breeding options to the fish. If you are ready to give a little bit of your time and attention to them, then the Helferi is a perfect choice!


Can Pogostemon Helferi grows submerged?

Yes, Pogostemon Helferi is pretty versatile and can grow in both emersed and submerged conditions. You can provide more light to ensure that it reaches its full potential while it grows emersed. High humidity will guarantee its growth.

Why is my Pogostemon Helferi melting?

Pogostemon Helferi may melt due to sudden changes in the growing environment. To ensure that this does not happen, keep checking the water parameters and the plant growth regularly. 

How do I propagate my emersed Pogostemon Helferi?

When grown immersed, the Pogostemon Helferi will develop small flowers that produce seeds. These seeds are released into the tank, resulting in new plants. It will propagate on its own with minimal interaction from you.


Pogostemon Helferi is one of the most popular freshwater plants. Of course, like all plants, they need care and attention, but the effort you put in is worth the results. They bring beauty to your tank and grow pretty quickly. 

As long as you care for their water and lighting needs, they will thrive and look stunning in your freshwater tank. 

Be careful to remove any brownish parts to prevent all the plants from becoming infected and eventually dying off. As the Pogostemon Helferi can be kept in many tank setups, add this unique plant to your aquarium!

1 thought on “Pogostemon Helferi: Complete Guide to Care, Breeding, Tank Size and Disease”

  1. I did find your write ups/explanations for plant care quite helpful. fairly brief, but may be plenty of information.
    Thank You. Now to see if I can reproduce your suggested results.


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