Pogostemon helferi has been know to since for many years, but was discovered for aquarium purposes by Nonn Panitvong and Arthit Prasartkul in 2006. Until it was properly identified, it was was given the name “Downoi”, which means “little star” in Thai. This plant comes from the northwestern part of Thailand, in the area of the Kwai river and its tributaries close to the Myanmar border. The water there has some calcium carbonate in it. These plants, in nature grow on and between the rocks in their environment.
Pogostemon helferi is a delightful little foreground plant of unique texture. It does best in a tank with good light and supplemental CO2, but can also be grown successfully in excellent conditions in a tank without CO2 as long as the water is not too soft. In the aquarium they will do very well planted in a soil based substrate or can be grown over rocks as they would in the wild. The stems are quite brittle, and prone to floating, so must be handled with care during planting. In conditions not to their liking, they are prone to losing their leaves.
Family Name: Lamiaceae
Native To: Thailand
Lighting: Moderate to high
Requirements: Needs calcium in the water. Does best with supplemental CO2
Growth Form: Small rosettes
Growth Rate: Moderate
True Aquatic: Yes
Placement in Tank: Foreground
Available As: Potted, Tissue culture cups and packs