Before I get into it… let’s pause to answer the most commonly asked question about moneywort. Is it the same as creeping Jenny?
No. Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) is often called Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) – and sometimes Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is called Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) – but they’re not the same plant. Okay, cool… so why do so many people say they are?
In the terrestrial plant world, Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is called moneywort and that’s totally normal. It’s only when we get into aquatic plants that they have different common names. But – more importantly – Google doesn’t differentiate terrestrial common names from aquatic commons names, and a lot of aquarium people blindly ran with Google on this one.
To make things more confusing, Bacopa monnieri is called water hyssop, waterhyssop, brahmi, thyme-leafed gratiola, herb of grace, and Indian pennywort… but usually only if it’s grown terrestrial. To be super clear, when I say moneywort, I’m talking about Bacopa monnieri.
Thankfully we have binomial nomenclature to clear this up.
Realistically though, taking care creeping Jenny isn’t that different from moneywort. They’re both super easy plants that have a ton of awesome uses in and out of aquariums (and everywhere in-between.)
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Table of contents
Can you float moneywort?
Moneywort can be grown floating and if your tank is particularly deep or you have weak lights, this is probably the best method for growing it. You can also grow it half immersed with some in the water and some of the plant out.
Will goldfish eat moneywort?
Goldfish usually leave this plant alone. Occasionally they may nibble on the leaves, but they typically leave the stem intact.
Does moneywort flower?
Moneywort does flower and it’s a great way to tell if you have moneywort or pennywort! Moneywort (again Bacopa monnieri) is a flowering herb that’s used in some supplements and for medicinal purposes. Their flowers are white, creeping Jenny flowers are yellow.
Distribution & Natural Habitat
Moneywort grows in the southern US, Asia, Africa, India, Austrailia, and throughout most of the tropics. You can usually find it along the edges of freshwater marshes and wetlands, in some brackish areas, as well as in some woodland areas. It’s also considered an invasive species in at least four countries.
It’s a creeping herb that grows in thick mats and “creeps” over mud and sand, rocks, trees, and anything else in its path. It rarely – if ever – grows in water deeper than a foot and tends to skirt around water instead.
Difficulty: Depends on setup
Propagation: Shoots & clippings
Speed Of Growth: Moderate
Temperature: 72 – 82 F (22 – 28 C)
Moneywort doesn’t do well at super low temperatures and it needs a moderate to high amount of light to grow well. If your lighting isn’t great or if you have a super deep tank, you might want to float it so it can be closer to the light.
Additionally, you don’t need to grow it underwater, though you can. You can let it creep over the edges of your tank, plant it in the substrate, let it grow tall, keep it trimmed short – there isn’t a limit to what you can do with this stuff. It makes a fantastic addition to paludariums and terrariums as well.
The average suggested lighting is 2 watts per gallon. Which is, frankly, super unhelpful.
You’re going to want to look for a full-spectrum light in the range of 45 par (or a bit more, if you can.) Par is closely related to the depth the light has to travel so you’ll definitely want to take your tank’s height into account. If you have a particularly wide tank, you may need to add two sets of lights to hit the suggested par.
If you don’t know a ton about par and lights, don’t worry, I’ve included the best lights for moneywort below. Most tanks aren’t taller than 24″, so each light below includes the par rating for 24″. And, again, intense lighting really only matters if you intend to plant your moneywort instead of float it.
Rating: 4.8 stars
Price: $150 – $210 *size dependent
Par: 45 at 24″
I love this light. It’s expensive, so prepare for a sticker shock, but it’s totally worth every penny of the price tag. It’s a fully customizable, automatic, and adjustable light that I can’t get enough of. Plus, it doesn’t have a remote, it’s controlled by your phone, so it fixes all the issues that the Finnex 24/7 had.
You know, like the remote not working six months after you bought it kind of thing.
Rating: 4.8 stars
Price: $35 – $73 *size dependent
Par: 60 at 24″
The second iteration of the stingray is much better than the first – which was still pretty great – and they kept the same super sleek design while pumping up the power. Not to mention it’s super affordable!
Rating: 4.7 stars
Price: $67 – $106 *size dependent
Par: 58 at 24″
My one issue – everyone’s issue, really – is that the remote gives out. If you don’t care about being able to control it, it’s a great light. If you’re excited about it being “fully” customizable (it’s not compared to the Fluval 3.0,) then this probably isn’t the light for you.
Fertilizers & Substrates
You don’t need any special substrate for moneywort to grow well, but it does have a tendency to float when you try to plant it. If you want to plant yours, you may need to look into some plant tweezers and plant weights to really get it in your substrate if you don’t want it to pop up.
As far as fertilizers go, they’re certainly helpful for getting the best growth out of moneywort. Not only will it be less “leggy,” but it will also grow faster with liquid fertilizers – floating or planted.
Recommended substrates & fertz
Rating: 4.4 stars
This fertilizer is specifically for low-tech but heavily planted tanks. As with any fertilizer, a test kit and consistent monitoring for the first few weeks is essential.
Rating: 4.8 stars
Flourish has been around for quite some time, they’re trusted, reliable and – overall – it presents very few issues. Particularly for the low-tech and low-maintenance plants. More expensive and needy plants will likely need tinkering with dosing and additional supplements.
Rating: 4.7 stars
Excel is the liquid form of Co2 (well, kinda.) So if you’re struggling with getting the best and fastest growth from your plants, experimenting with liquid carbon is a much cheaper alternative to a full-blown Co2 kit.
The biggest issue you’re going to run into with moneywort is lighting. If the lighting is low, typically the stem will start to rot on you or the whole thing will melt. There are tons of ways around this that I’ve already discussed, but keep that in mind when you’re troubleshooting what’s wrong.
Aside from lighting, there are relatively few issues with moneywort:
Slow growth isn’t a problem, per se, it’s a slow-growing plant. It’s more impatience that is the issue here. If your plant is floating, it’s worth anchoring it to get better growth. Aside from that, if your lights and your nutrients seem sufficient, it’s a waiting game.
Some plants, for whatever the reason, never seem to take off while others right next to them explode with growth. It could be that their root system grew in better or maybe their anchoring was better – whatever the reason – there’s no need to worry about it. If you’ve had the plant for, say, a year with minimal growth replanting or reanchoring it could be the solution.
Melting is incredibly common in aquatic plants as most of them are grown above water. If you pluck off the dying parts of the plant before they start rotting, the new aquatic growth should appear soon enough, and it’ll do just fine.
Algae growth is a common problem, it will eventually choke out plants or outcompete them. Algae is a sign of an unbalanced ecosystem, either there is too much light or there are too many nutrients in the water, without one of these opportunities it wouldn’t be able to take hold.
You’re going to want to dose liquid fertilizers weekly – or more, depending on the directions. You’re also likely going to want at least 8 hours of full lighting, but possibly more depending on your setup and how you want it to look. No matter how you plant it, you’ll probably want to trim it at some point. Because it’s a stem plant, you’re going to want a good pair of aquarium scissors so you don’t mangle the stems and leave parts to rot and kill your plant.
If you’re into keeping your planted moneywort short and sort of “bushy,” then you’ll likely need to up your lighting, add some Co2. You also might want to consider bi-weekly trimming as well to keep it nice and compact.
If that’s not your thing, and you like the tall jungle-y look, then reduced lighting and no Co2 is the path you’re probably going to want to take. Fortunately, moneywort isn’t known for “bending” when it gets super tall because they stem is rigid enough to hold its weight. In this case, the only thing you have to do is add some fertilizer weekly or when you change your water, whichever happens first.
The same concept, more or less, applies with floating moneywort. If you like the thick mat-like look, then you’re going to want to up your lighting, add Co2, and trim regularly. If you don’t mind the “scraggly” look, then you can just dose ferts and be done with it.
Propagation is super easy, easier still if your moneywort is floating. If you leave your plant floating, it will still grow roots. If you cut off small stem sections with the attached roots, you can plant these in the substrate and they’ll grow fine. Or, alternatively, you can leave those clippings floating as well.
If your moneywort is planted, you’ll need to wait for it to send out pseudo runners or side shoots. These runners atypically creep across the substrate while the side shoots pop out of the sides of the plant. In either case, if left long enough, they’ll produce their own root structures. Once they have their own roots, you can trim the shoots or runners (with the root attached) and replant them.
What about if your moneywort isn’t sending out shoots or runners and you want more? Like now? Well, you can take your clippings or trimmings and attempt to plant them in the substrate. Sometimes this works alright, or you can try to get your trimmings to sprout roots by floating them (in the tank or in a cup.) Once their roots sprout, you can plant them back in the substrate.
What About Fish?
Usually, I make recommendations for what fish do well with what plants. Moneywort isn’t one of those cases. Because you can put it pretty much anywhere, it does fantastically with most species of fish. It won’t work well planted in tanks with fish that like to root around in the sand, but you can always float it.
It works fantastically as a sight blocker, a place for fry to hide, or even as overhead coverage for fish that need dimmer lighting. It also works great in outdoor ponds or summer tubs – especially if you live in a place where it’s native, you can easily overwinter it outside.
There are only a few fish that this plant wouldn’t do well with, and those are usually the plant-shredding cichlids like oscars, flowerhorns, and other big CA/SA cichlids. Even plant-eating fish tend to bother it very little once it’s established, only eating a few leaves here and there. But as long as the stem survives, the plant will bounce back.
Is Moneywort Or Creeping Jenny?
There are a few subtle differences that can help you tell these two plants apart. Again, Moneywort is Bacopa monnieri and Creeping Jenny is Lysimachia nummularia. The flowers are a dead giveaway. Moneywort has small, white flowers while creeping jenny has larger, yellow flowers.
But, obviously, plants aren’t always flowering. Sow do you tell which plant you have when they aren’t flowering? A large part of it does depend on how they’re grown. Completely terrestrial plants do look different than their aquatic or semi-aquatic counterparts. In that case, you’ll need to rely more on color.
Creeping jenny is typically a little more of a gold-green and has rounder leaves. New leaves are spread further and more evenly apart.
Moneywort – grown submerged or otherwise, is usually a lime-y green and the leaves are teardrop-shaped. The distance between new leaves and old leaves isn’t super consistent, and where new leaves immerge, they appear clustered together.
Further Reading & Resources
CABI.org – Invasive Species Database: Bacopa monnieri (water hyssop)