Cryptocoryne wendtii is one of the most popular Crypts. It is adaptable to most conditions and the conditions in which it lives will often affect its form. When grown in lower light, the plant will become taller and more narrow; plants from higher light will typically remain more compact with broader leaves. The color also varies greatly. Some of the most popular variations in the aquarium trade are green, red and bronze.
Plants from the Cryptocoryne genus are also often known simply as “Crypts”. They are some of the oldest plants to the aquarium trade, having been kept since the dawn of the modern aquarium in the 1700’s. These plants have been known to crossbreed in the wild and hybrids are common as well as a number of variations to individual species.
Crypts can tolerate a wide range of conditions. Most tend to prefer water with a neutral to slightly higher pH and higher hardness but a few prefer slightly acidic water (pH under 7.0). A few species can even survive in brackish (slightly salty) water. They can also grow emerged (out of the water) as well as completely submerged; emerged plants may produce a flower while submerged plants multiple using their root system.
Cryptocorynes are notorious for a condition known as “Crypt Rot” in which the leaves fall off and the plant appears to be “melting”. This usually happens after the plant is transplanted or experiences another major change in its environment such as the transition between emerged and submerged growth or a swing in temperature or water chemistry. Though the leaves die off, the roots often survive and the plant may regrow over time.