Corkscrew Val (Vallisneria asiatica) gets its name from the uniform twist of its wide, grass-like leaves. These are most attractive in groups and don’t get quite as tall as many of their straight-leaved counterparts.
Vallisneria plants, commonly referred to as “Val’s”, are grass-like plants that can grow very tall in the aquarium. The leaves are very flexible and rather than growing out of the water, leaves longer than the height of the aquarium will typically float on the surface. They can be pruned by trimming the ends of the leaves. There are many variations among the ten recognized species of Vallisneria, most of which are popular and common plants for aquariums. There is a great deal of variation within many Vallisneria species and many species and variations share common names, depending on the source, leading to some confusion among hobbyists.
When planting Val’s, only plant the roots in the substrate. The white base of the plant (the “crown”) should be left exposed above the substrate. Also avoid pushing pieces of substrate between the leaves of the plant at the base. Val’s will usually spread by sending out runners from the roots in the aquarium. Most Val’s will thrive best in moderate to high lighting and in softer water. A nutrient-rich gravel will help provide the nutrition the plants need. Leaves may become weak and develop holes or tears if stressed or if not provided with sufficient nutrients but will usually recover with time.