A number of the more brightly-coloured choices amongst the plants we offer are not aquatic. Many of these are variegated or have purple tones and can thrive when kept in the marshy conditions of a paludarium or open-topped aquarium with their heads above water.
Although their time underwater can be limited, they often tolerate conditions that true aquatic plants won't, such as goldfish tanks or aquaria where lighting is limited. They also add short-term colour and impact to any set-up where plants are not the priority but should only ever be used sparingly.
We've always tried to persuade customers to choose durable aquatic species that can endure a range of conditions such as Anubias and Java fern (Microsorum) but where we've experimented with removing them from stores, overwhelming customer demand has meant that plants such as variegated Dracaena return. It can be compared to the choice between house plants and cut flowers - let's not forget that for many people they all fall under the broad 'bunch of weed' category after all.
We try to cater for all tastes without judgement - for some, this means artful aquascapes driven by CO2 and populated with tiny fishes. For others, robust fish swimming over coloured gravel, where true aquatic plants become more of a menu choice than part of a dynamic habitat.