The Raleigh Aquarium Society has revised its Horticulture Award Program (HAP) to encourage more members to maintain and reproduce aquatic plants, make them more widely available and to share their knowledge, aquatic gardening experiences and aquascaping talents. The program is open to all members.

Points are still awarded according to plant hardiness and general level of difficulty. In the revised program, points will now be awarded for reproducing the plant(s) or simply maintaining them in their tank for at least 3 months. Semi-aquatic (amphibious) plants grown out of water are now allowed.

To illustrate and document success, the RAS member may now submit a sequence of two or more photographs of the plant(s) in their tank or growing container and are encouraged to include commentary and advice on how to keep, arrange and reproduce them. The photos can also present the beauty of individual aquarium plants and placement in an aquascape. The pictures and other submitted documentation will be shared with other aquarists through the RAS web site or social media. To receive credit and to further share with members, the plants could alternatively be donated for sale in an RAS auction. A desired outcome of the program is a database of the plants successfully grown in the local area and which may be available for sale or trade.

For more information, feel free to contact Neil Frank (NC.aquarist@gmail.com).


  1. Promote keeping, propagation of aquatic plants in home aquaria;

  2. Gather and disseminate information about cultivation, maintenance, display and propagation methods

  3. Advertise and increase the availability of plants among RAS members (for sale or trade), including rare or hard-to-obtain varieties


Submit a HAP form and at least one of the following:

  • Two or more time-sequenced photos, spanning a period of at least one or more months,

  • Donate the plant to an RAS auction at a monthly meeting or weekend workshop.

  • Write an article on the maintenance and propagation of the plant for the monthly newsletter

  • Do a presentation at a monthly meeting.

    (The latter two may be applicable for plants whose growth in the aquarists tank can be documented, but is no longer available for entry into an auction)


  1. The photographs of the member’s aquarium should show the progression of the plant(s) over time. For slower growing plants, photos taken at least 3 months apart may be needed. A full tank view and close-up photos are both desirable.

  2. For bunch plants and floating plants, doubling of the original amount of plant material or a minimum of 3 stems are needed,

  3. For plants with rhizomes that grow above the substrate (e.g. Microsorum and Anubias), at least 2 inches of new rhizome separated from the parent plant is necessary to receive credit.

  4. In the case of plants with rhizomes that grow below the substrate (like Cryptocoryne), production of one self-sustaining separate plant is sufficient.

  1. For plants whose small number of leaves grow from a crown and reproduce with “runners” like Vallisneria or chain swords (Helanthium spp., whose synonym is Echinodorus), production and submittal of several plants are needed,

  2. Plants produced by adventitious new plants developed on leaves or submerged stems must be large enough to judged self- sustaining and identifiable as the same as the parent plant.

  3. Points for flowering of plants may be awarded for either submerged or emersed specimens.

  4. For propagation by seed, points will be awarded in addition to points awarded for flowering.


  1. Points are awarded for only one reproduction of each species.

  2. Seeds must have been propagated from the breeder’s own plants.

  3. Photos should be submitted to the HAP chairperson or any RAS board member via email.

  4. Report forms and photo commentary should be given to the HAP chairperson or any RAS board member either through

    the web-site, by e-mail or as paper copy at the monthly meeting.

  5. The aquarist must be a member in good standing (dues paid) of the Raleigh Aquarium Society.


A certificate will be awarded to recognize your accomplishments at the following levels:

Novice Plant Breeder - 50 points, any class

Aquatic Horticulturist - 100 points, max 50 in class A

Advanced Aquatic Horticulturist - 200 points, at least one in class C

Expert Aquatic Horticulturist - 300 points, oral or written report

Master Aquatic Horticulturist - 400 points, present a program at a general meeting


Hardiness classifications and scientific nomenclature from http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/plantfinder/ Species with strikethrough line are noxious weeds as listed by USDA or North Carolina and are prohibited in NC and are not allowed in the RAS HAP.

The detailed listing of plants can be found here.

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