02-11-2012, 08:09 PM
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I would plant it in some form of substrate, which can be sand, fine gravel, or enriched (Flourite, ADA, soil, etc). Expect the exisiting leaves to melt, as you have disturbed the roots. Most crypts will melt when disturbed. Leave the roots alone (after replanting) and it should recover.
As for leaving the roots unplanted, I've never done this with a crypt nor have I read of anyone who has, but I would expect the plant to melt and perhaps die completely. These species all grow in iron-rich clays and sands, they are amphibious bog plants, and they develop extensive root systems--as you've noticed.
Java Fern is quite a different matter, as it should not be buried or the rhizome can rot. It grows best above the substrate, such as attached to wood or rock, or just on the surface of the substrate.