Fittonia: Easy to grow eye catching beautiful house plants

Fittonia: Easy to grow eye catching beautiful house plants
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Image source: Mokkie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fittonia are easy to grow houseplants popular for use in hanging baskets, container gardens, and terrariumsThey prefer humid conditions. The plants look beautiful and attractive because of their striking leaf pattern.

Quick Details of Fittonia

Other Common NamesNerve Plant, Mosaic Plant, Net Plan
TypeEvergreen herbaceous perennial indoor houseplants
MaintenanceLow- moderate
FloweringUsually July to August(Sporadically)
LightFiltered indirect sun light or partial shade
WaterRegular watering
TemperatureHumid, mild temperatures
SoilWell draining , moist soil
Fertilizerones a month with any organic fertilizer or compost
HabitatPeru, Tropical rainforests of South America
ToxicityNil and pets friendly
Common DiseasesNot prone to pests or pathogens
Scientific nameFittonia albivenis

Fittonia Buying Instructions

  • Buy a healthy and bushy plant
  • This is one of the best plant for hanging basket

Overview of Fittonia

They are tropical plants belonging to the family Acanthaceae (Acanthus), with striking pink and green leaves, white and green, or red and green leaves. Foliage is predominantly olive green with the substitute shade being brought over by veining.

This vibrant houseplant, hailing from Peru and other parts of the South American rain forest, craves high humidity but not too much irrigation. They are named after its discoverers of the 19th century, the botanists Elizabeth and Sarah May Fitton. It is a low-growing creeper that is a perfect fit for terrariums or bottle gardens. Fittonia, with a trailing spread of 12 to 18 inches, usually grows to a height of 3 to 6 inches. The leaves look remarkable with their striking vein. The leaves are long, ovate of about 4 inches (10 centimeters ) in length.

Fittonia argyroneura and Fittonia albivenis are the two most common types found and has green leaves with silver veins.

Fittonia verschaffeltii (Red Nerve Plant) are plants with dark green leaves and red veins, they can produce little yellow blooms.

Frankie Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis ‘Frankie’) has a pink hue in there leaves and looks more like pink leaves than green.

The blooms are thin reddish to white spikes that appear to mix in with the rest of the plants. When it is cultivated indoors as a houseplant, the blooms of the nerve plant are seldom seen.

Usage and Advantage of Fittonia

  • Grown as an ornamental plant

General Care for Fittonia

Special Care: It doesn’t require much care. However, make sure to provide the right amount of humidity to the plants. Mist the leaves regularly during summer. Use a pebble tray to add humidity. Repot Fittonia regularly in spring or early summer. When repotting to avoid soil compaction and waterlogging, always use fresh potting soil. Regularly pinch off the ends of any rising stems and nip flower spikes at the base to encourage the growth of thick, lush vegetation, unless you want to let the plants flower. Before repotting onto fresh soil, prune the roots back .

Soil: Fittonia grows well in a peat-moss foundation, normal potting soil. A potting mixture that is rich in organic matter and that keeps water well while ensuring adequate drainage suits the best. As they provide both organic matter and moisture preservation, a peat-based potting mixture, such as African violet potting mix, or a loamy indoor potting soil are good alternatives. Put a little coarse sand in the nerve plant potting mixture of your choosing to ensure that it does not get waterlogged.

Water: Fittonia likes its soil to be watery and damp, but not soggy. Thoroughly water while the top 25% of the soil is dry. Letting Fittonia dry out too much, will result in limp leaves. While, if thoroughly watered, it will recover easily, repeated fainting spells will inevitably take their toll on the plant. Yellowed, limp leaves can also be seen in Fittonia plants that are allowed to stagnate in water.

Sunlight: As a tropical plant which grows naturally in the humid, bright shade of tropical forests, when grown as a houseplant, this plant prefers similar conditions. Fittonia prefers bright, indirect light. Lower light will lead it to lose some of its vivid colour and it will slow down growth. The leaves can be burnt by so much sun.

Temperature: To survive, they require a humid climate. A bathroom with ample light or a windowsill in the kitchen will be a perfect place to develop your Fittonia. They really enjoy a humid terrarium. At average room temperatures between 15-25 degree Celsius they can flourish. In the winter months, prevent cold draughts and direct airflow from heaters. Fittonia leaves can easily wither and wilt without sufficient moisture.Through watering and misting the leaves, the plants can be revived as soon as you know that it starts wilting, but persistent wilting can stress the plant and ultimately cause irreparable damage.

Fertilization: Feed the plants regularly with a weak dose of liquid fertiliser designed for tropical plants during their growing season. Provide half the recommended amount. To flush the soil out and avoid the build-up of mineral salts, it is vital that you water between feedings. And in the winter months, avoid fertilizing your fittonia.

Pests and other problems for Fittonia

They are not prone to any pathogens or pests when grown in optimum conditions. However, overwatering can lead to the leaves turning or under watering can lead to the leaves limp and yellow and can also lead to root rot. Under watering can also cause the leaves to turn limp.

Excess or direct sunlight can burn the leaves and lack of proper light can prevent proper coloration.

The decline in leaves is normally caused by cool temperatures or draughts. Try mimicking the tropical environments where this species grows naturally. Typically, dried, shriveled leaves suggest that the plants do not get enough moisture or get too much direct light. In winter, use a room humidifier as humidity levels will drastically decrease.

Fungus gnats, mealy bugs, or aphids are some insects that infects Fittonia. To avoid the bugs from spreading to other indoor plants, infestations should be promptly handled and infected plants should be kept isolated.

Propagation of Fittonia

Propagation usually takes place through leaf tip cutting. The leaf cuttings can be collected during late spring or early summer, while repotting the plant. To achieve the best results, make sure to add at least two growing nodes on the cutting. You should expect roots to sprout within two to three weeks after you’ve potted up the cutting in a peat-based soil mix.

reema shaju

reema shaju

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