Fittonia are herbaceous perennials native to South America (mainly from Peru). The genus is part of the Akantov family and has about 10 species.
Fittonia plants are low. Shoots pubescent, creeping. The flowers are solitary, yellow (closer to a gray shade). Flowers are collected in spike-shaped inflorescences in the axils of the bracts. The bracts are round-ovoid in shape with a length and width of approximately 1 cm. Leaves, depending on the species, can be from 2 to 16 cm long, elliptical, green with shades of purple and with brightly distinguished veins.
With proper care, Fittonia grows well, but it should be borne in mind that the plant loves high air humidity and a stable temperature, since a lack of moisture and sudden changes in temperature can be detrimental to Fittonia.
Briefly about growing
- Flowering: the plant is grown as an ornamental deciduous.
- Lighting: bright diffused light.
- Temperature: in summer – about 24 ºC, in winter – about 20 ºC.
- Watering: regular and moderate. In the spring-summer period – immediately after the top layer of the soil has dried, and in winter you can allow the substrate to dry out to a quarter of the depth.
- Air humidity: high. The plant needs spraying in the morning and evening. You can place containers with water near the fittonia or place the plant on a tray with wet pebbles.
- Topdressing: from spring to autumn – with mineral fertilizers for decorative deciduous plants in a half dosage once every 2 weeks, and in winter – once a month.
- Pruning: during the growing season, the tops of the shoots are pinched, and at the end of March, the bare shoots are cut in several stages.
- Rest period: not pronounced.
- Transplant: annual, in March-April, immediately after pruning.
- Substrate: 2 parts of sod and coniferous land and 1 part of peat and sand.
- Reproduction: cuttings, layering and dividing the bush.
- Pests: thrips, scale insects, mealybugs and spider mites.
- Diseases: loss of decorativeness due to old age or as a result of improper care.
Fittonia care at home
Home fittonia, like most indoor plants, needs bright light, but you don’t need to place the plant on a southern windowsill. Can be placed in a room with south-facing windows, but slightly in depth, so that direct sunlight does not fall on the Fittonia leaves. The plant thrives best on western or eastern windowsills. It can grow from the north side, but with a lack of lighting, the leaves lose their beauty. In winter fittonia in room conditions, it is advisable to increase daylight hours using fluorescent lamps.
In summer, the temperature should be around 24 ° C, and in winter around 20 ° C. If, in winter, the Fittonia plant is kept at lower temperatures, then it can get sick. Also, a sharp temperature drop and drafts should not be allowed – the sure harbingers of leaf fall. Fittonia is a houseplant, so you can’t take it outside or on a balcony, even in summer.
The basic rule is that an earthen lump in a pot with a Fittonia flower should not completely dry out. The second rule is that the soil should not sour. If you ignore rule # 1, the Fittonia will shed the leaves. If you do not adhere to rule number 2, the roots rot. In winter, water the flower a couple of days after the topsoil dries up, the rest of the time – immediately after drying. Water for irrigation is taken from a settled one, slightly higher than the temperature in the room.
The fittonia plant at home needs regular spraying, since dry air leads to disease or pest damage. It is necessary to spray at least once a day, and preferably two: once in the morning, the other in the evening. To increase the humidity, you can put a container with water next to the pot, or put the pot itself on a pallet with wet expanded clay. The pot should not be immersed in water. It is important to remember that Fittonia leaves cannot be polished.
The indoor flower Fittonia needs fertilizers throughout the year, but it must be remembered that their excess will immediately affect the health of the flower. Therefore, the concentration of fertilizer should be halved compared to those suggested on the package. Complex mineral fertilizers are used: once a month in winter, and twice a month throughout the rest of the year.
In order for home fittonia to branch better, it is necessary to pinch the shoots. Over time, the bottom of the Fittonia is exposed, which makes the plant less attractive. To rejuvenate the plant, it is necessary to prune at the end of March. But it should be borne in mind that if you completely cut off all the leaves, the development of young shoots will slow down, so pruning is carried out in several stages.
Fittonia needs to be replanted annually in March-April. Together with the transplant, you can also rejuvenate the plant, since Fittonia becomes less decorative with age. The pot needs to be low, but wide. Expanded clay or fine brick is poured at the bottom of the pot, and a substrate is poured on top: two parts of coniferous and sod land, and one part of sand and peat.
Propagation by cuttings
Fittonia can be propagated annually at the time of transplant, combining it with rejuvenation. For reproduction of Fittonia at home, cuttings are taken from a cutting with three to five leaves from the top of the plant. In order for the stalk to take root as quickly as possible, its length should not exceed 8 cm. The stalk is placed with the cut end in the sand, covered with a jar and waited for about a month, from time to time removing the jar, watering and sprinkling. If you root the stalk in a jar of water, then you need to pour no more than a centimeter of water, and tie the jar itself with a bag. Two to three times a week, the bag is untied and the leaves are sprayed. The temperature must not drop below 26 ° C. When good and strong roots are formed, the plant can be planted in the earthen mixture described above.
Dividing the bush
When transplanting, the Fittonia bush can be divided into several small ones and planted in separate pots. The main thing is not to damage the roots, so you need to carefully separate the bushes. Or, on the contrary, plant several plants in one pot to make the bush look more luxuriant, but this can hardly be called reproduction.
Reproduction by layering
Indoor fittonia itself can reproduce by layering, but it is better to help her. To do this, you need to slightly dig in a part of the stem without foliage. After some time, roots will appear in this place, after which the cutting can be separated from the mother plant and planted in an individual pot.
Diseases and pests
Fittonia died suddenly. The first option is too much watering, especially in winter. So you need to water less often, read above how. The second reason is too cold air or sudden temperature changes.
The lower leaves of fittonia fall. In Fittonia, this is normal as the stem becomes exposed over time. The plant needs to be rejuvenated by cutting off the balding shoots.
Fittonia leaves turn yellow. Fittonia is poured – you need to reduce the frequency of watering, allowing the soil to dry out between them.
Fittonia leaf tips turn brown. May sometimes turn yellow-brown. It all depends on whether the flower is fertilized or not since this is a consequence of both an excess and a shortage of fertilizers.
Fittonia leaves shriveled. Fittonia needs high air humidity, and wrinkled leaves indicate its excessive dryness. Another option is excess light or the flower is in direct sunlight.
Fittonia pests. Fittonia is most susceptible to damage by thrips, scale insects, spider mites and mealybugs.
Fittonia large / Fittonia gigantea
Originally from Peru. Habitat – tropical forests. It grows to just over 0.5 m in length. Shoots are reddish-purple in color, pubescent along the entire length. Leaf sizes depend on age – from 10 to 16 cm long and 4 to 10 cm wide, but always elliptical. The leaves are glossy, green, the veins on the leaves are red.
These low specimens can be found in Colombia and Peru. They grow only in the forests of the tropical strip. Shoots practically spread along the ground, so they easily root by layering. Pubescent. The leaves are either ovoid or elliptical in shape, dark green in color with red veins. Sheet dimensions: width from 4 to 6 cm, and length from 5 to 10 cm.