Capricious fittonia: growing at home – growing and care

Houseplants are a small living miracle, a piece of wildlife. They give us a delicate and fragile beauty, cheer up on gloomy autumn days and rainy winter days. They make the house cozy and pleasing to the eye. Some people love them for their unpretentiousness, rapid growth and ease of reproduction, for example, asparagus, fat woman, chlorophytum, others for their exotic appearance and stunning leaf coloring, for example, monstera, zamioculcas, dracaena, yucca, begonia, calathea. Still others are attracted by shade-tolerant plants such as ivy, aucuba, which can revive even the darkest corners of the house.

Fittonia is silvery-veined. Farmer Mokkie

Fittonia (Fittonia) – the decorative leafy beauty of the Akantovye family does not have either shade tolerance or rapid growth. Florists consider it to be a problem plant because of the high requirements for lighting, temperature, and air humidity. However, some enthusiasts benefit from this capriciousness, recognizing Fittonia as an ideal plant for a phytoterrarium, paludarium or “bottle garden”, which can become an original element in the home interior.


Fittonia: species and varieties

Fittonia’s clan is very modest. Today it has 15 species of evergreen perennials. In indoor floriculture, the most common are:

  • Fittonia giant (F. gigantea) – tall (up to 60 cm), erect bush with large (10×16 cm) dark green leaves, decorated in the form of a mesh with carmine-red veins;
  • Fittonia Vershaffelt (F. verschaffeltii) is a ground cover plant with slightly pubescent stems and leaves decorated with pink veins.
  • Fittonia silver-veined (F. argyroneura), has a synonym, Fittonia whitish (F. albivenis) is a small decorative leafy plant with erect stems. Leaves are oval, green with silvery-white veins. Sometimes she is referred to the subspecies F. Vershaffelt

Fittonia flower
Fittonia flower. Farmer Athene Rafie
Fittonia Vershaffelt
Lyttonshia Vershaffelfta. Farmer Stickpen

Fittonia giant and Vershaffelt are absolutely not adapted for keeping at home, they can survive only when kept in a paludarium or terrarium. A little more willingly, but subject to comfortable humidity and air temperature, F. argyroneura can take root in the room, on the leaf plates of which there is a characteristic silvery venation, and some varieties of Fittonia Vershaffelt, for example F. Perseus (F. verschaffeltii var . pearcei) with red veins, contrasting against the dark green background of oval leaves.

Among the numerous varieties, there are representatives with pure white veins on leaves with a serrated edge or a purely oval shape (‘White Anne’, ‘Purple vein’), with pink (‘Juanita’, ‘Josan’) or red veins (‘RedAnne’, ‘ Fortissimo ‘,’ Skeleton ‘). There are varieties where the main color of the veins extends to almost the entire leaf, painting it in burgundy, silver or brown tones (‘Red’, ‘White Star’, ‘Frankie’). To which of the varieties the variety belongs to is not easy for a simple grower to determine, but when growing it does not play a special role. All species and varieties require almost the same care.

Representatives with large leaves (F. gigantea) tolerate indoor conditions worse than undersized (dwarf) varieties with small leaves. In the same conditions, after a while they will die. Therefore, if the house does not have a well-equipped paludarium or showcase, then it is better to purchase a beautiful but compact fittonia.

Фиттония. Farmer Jennifer McCollum

Room fittonia care

When keeping fittonia in a room, it must be borne in mind that this capricious plant does not like extremes. Its root system reacts painfully to dry soil and its generous moisture, which is equally expressed in wilting of the leaves. If after watering in the first case, the turgor of the leaves can be restored, then the beginning rotting of the roots in the second case is almost impossible to stop. The plant has to be rescued by rooting the tops or cuttings.

Fittonia is difficult to please in terms of lighting. Its leaves lose their bright color both from the excess of light and from its lack. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a bright place for her in the room, it can be illuminated with artificial light, the plant treats it more favorably than the natural one – the sun.

The air humidity must be kept constantly high. To do this, you can use a humidifier or put the plant on a pallet in which wet sand or expanded clay is poured. Spraying is not carried out. It leaves ugly spots and stains on the leaves.

The optimum temperature of the content should be stable and not deviate from 20-24 ° C. Cool content with high humidity is the main cause of plant death.

Fittonia, which is kept in optimal conditions, is practically not affected by pests; it blooms more readily, albeit with small flowers. Florists recommend removing them as early as possible so as not to weaken the plant.

At home, Fittonia can be grown in a flower pot, in a florarium or in a bottle garden, in an aquarium and paludarium.

Fittonia. Farmer treesflowers

Growing fittonia in a pot

This classic method involves growing fittonia in a low (up to 7 cm) pot, at the bottom of which there must be drainage – a layer of permeable material (expanded clay) to drain excess water. The soil for planting can be used purchased (for geraniums or violets) or prepared independently from coniferous and turfy soil (1 part each). Add sand and peat to the mixture (1/2 part each). Immediately after planting, provide the plant with the necessary lighting, heat and humidity. Place a container with water or a tray with wet pebbles nearby. It is advisable to put the flowerpot on a northern window sill on a stand, for example, made of polystyrene, which will protect the roots from hypothermia in winter.

Fittonia should be watered regularly and with moderately settled (ideally rainwater) water. The next watering should be carried out after light drying of the surface layer of the soil. In April-August (during the period of active growth), feed the plant with liquid fertilizers of half the concentration (twice a month). To maintain decorativeness, the shoots must be pinched. Mandatory pruning should be carried out two years after planting, otherwise the lower bare parts of the shoots will spoil the appearance of the plant. How well a plant develops is determined by its appearance. Due to low light, Fittonia can stun growth and discoloration of leaves. If the irrigation regime is violated, the turgor of the shoots will be lost and the leaves will begin to drop. Low humidity will cause curling of the leaves, and an imbalance in nutrition (over- or under-feeding) will color the edges of the leaf plates in a yellow-brown color.

This method is suitable only for low (dwarf) fittonias. Its main disadvantage is the need for regular monitoring of the humidity level, which is sometimes very difficult to do.

Fittonia. Farmer FarOutFlora

Phytonia in florarium

The method of keeping fittonia in the florarium eliminates certain disadvantages of the previous one and implies the use of hydroponic methods, but it is not suitable for growing large species and varieties. Various bottles, aquariums, large glasses on a high leg are used as flower pots, and coconut fiber and expanded clay are added to the soil. Plants are selected so that they are located freely and do not rest against the walls of the container. In small florariums, “gardens” of several fittonias of contrasting colors or in combination with small-leaved species of ficus, miniature ivy, ferns, and all kinds of mosses look great. Such compositions can be supplemented with clay figurines, marble chips, multi-colored pebbles and other decorative elements. This method is much easier to maintain than the previous one.

  1. There is no need to constantly monitor the humidity of the air (evaporated moisture is retained inside the container).
  2. The watering regime is simplified. After watering, the plants absorb moisture and evaporate it with their leaves. As a result, condensation appears on the glass walls of the vessels, which they use in the future. Therefore, watering in the florarium is carried out in small doses and only after the complete disappearance of condensate from the walls of the vessel. If expanded clay is used as soil, then nutrition is provided with a nutrient solution for hydroponics.

The “bottle garden” requires less attention, because it is a closed ecosystem. After planting, Fittonia is watered only once, then the process of “water cycle in a closed vessel” is started. The “bottle garden” does not look so impressive, but its advantage is ease of care and application possibilities. For example, a florarium will be an excellent decoration for a festive table. Instead of a bottle, you can use original containers, glass balls or large flasks. The main thing is to provide the plant with sufficient lighting so that it does not stop growing.

The main disadvantage of this method is that under the conditions of the florarium, plants develop more actively than in an ordinary pot. In this regard, the general adjustment of the composition (haircut, transplant) is carried out much earlier – once every six months.

Phytonica. Farmer palmroom

Growing fittonia in an aquarium (in a paludarium)

Fittonia in an aquarium or paludarium is an interesting, although the most time consuming and expensive method. Large costs are mainly spent on the purchase of a spacious container, as well as on the purchase of equipment to maintain optimal humidity and lighting. With good lighting, Fittonia does not suffer from waterlogging and can grow in an aquarium even when completely in water. But at the same time, it develops slowly and can rot from any mechanical damage. In this case, it is better to plant Fittonia with a good root system, and during cleaning the aquarium it is less disturbing.

Compared to an aquarium, the paludarium benefits significantly from crop production. Plants in it can be kept in land, semi-submerged and underwater versions. Optimal lighting and humidity created by technical means (streams, fountains) will create ideal conditions for all varieties of Fittonia, without exception, as well as other equally demanding exotics (aglaneoma, alocasia).


Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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