Fittonia - description
Fittonia (Latin Fittonia) - herbaceous perennials native to South America (mainly from Peru). The genus is part of the Acanthus family and has about 10 species.
Fittonia plants are low. Shoots are pubescent, creeping. The flowers are solitary, yellow (closer to a sulfur shade). Flowers gather in spike-like inflorescences in the bosoms of the bracts. Bracts have a rounded ovoid shape with a length and width of approximately 1 cm. The leaves, depending on the species, can be from 2 to 16 cm long, elliptical in shape, green in color with shades of purple and with brightly highlighted veins.
With proper care, Fittonia grows well, but it should be borne in mind that the plant loves high humidity and a stable temperature, since a lack of humidity and sudden temperature changes can be fatal to Fittonia.
Fittonia planting and care
- Flowering: the plant is grown as a decorative foliage.
- Lighting: bright diffused light.
- Temperature: in the summer - about 24 ºC, in the winter - about 20 ºC.
- Watering: regular and moderate. In the spring-summer period - immediately after drying of the topsoil, and in winter you can let the substrate dry out to a quarter of the depth.
- Humidity: increased. The plant needs spraying in the mornings and evenings. You can place a container of water near the fittonia or place the plant on a pallet with wet pebbles.
- Top dressing: from spring to autumn - with mineral fertilizers for decorative and deciduous plants in half dosage once every 2 weeks, and in winter - once a month.
- Pruning: pinch the tops of the shoots during the growing season, and at the end of March cut bare shoots in several stages.
- The rest period: not pronounced.
- Transplant: annual, in March-April, immediately after pruning.
- Substrate: 2 parts of turf and coniferous land and 1 part of peat and sand.
- Reproduction: cuttings, layering and division of the bush.
- Pests: thrips, scale insects, mealybugs and spider mites.
- Diseases: loss of decorative effect due to old age or as a result of improper care.
Read more about growing Fittonia below
Fittonia - photo
Fittonia - video
Fittonia care at home
Home fittonia, like most indoor plants, needs bright light, but you do not need to put the plant on the southern windowsill. It can be set in a room with windows facing south, but a little deep so that direct sunlight does not fall on the leaves of fittonia. The plant feels best on the western or eastern window sills. It can grow from the north side, but with a lack of lighting, the leaves lose their beauty. In winter, fittonia at room conditions, it is desirable to increase daylight hours using fluorescent lamps.
In summer, the temperature should be around 24 ° C, and in winter around 20 ° C. If in the winter period the plant contains phytonium at lower temperatures, then it can become sick. Also, a sharp difference in temperature and drafts should not be allowed - faithful precursors of leaf fall. Fittonia is an indoor plant, so you can not take it to the street or balcony, even in summer.
The basic rule is that an earthen lump in a pot with a Fittonia flower should not dry completely. The second rule - the soil should not be acidified. If you ignore rule number 1, then Fittonia will drop the leaves. If you do not adhere to rule number 2 - the roots rot. In winter, a flower is watered a couple of days after the topsoil has dried, the rest of the time - immediately after drying. Water for irrigation is taken standing, a little 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, or better - two: once in the morning, another in the evening. To increase humidity, you can put a container of water next to the pot, or put the pot on a pallet with wet expanded clay. The pot should not be lowered into the water. It is important to remember that fittonia leaves cannot be polished.
Indoor flower Fittonia needs fertilizers throughout the year, but we must remember that their excess will immediately affect the health of the flower. Therefore, the concentration of fertilizer should be reduced by half, compared with those proposed on the package. Complex mineral fertilizers are used: once a month in winter, and twice a month throughout the rest of the year.
To make home branch fit better, you need to pinch the shoots. Over time, the lower part of Fittonia is exposed, which makes the plant less attractive. To rejuvenate the plant, it is necessary to trim at the end of March. But you need to consider 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 must be transplanted annually in March-April. Along with transplantation, it is possible to carry out plant rejuvenation, as phytonium becomes not so decorative with age. The pot is required low, but wide. Expanded clay or small-bricks are poured on the bottom of the pot, and on top is a substrate: two parts of coniferous and sod land, and one part of sand and peat.
Propagation of Fittonia by cuttings
Fittonia can be propagated annually during transplantation, combining it with rejuvenation. For propagation of Fittonia at home, cuttings with three to five leaves from the top of the plant are taken by cuttings. In order for the stalk to take root as quickly as possible, its length should not exceed 8 cm. The cuttings are placed with their cut ends in sand, covered with a jar and wait about a month, from time to time removing the jar, watering and spraying. If you root the cuttings in a jar of water, then you need to pour water no more than a centimeter, and tie the jar itself with a bag. Two to three times a week, the package is untied and the leaves are sprayed. The temperature should not fall below 26 ° C. When good and strong roots are formed, the plant can be planted in an earthen mixture, which is described above.
When transplanting, the bush of Fittonia 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 vice versa - plant several plants in one pot so that the bush looks more magnificent, but this can hardly be called reproduction.
Breeding Fittonia by layering
Indoor fittonia itself can reproduce by layering, but it is better to help it. To do this, part of the stem without foliage should be lightly dug up. After some time, roots will appear in this place, after which the stalk can be separated from the mother plant and planted in an individual pot.
Diseases and pests of Fittonia
Fittonia suddenly died. The first option is too abundant watering, especially in winter. So you need to water less often, read above how. The second reason is too cold air or sudden changes in temperature.
The lower leaves of Fittonia fall. In fittonia, this is normal, since over time the stem is exposed. The plant needs to be rejuvenated by cutting off balding shoots.
Fittonia leaves turn yellow. Fittonia is poured - it is necessary to reduce the frequency of watering, allowing the soil to dry between them.
The tips of Fittonia leaves turn brown. Sometimes they can turn yellow-brown. It all depends on whether the flower is fertilized or not, as this is a consequence of both excess and lack of fertilizer.
Fittonia leaves wrinkled. Fittonia needs high humidity, and shriveled leaves indicate its excessive dryness. Another option is an excess of light or a flower stands in direct sunlight.
Pests of Fittonia. Fittonia is most susceptible to thrips , scabies, spider mites and mealybugs.
Types of Fittonia
Fittonia large / Fittonia gigantea
Originally from Peru. Habitat - rainforest. It grows to a little over 0.5 m in length. Shoots of red-violet color, downy along the entire length. The size of the sheet depends on age - from 10 to 16 cm long and from 4 to 10 cm wide, but always elliptical in shape. Leaves are glossy, green, veins on leaves of red color.
Fittonia Vershaffelt / Fittonia verschaffeltii
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, therefore, they are easily rooted by the method of layering. Downy. Leaves are either ovoid or elliptical in shape, dark green in color with red veins. Sheet sizes: width from 4 to 6 cm, and length from 5 to 10 cm.