The gentle indoor miracle Fittonia is a plant with character. This is manifested primarily in the requirements for irrigation. In general, Fittonia is not the easiest plant to care for. But, by and large, in order to avoid problems, it is enough to regularly satisfy his tropical requirements. Mistakes with fittonia are easy to avoid if you follow simple care rules. Accuracy in everything and careful observation of the plant is the main secret of success. But not the only one.
Representatives of the Acanthus fittonia family are grassy soil protectors hailing from the tropics. They are most widely represented in the flora of Peru. Low-growing, creeping fittonia grows as much as the volume and shape of the container allows it - from pillows in small pots to whole clearings in winter gardens and cascades in ampels.
Short, thin stems are not visible under the mass of leaves. Light or dark, with shades ranging from olive, swamp to emerald and purple, the leaves are decorated with a dense network emphasizing each vein of bright patterns. They can be white, cream, pink or silver.
Fittonia is often called the most beautiful indoor variegated plant. And she definitely became a real favorite of designers in recent years, because a place for fittonia can be found even in the smallest cabinets. But still the secret of the popularity of Fittonia is completely different.
This plant is so inimitable in the texture of the leaves that even a difficult character is forgiven him. Previously, this plant was considered a culture exclusively for collectors. Breeding slightly (albeit not completely) changed the character of Fittonia to a more tolerant one, but still they did not become simple to grow.
In order to prevent big mistakes in growing Fittonia, not to look with sadness, as with seemingly careful leaving, the bushes wither, discard leaves and quickly lose their luxurious appearance, it is enough to always and everywhere remember where these plants came from in the pot culture. After all, it is tropical origin that is the main hint for caring for Fittonia.
There are simple rules in the care and selection of conditions for Fittonia, which will help to avoid any problems with this charming plant.
Humidity is the key to everything
In the recent past, Fittonia most often after purchase quickly perished at home and was found only in greenhouses in special conditions. Today, new varieties are more hardy. But the main reason for the loss of plants has not changed. Their need for literally tropical conditions can be met in the home environment.
There are two strategies to creating the perfect microclimate for Fittonia:
The content in decorative vessels - vases, florariums, mini-showcases or growing in flower showcases in the company with other moisture-loving species.
Maintaining the humidity necessary for fittonia by the most simple methods.
The easiest way to create the perfect environment with the second option - frequent spraying. Fittonia adores them, and if there is time several times a day to give her a “wet fog”, she will gratefully respond to this with the growth and freshness of the colors.
But there are other options - to install a tray with wet materials, water bowls around the plant and even use different options for overhead drainage and double tanks.
For Fittonium, an excess of light is far more dangerous than its lack. Fittonia is best grown in diffuse lighting, choosing a soft, diffuse, not creating a risk of burns in summer mode of detention. Too bright the sun, especially at noon and in the heat, can destroy Fittonia even with the most careful care.
Choosing oriental or western orientations, shading, measures to diffuse lighting at noon, exhibiting in the extreme rows of window sills or next to a window - use the exclusive fittonia talent to take out some shading. Do not forget that Fittonia can be grown in fully artificial lighting, even in the interior.
Fittonia suffers in the hot summer and it will be more comfortable in the same place as for people - in non-overheating rooms. This plant loves stable temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius.
Dislike for heat, if you do not want to jeopardize the bushes from the beginning, you should not confuse it with love of coolness. Fittonia even in winter sensitively reacts to any temperature drops below 20 degrees. And in the summer its minimum is about 22 degrees.
Many indoor plants cannot maintain decorativeness without fresh air and require very frequent ventilation. But Fittonia does not tolerate any drastic changes. In no case should this plant be taken to balconies, terraces or to the garden, even when temperatures rise to the summer heat. And at home with fittonia will have to be careful.
They are taken out of the rooms during airing, because they are not just afraid, but they can not stand drafts and even small temperature differences. For fittonia in the interior, you need to simulate the most protected environment, remembering that it needs stability and is extremely vulnerable to stress.
No “under-” and “over-” when watering and feeding
Fittonia require constant, stable and medium-high humidity of the substrate. And trying to satisfy their moisture loving nature, they often make a key mistake - they water the plant excessively without checking how the lower part of the soil "behaves" in pots.
The right choice of soil allows you to saturate the substrate with water evenly. But water after irrigation needs to be drained as soon as it is released, without creating even the slightest risk of its stagnation at the roots.
For phytonia, the soil is not allowed to dry from above during the period of active growth, maintaining light stable moisture even on the surface with frequent and mild irrigation. And only in winter the top layer is slightly dried.
Patterns on fittonia leaves are often tried to be strengthened with top dressing, but an excess of fertilizer for this crumb is fatal. Fittonia should be carefully fed, during the period of active growth, from March to September, with fertilizers of small concentration.
Make them in liquid form with water for irrigation, every 2 weeks. For fittonia, it is better to use not fertilizer for decorative and deciduous plants, but conventional complex fertilizers.
Annual change of pot after cutting
Fittonia is often transplanted - annually even when grown in flower showcases. Regular soil replacement is carried out in early spring, after shortening the longest shoots and partial pruning of old twigs for rejuvenation.
The use of large drainage up to 5 cm high and careful transshipment of the plant with an undamaged earthen lump, from which free soil was removed along the edges - these are all the tricks that guarantee Fittonia's health. A small amount of wood ash can always be added to the soil for planting. After transplantation, Fittonia is shaded, increasing air humidity and temperature to 22-25 degrees for adaptation.
To grow this plant in any capacity will not work. Success can be achieved only by choosing which gives the opportunity to grow in breadth of shallow containers and pans. If fittonia is planted in classic deep pots, more than half of them need to be filled with drainage.
Fittonia is grown in very light, loose, not prone to compaction, even in wet soil. And supplements in the form of coarse coconut fiber, sphagnum, perlite or vermiculite completely reduce the risk of waterlogging to a minimum.
How to save fittonia?
If you still made mistakes in growing Fittonium crumbs, you should not despair. The plant is very easy to propagate and rejuvenate. You can restore the bushes with the help of apical cuttings or dividing adult bushes with the removal of damaged parts.
To accelerate rooting, only increased humidity under the hood and a temperature of about 22-25 degrees are needed. Fittonia can also be grown from seeds by sowing them superficially and providing diffuse lighting and temperatures similar to the conditions for rooting cuttings.