report

Fittonia Care

Pink Vein Fittonia
Pink Vein Fittonia

Fittonia Overview

Fittonia is often called the "nerve plant" or "mosaic plant" due to the bright, contrasting veins that run through the leaves. There are many cultivars of the nerve plant that feature many different styles of veining and foliage. The plant is native to the warm, humid regions of South America - especially Peru. This makes fittonia require care that is different compared to most houseplants.

The plant's requirement for high humidity and moist soil calls for regular watering and misting. Soil also needs to be suitable for fittonia to keep the foliage healthy. Pruning should also be performed to keep the plant looking full and bushy, and to prevent the plant from wasting resources on boring blooms during its flowering stage.

A little fertilizer can be used to replenish nutrients a few month after potting, too.

Fittonia prefer filtered sunlight.
Fittonia prefer filtered sunlight. | Source

Light Requirements for Fittonia

Filtered Sunlight
Fittonia need filtered sunlight to flourish. Filtered light is similar to the light the plant receives under the canopies of its native tropical lands. Bright, direct sunlight will cause the edges of the leaves to burn, discolor, and become crispy. Move the plant further away from sunlight if burning occurs.

Artificial Lighting
Indoor fluorescent lighting can be used, but the plant needs to be placed close to the lights. Fluorescent lighting is not very intense, thus the close placement of the plant. Metal halide or high-pressure sodium lamps work great, but may be a bit too intense if placed close to the lamp. Metal halide and high-pressure sodium lamps are much pricier compared to fluorescent lamps.

Fittonia need regular watering and misting.
Fittonia need regular watering and misting. | Source

Watering Fittonia

Watering
The soil should always remain moist due to the tropical nature of fittonia. Use room temperature water and thoroughly moisten the soil, but do not water so much as to cause waterlogged soil. Waterlogged soil promotes disease and restricts air flow to and around the roots. Pouring out excess water is a must. Overwatering will cause discoloration and wilting of the leaves. The best method to estimate when to water is by feeling the weight of the container before and after a thorough watering. Poking a finger into the soil to test for moisture will only test the upper few inches of the container.

Placing a pot with drainage holes in a tray will create a little humidity. Adding gravel to the tray will slow down the rate of evaporation, and increases the time between waterings. Always use water that is room temperature.

Misting
Fittonia need regular misting to keep the leaves from becoming limp and wilted. The plant is indigenous to tropical regions and has grown to require moisture on the foliage. Mist once or twice a day, along with regular watering. Wilting is only temporary, as long as a little watering and misting occurs soon after. Repeated wilting will stress the plant and is not healthy over time.

Coarse sand an a layer of rocks add drainage to soil.
Coarse sand an a layer of rocks add drainage to soil. | Source

Soil for Fittonia

Preferred Soil
Soil that drains well is a necessity for fittonia to flourish. The soil should also be high in organic content, which mimics its native tropical habitat. Soil high in organic matter will retain water, but may hold a little too much water. The soil should never remain waterlogged. Soil that remains saturated promotes disease and root rot. Amend waterlogged soil by mixing in coarse sand and/or perlite to facilitate drainage.

Making a Soil Mix
A good soil mixture consists of equal parts potting soil, course sand, humus, and peat. Potting soil is balanced in drainage and nutrient value, sand promotes drainage, humus retains moisture and builds a good soil structure, and peat is rich in organic matter and releases a little nutrient value as it decomposes. This mix isn't always a must. Soil from the backyard garden may work just fine, as long as the drainage is good and the structure is not too sandy or clayey.


Pink Vein Fittonia with light green flower. Remove flower to enhance foliage.
Pink Vein Fittonia with light green flower. Remove flower to enhance foliage. | Source

Pruning Fittonia

Fittonia can grow quickly within their desired environment, so pinching off the tips of leggy stems will keep the plant bushy and dense. Remove small flower spikes as well. The flowers are boring and use up resources the plant could be using to grow more attractive foliage. Nip the flower spike at its origin. Removing the flower will not harm the plant at all. It will continue to grow foliage just fine. Although, the flower can be left to grow if desired.

The picture to the right features a green flower spike in the middle of the plant. This spike was later removed at its source, which resided on the side of a stem.

Water soluble houseplant fertilizer concentration
Water soluble houseplant fertilizer concentration | Source

Fertilizing Fittonia

Fittonia can be fertilized a few months after repotting with a balanced houseplant water soluble (5-5-5 NPK) fertilizer or granular fertilizer. Dilute by half the recommended amount listed on the package when using a water soluble fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer solution between waterings. This will prevent excess fertilizer which can cause the foliage to burn and possibly kill the plant.

Granular fertilizer releases nutrients slowly over time. It can be applied on top the soil or mixed into the soil. Granular fertilizer should still be used in small amounts to prevent damage to the plant as well.

More by this Author

  • How to Propagate a Jade Plant
    10

    Jade is a succulent plant native to South Africa, and is a very common houseplant. Jade is easy to care for, requires little watering, and is easily propagated. Propagating jade is the most rewarding part of growing...

  • Organic vs Non-Organic Soil
    6

    There are many differences between organic and non-organic soils. Mulch, compost, and manure are organic and will transform a nutrient deficient soil into a rich organic environment for plants. Perlite, vermiculite,...

  • How to Take Care of a Yucca Plant
    1

    Yuccas are very common, especially in arid regions of the Americas. The yucca plant is easy to care for and has similar requirements to that of cacti. Proper sunlight and soil, along with watering and fertilizer...


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article

    Menu

    Resources