Decorative flowering plants have their own sad peculiarity. Fading away, they become unattractive, since their decorative properties are in the inflorescence. If you want to enjoy the beauty of a home plant not cyclically, but all year round, choose a species with unusual leaves. Fittonia mix belongs to such plants.
Fittonia is a plant from the humid forests of South America (often found in Peru), a representative of the Accantha family. There are about 10 types of it. Fittonia owes its name to the Fitton sisters from England, who wrote the first textbook for students of botany. It is a perennial herb that has erect or creeping stems. The leaves are of different colors (from light green to bright red).
Silvery veins on the leaves are the "highlight" of the flower. An adult plant has a lush and branchy crown and grows up to 50 cm. The flowering of the South African beauty is a spikelet with small - about 5 cm in length - unattractive yellow flowers. Fittonia mix blooms in the spring and summer (starting in May). At home, this process takes 2 weeks and ends with the inflorescence completely drying out.
Fittonia is not poisonous, it is safe for both people and pets. You can also grow it in a house with small children.
Fittonia is well suited for growing at home, but some conditions are still required. It can be grown in pots, in a florarium - not suitable for large species - or in a special aquarium (paludarium). The flower is often called capricious, which is why novice florists have difficulties with its cultivation (they say that only the second fittonia will grow, since the first flower will certainly die). If you take proper care of the South American beauty, you will enjoy her beautiful foliage and inflorescences for a long time. Of course, this is not a succulent or a cactus, the minimum requirements. However, for those who breed different plants at home, daily routine care for Fittonia will not be a problem.
Basic rules for caring for Fittonia mix.
- Moderate watering and irrigation with a spray bottle every day. It is better to water in portions often than to overdry or overmoisten the soil.
- Sufficient humidity and temperature maintenance. The leaves should not dry out and even more so be covered with dust.
- Placing a pot with this exotic whim will solve half of your growing problems.
- Provide enough fresh air (but avoid drafts) in the room where the flower is.
- Transplant the plant once every 3 years, as soon as the roots run out of space in the pot.
- Feed the flower in time with special mineral fertilizers for decorative deciduous species.
- If the plant is sick, or pests have appeared on it, take timely action.
In winter, care changes slightly - the plant requires a more careful attitude towards itself.
- The temperature should be at least 18 degrees.
- Since there is short daylight in winter, additional lighting (fluorescent lamps) must be used. Or you can transfer the fittonia to the east window.
- Water the plant 2-3 times a week. This is the optimal frequency.
- The required humidity level is 80 percent throughout the year.
- It is better to postpone top dressing until spring. This is not required in winter.
How to arrange the flower?
Fittonia is a light-loving plant that requires bright light. But avoid direct sunlight (there may be burns on the leaves). In summer, the ideal place for a flower is near a sunny window, and in autumn - a window on the south side. In winter, keep the plant away from batteries and find a place with sufficient sunlight. To maintain a beautiful green color, you need to use additional lighting (2-3 hours in the evening).
The western and eastern windowsills are ideal places for Fittonia. In any case, it can only be picked up empirically.
In summer, the room temperature should be about + 24-27 degrees, in winter - from 18 to 20 degrees. The ideal temperature is +23 degrees. It is necessary to avoid sudden temperature jumps, otherwise it will have a bad effect on the well-being of the plant (fall of foliage or death of a flower).
As for airing, it is better to remove Fittonia from the room at this time - it does not tolerate drafts and air conditioners well - and you should not keep it outdoors in summer.
A native of rainforest, Fittonia loves high indoor humidity. To do this, its leaves must be sprayed daily (ideally in the morning and evening). Want to save time? Buy an artificial fog device. And you can also put a small container with water next to the flower, which, evaporating, will create the necessary microclimate. Or place a Fittonia over the aquarium. You can also put the pot in a cup of water, but you need to make sure that the roots of the plant do not touch the water (for this, drainage is used).
In spring and summer, the flower needs daily increased watering. Autumn watering becomes moderate (2-3 times a week). In winter, once a week will be enough. It is recommended to water the fittonia after the top of the earthen coma dries. The plant loves moisture, but do not overfill it, as this can lead to root rot (which is why bottom watering is not suitable for Fittonia). Purified, melt or settled water is well suited for irrigation.
It is important to wipe the leaves with a damp soft cloth to remove dirt and dust.
Soil and fertilizer choice
The soil for an exotic beauty should be loose and rich in nutrients. You can buy special soil - soil is suitable for azaleas, geraniums or violets - for fittonia, or you can prepare it yourself from deciduous soil, sand, peat, black soil. Drainage (expanded clay or small stones) is an indispensable component when planting a plant. From early spring to late autumn, it is necessary to fertilize the plant (at least 2 times a week). For this, mineral fertilizers are used (only halve the dosage). In winter, the plant does not need to be fed. Liquid top dressing can be applied to the leaves to provide nutrition and protection to the plant.
It is best to replant Fittonia in March or April. A plant younger than 5 years old is transplanted every year, then every 2-3 years. A newly purchased flower is not immediately transplanted, it needs adaptation. When replanting a flower, it is important to choose good fertile soil and drainage. A wide and not very deep pot is suitable for Fittonia, 2 cm larger (wider containers have a bad effect on plant growth).
During the transplant, you can carry out anti-aging procedures - pruning and pinching.
The main methods of propagation of fittonia are by layering, cuttings and division.
- Reproduction by division (can be done when transplanting a plant). Held in the spring. The main bush is divided into several parts and planted in pots, the diameter of which is 2 cm larger. In the process, the main thing is not to damage the roots. Otherwise, the plant will take root for a long time, be under stress or may die.
- Propagation by cuttings. A stalk (with at least five leaves and a length of 2 to 7 cm) is taken from the main bush, put it with a cut edge in a cup of sand and covered with a film or jar. Greenhouse conditions are obtained. Every day these mini greenhouses need to be opened to ventilate. The room should be warm enough (+ 25-27 degrees). When young sprouts appear, the film or jar is removed.
- Reproduction by layering (the easiest way). Fittonia mix can reproduce on its own. For this, a layer is taken, which is located at the bottom of the main bush, leaves are removed from it, and then it is buried in earth. After rooting, the layers are separated and transplanted into a separate pot.
A good breeding season is spring (March, April) or mid-summer.
If you want to have a bush with lush and very beautiful foliage, then plant several flowers in a wide pot.
Diseases and pests
If Fittonia mix is badly looked after, then it starts to hurt. This can be facilitated by a violation of the irrigation regime, too dry land and direct sunlight. Having a capricious character, fittonia rarely gets sick. You need to try very hard to make the houseplant feel bad. If you constantly grow flowers on the windowsill, caring for Fittonia will not be particularly difficult for you.
Common plant pests:
- spider mite;
- gray rot.
It is not difficult to get rid of them - the leaves must be washed with soapy water and treated with an insecticide.
Gray rot occurs when the plant is in a cold room for a long time. If gray rot is found, you need to trim the leaves from the top and plant new flowers. Also, do not water the plant abundantly in winter. Wait until the flower pot becomes lighter, the clod of earth dries at least a little. Then you can carry out the next watering.
Signs that a plant is being improperly cared for:
- the bush turns yellow (strong waterlogging of the soil);
- curling leaves (insufficient watering or very bright light);
- leaves and bare trunk have fallen - the plant needs pruning;
- if the leaves become lethargic, then the temperature has become lower than usual for Fittonia;
- the pallor and dullness of the leaves is the result of very bright lighting;
- dry air and excess moisture will lead to the leaves falling off;
- if the lower leaves fall, then this is normal, since the stem of the fittonia is gradually bare.
Slow growth is a specific feature of the flower. For some, this may seem like a disadvantage. But on the other hand, the plant does not need constant transplants once every 2-3 years. It's easy to shape. Fittonia also will not fill the entire space if planted in a group composition with other plants.
You will learn how to properly care for Fittonia mix from the video below.