This pretty little indoor plant adds a distinctive touch to your home decor. The variety of fittonia is also known as Pink Angel. and is a distinctive plant with dark green leaves which have brightly colored pink veins. Growing Fittonia Albivenis is very easy for beginners, since it doesn’t mind low light.
- Where does fittonia albivenis grow naturally?
- Tips for Growing Fittonia Albivenis
- Containers for Nerve Plant
- Why Is The Fittonia Plant So Popular?
- Fittonia Care & Quick Facts
- How To Grow Nerve Plant
- Nerve Plant Care Problems & Pests
- How Do You Propagate Fittonia?
- How Many Types Of Fittonia Are There?
- Companion Planting
- 3 Fittonia Buying Tips
- Enjoy Fittonia All Year Round
- Nerve Plant
- Nerve Plant Care Tips
- Fittonia Nerve Plant: Growing Nerve Plants In The Home
- Fittonia Nerve Houseplants
- Nerve Plant Care
- Nerve Plant Problems
- Fittonia (nerve plant) care & info
- Fittonia care
- Fittonia location and temperature
- Planting Fittonia
- Watering Fittonia
- Feeding Fittonia
- Buying Fittonia
- Is Fittonia toxic to cats and dogs?
- Planting and re-potting your fittonia
- Where to place your fittonia at home
- Watering your fittonia
- Common diseases that infect fittonia
- Learn more about fittonia
Where does fittonia albivenis grow naturally?
The plant is a native of Peru. The deeply veined leaves of fittonia albivenis have a trailing habit, which lets them spill over the edges of a pot or basket container.
Since this is a tropical plant and only hardy to zone 11, it is grown in most areas as a houseplant.
Common Names for Fittonia Albivenis
This pretty plant is known by several common names. The most common one is nerve plant and one only has to look at the leaves of the plant to see why. The veins look amazingly like nerves.
Also if you look at a pair of the leaves, you can see where the name Pink Angel comes from. Two other common names for the plant are Mosaic plant and Painted Net Leaf.
Tips for Growing Fittonia Albivenis
This lovely plant is relatively easy to grow. The main consideration for keeping it healthy is to manage the humidity. In order to keep it in good condition, here are some tips for growing Fittonia Pink Angel.
Nerve plant grows best in low to medium light, though it also thrives in a sunny window if the light is filtered with a sheer curtain. If it gets too much hot sun, even indoors, the leaves may burn, turning brown and crispy.
If you have a North facing window, this is an ideal spot for the plant, since it will get far less light here but it will still be a bright spot.
I have a collection of low light plants on a table near a window that faces north and they do very well here. (See other low light indoor plants here.)
Pink Angel fittonia enjoys even moisture. I like to water my plant when the surface of the soil just starts to dry out. Insert a finger into the soil and if it is dry to about the first knuckle, give it a drink. Don’t over water, though, since the plant does not like wet and soggy soil.
Leaf Color and Flowers
The leaves of fittonia albivenis are green with deep veins that are colored pink. The underside of the leaves are a lighter green color.
Mature leaves of fittonia have a deeper pink color to the veins, but newer growth is lighter in color with a whitish pink color.
The plant does have blooms when it gets just the right conditions but is grown more for the leaves than for the flowers. The blooms are rather insignificant and can be both reddish or white.
They have the shape of spikes and their color makes them blend in with the foliage. It is rare to see a fittonia grown as a houseplant in bloom.
The size of the plant can grow to 12-18 inches or larger.
Like many tropical houseplants, the nerve plant loves humidity. It will benefit from a weekly spray with a plant mister. It is also the perfect choice for growing in terrariums where the level of humidity is naturally high.
Be sure that the temperature of the room where you are growing fittonia albivenis is kept around 60 º F or higher. This means keeping it away from drafty windows when the temperatures outside are cold.
The plant likes it best around 70 degrees and will not do well in rooms that are hotter than 80 degrees.
Fertilizing nerve plant
Fittonia albivenis grows best if it is fertilized monthly with a general all purpose house plant fertilizer during the growing season. (You can also make your own plant fertilizer with house hold items.)
The winter months are a slow growing time for most houseplants, so hold off on fertilizing at this time.
Containers for Nerve Plant
This plant add a pretty decorative touch to any spot where you place it indoors. It looks pretty in hanging baskets, makes a nice table plant and also is the prefect choice for terrariums.
Grow this pink variegated variety of fittonia in plant pots that showcase the color of the leaves. I chose a neon green outer pot that highlights the under side of the leaves but it would also look really pretty in a bright pink pot.
Varieties of Fittonia
There are several color varieties of fittonia. It belongs to the herbaceous perennial Acanthus family. In addition to the pink veined type shown here, there is also a deep red veined plant,(Fittonia pearcei) as well as one with deep white veins. (Fittonia verschaffeltii argyroneura)
All forms of the plant like similar growing conditions. For a larger variety of the plant, try growing fittonia gigantea, which can grow to 24 inches and has purple stems with dark green leaves and deep red veins.
There is quite a bit of variation in the veins and leaf colors of fittonia plants from pure white to deep crimson.
Propagation of Fittonia Albivenis
Get more plants for free by taking stem cuttings of pink angel fittonia. Dip the ends of the stems in a rooting powder and insert them in a well draining seed starting medium.
When the stems have developed roots, transfer to normal potting soil. Cuttings are best done in late spring or early summer when the growing season is at its prime.
Growing fittonia albivenis is generally quite easy. As long as you don’t over water the plant or let it dry out, it does fairly well. One pest that seems to find it attractive is the mealy bug, which loves the plants soft stems and leaves.
If you are looking for a pretty table plant or perfect terrarium plant, try growing Fittonia Pink Angel. You’ll be glad you did!
Would you like a reminder of these tips for growing fittonia albivenis? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in February of 2018. I have updated the post to add new photos, a printable care card and a video for you to enjoy.
Active Time 30 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Difficulty moderate Estimated Cost $5-$10
- 1 Fittonia plant
- Decorative pot
- Plant mister
- Rooting Powder
- Sunlight: Bright filtered light. A North facing window is best.
- Watering: Add more water when the soil is dry about 1 inch down.
- Soil: Well draining potting soil.
- Humidity: The pant needs humidity. Place on a pebble tray with water or mist weekly.
- Temperature: Keep at 60 degrees F or higher.
- Fertilizing: Fertilize monthly during the growing season. Hold off in the winter when the plant is more dormant.
- Propagation: Stem cuttings (under a plastic dome is best for humidity needs) Rooting powder helps to promote root growth.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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The Fittonia argyoneura plant is a lovely tropical houseplant which grows in USDA hardiness zone 11.
Fittonia does well in terrariums, hanging baskets and on desk and table tops.
This pretty, colorful plant grows wild as a ground cover in the jungles of Peru.
In this article, we describe the many varieties of Fittonia and share advice for keeping this plant successfully in your home or office. Read on to learn more.
Why Is The Fittonia Plant So Popular?
Fittonia is a remarkably pretty plant with its deep green leaves and decorative veining. The veins in the leaves come in a number of colors, including white, silver, pink, red and purple.
In addition to being colorful, Fittonia is a small (though enthusiastically spreading) plant that does quite well in low lighting.
These qualities make it the perfect choice for brightening up various small nooks and crannies around your home or office.
Fittonia Care & Quick Facts
These plants hail from South America (mostly Peru). Their botanical name honors Sarah May and Elizabeth Fittonia who were well-known botanical authors during the 1800s.
Botanical Name:Fittonia verschaffeltii
Common Names: Nerve Plant, Mosaic Plant, Painted Leaf Plant, Snakeskin Plant, Silver Nerve, Painted Net Leaf
Family: Acanthaceae, Acanthus
Popular Relatives: Zebra plant, Shrimp plant, and Mexican Petunia (Ruellia)
Size & Growth: These plants do not typically grow more than 6″ high, but they do tend to spread.
Foliage: The leaves are 2-4″ long and may be either oval or elliptic. They are typically olive green with bright, colorful veining. Leaves grow in pairs on opposite sides of rambling, mat-forming, freely rooting stems.
Flowers: In the best conditions Fittonia produces long, reddish or white bract spikes bearing small, insignificant white or yellow scentless flowers. This is a rare occurrence for houseplants.
Light Requirements: These plants do well in low or medium natural light or fluorescent lighting. They can also do well in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight will cause the leaves to shrivel.
Water Requirements: The soil should be kept uniformly moist. If Fittonia dries out, it collapses. Be careful not to overwater, though. Too much water and/or poor drainage causes yellowed leaves.
Humidity Requirements: These plants like high (60-70%) humidity levels. Dry air causes leaves to shrivel. Regular misting can help, or keep your Fittonia in a terrarium setting for constant high humidity.
Temperature Requirements: 65°-75° degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Don’t allow the temperature to drop below 60°degrees Fahrenheit.
Soil Requirements: Fittonia likes the same sort of soil as African violets. Purchase or create a light peat or coco coir based mixture that retains moisture well.
Fertilizer: Use a balanced, liquid fertilizer formulated for houseplants. Feeding schedule varies depending upon the results you want.
Fittonia Propagation: This rambling ground cover roots very easily. Simply root two-inch stem tip cuttings in moist potting mixture. Keep the cuttings in a warm, humid place. You should see roots within a couple of weeks.
Pests & Problems: Watch out for Aphids, Mosaic Virus, Leaf Spots and Root Rot.
Growth Habit & Best Uses: Plant in large, shallow pots or as a “ground cover” around taller plants in large pots. Keep as a specimen plant in a terrarium, or take advantage of the plant’s rambling ways by keeping it in a hanging basket.
Lifespan & Season: Individual plants are fairly short-lived and may die back after only a couple of years, but the plant strives year-round to put down roots and grow new plants.
Difficulty Quotient: If you are able to provide constant warmth and high humidity, Fittonia is easy to grow. If not, the challenges are constant and failure is fairly well assured.
How To Grow Nerve Plant
Remember that these plants naturally grow on the jungle floor in the tropics, so they like low lighting.
Even so, you can keep your Nerve Plant in a bright window, as long as you filter the sunlight with a sheer curtain.
Brighter light encourages brighter colors, but direct sunlight will sear the leaves.
When it comes to watering, you must strike a happy medium between dry and soggy soil.
Like all plants, Fittonia will suffer from root rot if you keep the soil too wet.
Check frequently, and only water when the surface of the potting soil begins to dry out.
Try to keep and evenly moist soil. Always water with room temperature water to avoid shocking the roots.
To maintain constant humidity, you may wish to keep your Nerve Plant in a terrarium.
Alternately, a naturally humid setting such as a bathroom or kitchen could work.
Other ways to boost humidity include misting, setting your plant on a tray of wet pebbles and/or setting up a room humidifier.
If you plan to be away for a few days, draping a clear plastic bag or plastic wrap over your plants to help them retain moisture and humidity while you are gone.
Be sure to set up some sort of framework to prevent the plastic from lying directly against the leaves.
You can keep your Nerve Plant well-fed with a general purpose fertilizer for houseplants.
To encourage growth, fertilize as often as once a month, but once every two or three months is recommended.
Be sure to feed your plant a minimum of two times yearly.
Nerve Plant Care Problems & Pests
Because these plants do have very specific environmental requirements, quite a few things can go wrong. Watch out for:
#1 – Leaves turning brown and withering around the edges: This may be caused by dry air or dry soil. Check the soil to be sure it is slightly damp, and take steps to increase humidity.
#2 – Withered Leaves: If too much salt builds up in the soil, leaves will wither.
Reduce the amount of sodium in the soil by drenching the plant with water and allowing the water to run through the soil until it is completely clear.
When your plant recovers, repot it into fresh soil and/or simply make new plants using tip and stem cuttings.
#3 – Patches of dark gray mildew on leaves: If conditions are too dry, mildew spots will appear.
Trim off the affected leaves, and try covering your plant with a clear plastic bag or plastic wrap (as described above) to boost humidity.
#4 – Leaves turning yellow: This is a sign of overwatering. Always use a pot with ample drainage holes in the bottom.
Be sure to use a loose, well-draining soil mix. Pay close attention to your watering schedule. Don’t overdo it!
#5 – Leaves Dropping: If the room temperature is too cold, or if the plant is exposed to intermittent cold drafts, leaf drop can occur.
Remember to keep the temperature warm and constant. Don’t place your plant too close to a door or a window that allows cold drafts to enter.
#6 – Leaves Shriveling: This can happen because the air is too dry or because the plant is getting too much sun. Remember to keep humidity high and direct sunlight low for Fittonia.
#7 – Aphids: As with most houseplants, aphids can be a problem for Fittonia.
Avoid introducing aphids to your houseplant collection by carefully examining every new plant you bring in.
Look for the insects, themselves and for the sooty mold and honeydew that accompany them.
Keep new plants isolated for a few weeks to be sure they are pest-free. If you do find aphids on your plants, try washing the plant with a strong stream of water.
This may be all that’s needed to knock aphids off for good.
Snails & Slugs: If you keep your Snakeskin Plant outdoors in the summer, you may also have problems with snails and slugs.
The cool, damp, dark environment provided by the leaves is perfect for these gastropods, and they enjoy eating Fittonia plants.
If you begin to notice holes in the plant’s leaves, suspect snails or slugs.
The best way to get rid of them is to simply pick them off and dispose of them.
How Do You Propagate Fittonia?
It’s actually pretty hard not to propagate Fittonia once you‘ve set up a conducive environment.
The rambling plant grows readily from tip cuttings and rooted stem pieces. It is also easy to layer stems from one pot to another.
These ground-covering plants love to travel and spread along the soil, and they put down new roots everywhere they go.
When you see that a stem is sprouting roots, you can cut it off and give it its own pot.
Alternately, put fresh soil in a pot and set it alongside the “parent plant.”
Direct the rooting stem into the fresh soil and let it take hold. Once it’s established, snip the connection between the parent and the new plant.
If you want to take cuttings, you can trim off 2-4″ tip cuttings or trim longer stem cuttings into 2-4″ sections.
Be sure that each section has a couple of growth nodes. Plant them in a fresh soil mix at an angle or horizontally.
Keep your cuttings in a warm setting (75° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit), and drape a piece of perforated plastic over them to keep humidity levels high.
When the stems set down roots, you can remove the plastic.
How Many Types Of Fittonia Are There?
Once you have established the perfect growing environment for Fittonia, you will naturally want to branch out and collect some of the many different types.
There are variations with white, red, pink, purple and even silvery veins (aka: argyroneura or silver nerve plant).
There are also small-leaved varieties, known as Nana cultivars. These compact plants are very popular and easy to grow.
Veining patterns also vary from one type of Fittonia to another. For example, some varieties feature a very dramatic fishbone pattern.
Here are some of the more popular and unusual Fittonia cultivars available today:
- Red Anne – a great terrarium plant. This small plant has green leaves variegated in shades of deep reddish/pink (red veined nerve plant).
- Leather-Leaf – loves dimly lit settings. This striking plant has large white leaves with veins in a brighter shade of white.
- Josan – a festive medium-sized plant, bright green leaves and sharply contrasting red veins.
- White Anne – very pale green/white leaves, does well in small spaces with low lighting.
- Mini Superba – very large leaves with pink veins, yet maintains a compact growth habit.
- Purple Vein – large leaved plant. Deep green leaves and the veins are purple.
- White Brocade – large green leaves with bold white veins. It does very well in low light.
- Pink Angel – very compact growth habit. It’s leaves are bright pink and very small.
- Angel Snow – a small, pretty plant with dark green leaves and bright, white veins.
- Forest Flame – a compact plant with small green leaves and brilliant red veins.
- Stripes Forever – very small, dark leaves abundantly striped with white veins.
- Mini White – a very small plant with miniature green leaves and white veins.
- Fortissimo – a large plant with bright green leaves and reddish/pink veins.
- Titanic – small variety with deep green leaves and bold white veins.
- Red Star – very small green leaves striped with deep reddish/pink.
- Pink Vein – big, wavy leaves and its veins are deep reddish pink.
- Red Vein – large plant with big leaves veined in reddish/pink.
- Black Star – very dark leaves with deep reddish/purple veins.
- Juanita – very large, dark green leaves and bright red veins.
- Mini Red Vein – very small leaves with dark red/pink veins.
- Pink Star – very small, wavy leaves with broad, pink veins.
- Superba – very large leaves and bright white veins.
- Ruby Red – deep green leaves and dark red veins.
- Argyroneura – small green leaves and silvery veins.
- Daisy – big greenish/gray leaves with white veins.
- Frankie – deep green leaves tinged with pink.
Once you have a good tropical environment set up for your Fittonia, you can add even more interest to your collection with attractive tropicals that bring out the best in your Fittonia.
Plant them together in flower windows, terrariums or large, indoor planters.
- Heartleaf Philodendron
- Arrowhead Plant
- Parlor Palm
- Rex Begonia
- English Ivy
3 Fittonia Buying Tips
#1 – When you are just starting out, you may find you have better luck with smaller leaved varieties.
#2 – Springtime is the best time to start out with Fittonia. Purchase small plants or start cuttings early in the spring. Establish them in broad, shallow pots for overwintering.
#3 – Remember that Fittonia may not be clearly identified. Be on the lookout for it under its other, common names (Fittonia Nerve Plant, Mosaic Plant, Painted Leaf Plant, Snakeskin Plant, Silver Nerve, Painted Net Leaf).
Enjoy Fittonia All Year Round
These tropical plants have no “down” time. When you provide them with the right setting, they grow and prosper all year round.
Setting up a tropical retreat in your home allows you to collect these pretty plants and enjoy a lush, green, living, growing space throughout the year.
Remember to maintain a consistent, warm temperature and high humidity in your plant space.
Keep your plants fresh and healthy by trimming off any damaged leaves.
Depending on how you have potted your plants, you can train them to ramble along or spill over the sides of hanging baskets.
If you want a more compact appearance on some plants, pinch them back regularly to encourage branching and a more compact growth habit.
In the springtime, evaluate your plants to see which ones are in need of repotting. Because these plants have shallow roots, you may not need to repot every spring.
Sources: 1 | 2
Botanical Name: Fittonia verschaffeltii
Nerve Plant has beautiful, deep-green leaves with vein patterns of white, pink, or red, making it a standout among house plants.
Contrasting veins on Fittonia verschaffeltii add color and texture, creating living art.
In its native South America, this tropical plant grows as a ground cover and can spread out about 12 inches (30 cm). Its low-spreading habit makes it ideal for dish gardens and terrariums, where it thrives with the help of high humidity.
This plant grows best with even temperatures around 70°F/21°C. It doesn’t like dry air, drafts, or direct sun, any of which may cause its leaves to shrivel or fall off.
Group Your Plants
Nerve Plant grows beautifully in a dish garden or a terrarium. Combine it with 2 or 3 of these humidity-loving plants:
- Parlor Palm
- Heartleaf Philodendron
- Arrowhead Plant
- English Ivy
Nerve Plants for Sale
You may find Fittonia verschaffeltii for sale by other common names, such as Silver Net Leaf or Mosaic Plant.
Caring for Fittonia Year-Round
Pinch your plant. Pinch off stem tips regularly to keep plant bushy and full. Also pinch off any small flower spikes that may appear, because they are insignificant and will weaken the show of leaves.
Mist it. This tropical beauty loves to be misted. Give it a fine spray of tepid water every morning to provide the moist air it craves. Or place the pot on a tray of wet pebbles to raise the humidity around it.
Repot in spring every couple years to refresh the soil. Nerve Plant has shallow roots, so you can keep it in a small pot.
- Yellow leaves are a symptom of too much water. Too-frequent watering or poor drainage will cause foliage to turn yellow. Use a pot with a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil.
- Leaf drop is likely caused by cold temperatures or drafts from nearby windows. This tropical native prefers the same warm temperatures that you do.
- Dry, shriveled leaves are a sign of dry air or direct sun exposure. Room humidity can drop drastically in the winter months. Use a room humidifier, if needed, and keep your Fittonia out of direct sunlight.
- Pests and diseases sometimes arrive with a new plant. It’s a good idea to look over your houseplants regularly for insects, sticky honeydew or sooty mold. Aphids are the most common pest for a young plant, because they feed on new growth. Treat any infestation immediately and isolate any affected plant to prevent pests from moving on to your other indoor plants.
Nerve Plant Care Tips
Height: Up to 6 in (15 cm)
Light: Low to medium light. Avoid direct sunlight, which may cause shriveled leaves. Grows well under fluorescent light.
Water: Keep soil constantly moist. Nerve plant will collapse if it dries out. Yellow leaves on this plant indicate too much water or poor drainage. Fittonia needs moisture at all times, but it won’t tolerate soggy soil. Cut off yellow leaves and allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.
Humidity: High humidity (around 60-70% relative humidity). Grows well in the humid environment of a wardian case or a terrarium. Dry air will cause shriveled leaves.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. Fittonia will tolerate a minimum of 60°F/16°C. It’s a good idea to keep your tropical plants out of cold blasts from doorways and away from heat/AC vents.
Soil: Peat-based mix, such as African violet potting mix is ideal.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2-3 months spring through fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.
Propagation: Take 2 in (5 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring and insert them in moist potting mix. They propagate easily in a warm, humid environment, rooting in about 2-3 weeks.
- Houseplants A-Z
Fittonia Nerve Plant: Growing Nerve Plants In The Home
For unique interest in the home, look for the Fittonia nerve plant. When purchasing these plants, be aware it may also be called the mosaic plant or painted net leaf. Growing nerve plants is easy and so is nerve plant care.
Fittonia Nerve Houseplants
The nerve plant, or Fittonia argyroneura, from the Acanthaceae (Acanthus) family, is a tropically found plant with striking leaves of pink and green, white and green, or green and red. Foliage is primarily olive green with veining taking on the alternate hue. For specific color characteristics, look for other Fittonia nerve houseplant, such as F. argyroneura with silver white veins or F. pearcei, the carmine pink-veined beauty.
Named for its 19th century discoverers, the botanists Elizabeth and Sarah May Fitton, the Fittonia nerve plant does indeed flower. The blooms are insignificant reddish to white spikes and tend to blend in with the remainder of the foliage. The blooms of the nerve plant are rarely seen when it is grown indoors as a houseplant.
Hailing from Peru and other areas of the South American rain forest, this colorful houseplant craves high humidity but not too much irrigation. This little beauty does well in terrariums, hanging baskets, dish gardens or even as a ground cover in the right climate.
The foliage is low growing and trailing with oval-shaped leaves on rooting mat forming stems.
To propagate the plant, these rooted stem pieces may be divided or tip cuttings may be taken to create new Fittonia nerve houseplants.
Nerve Plant Care
As the nerve plant originates in a tropical setting, it flourishes within a high humidity environment. Misting may be required to maintain humid-like conditions.
Fittonia nerve plant likes well drained moist soil, but not too wet. Water moderately and let growing nerve plants dry out between waterings. Use room temperature water on the plant to avoid shock.
Growing about 3 to 6 inches by 12 to 18 inches or longer, the Fittonia nerve plant tolerates bright light to shade conditions but will truly flourish with bright, indirect light. Low light exposure will cause these plants to revert to green, losing the veins vibrant splashes of color.
Growing nerve plants should be placed in a warm area, avoiding drafts which will shock the plant just as water that is too cold or hot. Think rain forest conditions and treat your Fittonia nerve houseplants accordingly.
Feed as recommended for tropical houseplants per the instructions of your fertilizer brand.
The trailing nature of the plant can lead to a straggly appearance. Prune the tips of the nerve plant to create a bushier plant.
Nerve Plant Problems
Nerve plant problems are few; however, as mentioned above, avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot. Xanthomonas leaf spot, which causes necropsy of the veins, and mosaic virus may also afflict the plant.
Pests may include aphids, mealybugs and thrips.
Fittonia (nerve plant) care & info
Plants from the Fittonia genus, also known as nerve plants because of the bright leaf veins, are popular houseplant choices because of their gorgeous appearance. It’s hard not to fall for those dark green leaves with silver, light green or even pink mosaic!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Fittonia care and growing Fittonia in your own home.
|Water||Keep moist (not wet!)|
|Soil type||Potting soil|
Fittonia’s natural growing areas give a great idea of the best way to care for this plant. It’s a trailing plant that naturally occurs at ground level in tropical rainforests in South America, which means it will love plenty of humidity and doesn’t appreciate low temperatures or very bright sunlight.
Imitating the rainforest as much as possible will help keep your nerve plant healthy and lush! Luckily, turning part of your home into a tropical microclimate is not as difficult as it might sound.
Fittonia location and temperature
Because most direct sunlight in rainforests is blocked out by trees, Fittonia doesn’t deal well with harsh sun. It prefers receiving plenty of indirect light, so a window on the northern side of your house (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) is a great location.
A small amount of sun will be tolerated, but you may have to place a translucent curtain in front of the plant to diffuse the light and prevent the leaves from burning.
Like other tropical plants such as Phalaenopsis orchids, Fittonia will do well at room temperature. It’s a little fussy about low temps, so try not to let things get below around 60 °F/16 °C to avoid issues. Cold winter windows and unheated spaces are a no-go!
Be sure to place your Fittonia in a non-drafty spot and avoid any nearby heaters. These may cause the plant to dry out too quickly, which is definitely not ideal for a species that prefers high moisture environments.
Hover over image to pin to Pinterest
When planting your Fittonia, the most important thing to keep in mind is that it prefers humid conditions and moist but well-drained soil. A regular indoor potting soil works well for nerve plants. Your soil should drain well without losing all moisture.
To help improve drainage, be sure to use pots with a drainage hole instead of closed pots. Do try to avoid unglazed terracotta, which loses moisture quickly and can cause your Fittonia’s soil to dry out. Plastic nursery pots are known to work well for plants like these that need to be kept moist. If you don’t like the look, you can use a decorative overpot that matches your interior a little better.
To really imitate the natural humidity Fittonia plants will appreciate (and make an extra decorative display!) you can plant them in a bowl, vase or houseplant terrarium such as this one. This way, moisture will disappear less quickly. A list of other terrarium-proof plants to accompany your Fittonia can be found here. Just be sure not to place your Fittonia in a terrarium that’s completely closed off. These plants do appreciate plenty of fresh air and will not do well in stagnant conditions
If you want to repot your Fittonia, Spring is usually considered the ideal time. A much larger pot is usually not going to be needed, as this plant stays small and doesn’t develop extremely extensive root systems.
An example of a terrarium environment with Fittonia.
Proper watering is probably the most important aspect of Fittonia care. As mentioned earlier, the key to keeping your Fittonia healthy is maintaining a humid environment and figuring out the right balance in watering.
- Water when the top of your Fittonia’s soil has dried out. Don’t wait too long! Watering too much can lead to root rot, but forgetting to water too long won’t be appreciated either. If you’re not sure how often to water, check the soil daily until you get a feel for how quickly it dries.
- Nerve plants are known to quickly become droopy if the soil is allowed to dry out too much. This can be fixed, but should obviously be prevented if possible. Repeated dehydration can make the plant vulnerable to disease and waiting just a little too long can even be fatal.
- As with most tropical houseplants, it’s a good idea to prevent watering with ice cold water. Using room temperature water can help prevent shock.
- To further imitate tropical rainforest conditions, you may have to mist your Fittonia regularly. Keeping it in a terrarium and/or using a humidity tray consisting of pebbles and a layer of water can really help maintain the proper humidity so you don’t have to mist as often. Alternatively, you can try running a humidifier in dry rooms and grouping plants together so they can benefit from the moisture their neighbors emit.
As long as your Fittonia is growing (during the spring and summer months) it will appreciate regular feedings with a houseplant fertilizer. If you’re not sure about the instructions that come with your fertilizer, once a week or once every other week is a good place to start. Try diluting the fertilizer to prevent burning your Fittonia’s roots.
You can buy Fittonia at most larger garden and houseplant stores. You can also easily order Fittonia online here!
Is Fittonia toxic to cats and dogs?
Multiple sources list Fittonia as safe for both cats and dogs. Yay!
If you have any more questions about Fittonia care or want to share your own experiences with this lovely tropical houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
The fittonia plant is native to the tropical forests of South America.
Name – Fittonia
Family – Acanthaceae
Type – indoor plant
Height – 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm)
Exposure – part sun
Soil – soil mix
Foliage – evergreen
Care, repotting, watering and exposure are small activities that will make your fittonia even nicer.
It makes our houses and apartments look lively with its elevated ornamental impact and uniquely veined foliage.
Planting and re-potting your fittonia
Upon purchasing, if the pot is too small, proceed to repot the fittonia so that it may grow adequately.
After that, every 2 or 3 years and preferably in spring, repot your fittonia in a pot of a slightly larger size.
- Fittonia roots hate having too much water.
Double-check that the pot has a hole in the bottom.
Increase drainage with a layer of gravel or clay pebbles along the bottom of the pot, to make water flow through more easily.
- Good soil mix is needed.
The plant, when it lives indoors, needs soil mix because that is the only source for the nutrients it feeds on.
- Low but constant moisture levels must be maintained, without wetting the leaves.
You must either mist the leaves almost daily, or rest the pot on a bed of gravel, rocks or clay marbles doused in water.
Where to place your fittonia at home
A fittonia’s staunchest enemy is the sun’s rays. This plant’s natural habitat is the deeply shaded cover of multi-storeyed tropical forests.
The best location for your fittonia is a spot where there isn’t any direct sun on the plant, ever.
- It is vulnerable to excess sun that might dry the plant up.
The more light a fittonia receives, the more it suffers.
- Absolutely avoid setting it near heat sources such as radiators, because moisture is what this tropical plant needs most.
Ideal temperatures are around 70°F (20°C).
Watering your fittonia
Regular but moderate watering is called for.
All year long and especially during summer, spray water on the leaves to recreate the moisture levels of its natural habitat.
In spring and summer
Keep the soil mix a bit moist and check that water drains properly.
Add liquid leaf plant fertilizer every 8 to 15 days during this growing phase.
- Spray the leaves on a regular basis with calcium-free water.
In fall and winter
Reduce watering and wait for the soil to be dry before watering again.
Stop adding fertilizer.
Indoor winter heating tends to reduce indoor air moisture levels, so you’ll need to spray water on leaves often.
Common diseases that infect fittonia
Most often, problems that appear are the typical indoor plant diseases, red spider mite, scale insects and aphids.
Learn more about fittonia
A fabulous indoor plant, Fittonia is vulnerable to aphids. To avoid this, spray it often with a pyrethrum-based insect killer.
- Did you know that indoor plants can cleanse the air of pollutants?