The fittonia (genus Fittonia) is a perennial evergreen also known as the mosaic plant that is native to South American Andes. The plant has also been called nerve plant or mini fittonia. There are many different varieties, including the F. verschaffeltii variety, which has reddish veins and dark green leaves, and the F. argyroneura variety, which has lighter green leaves with a whitish midrib.
Light and Temperatures
The fittonia needs to have bright indirect sunlight to survive and flourish. Placing the plant near a west- or south-facing window will provide enough light during the day for the mosaic plant to grow. The plant needs temperatures of between 60 and 85 degrees F.
A plant in a 6-inch container needs 4 grams of water-soluble 19-6-12 (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium) fertilizer once every three months, including winter months. If the plant is in a 3-inch pot it needs 2 grams of fertilizer, and a plant in a 12-inch pot needs 8 grams of fertilizer.
Watering and Humidity
The soil should be kept moist. When watering the plant, use warm tap water. The plant needs high humidity. You should place the container in a drainage tray with gravel so that excess water can run out of the plant and create humidity.
When potting the plant or repotting it, use soil that will drain well, but retain water. A good mixture would be one part course sand, two parts humus and one part peat. The ideal container size is 6 inches, which allows the plant to remain bushy.
Pests and Pruning
The fittonia is prone to spider mites and mealy bugs. Keep the spider mites away by misting the plant regularly with warm water. To control mealy bugs, gently scrape off the white egg masses on the leaves and use a mild soapy solution. Mist the plant with the soap solution until the masses do not appear again. Keep the plant small and bushy in the container by cutting back the stems with scissors. Stems will shoot out as the plant grows and these shoots can be trimmed back to maintain the round shape of the plant.
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