Under the horoscope sign Aquarius
According to the horoscope, the sign of Aquarius (January 21-February 18) corresponds to many indoor plants that are well known to many flower growers. Among them are pleasant stromanta, calathea, dracaena Gosfera, Rowley's cross, gouty jatropha, arrowroot tricolor, coleus, striped abutilone, beautiful poinsettia, silver-veined fittonia.
Fittonia comes from humid swampy forests - the tropics of South America. The genus name (Fittonia) was chosen in honor of two English sisters - Elizabeth and Sarah-Maria Fitton for writing the first classical textbook on botany in the early 19th century. Fittonia belongs to the Acanthaceae family. Many growers deservedly consider the charming Fittonia in culture to be very capricious. But she is able to withstand relatively dark corners of the room, where such conditions would not suit many other plants.
And yet it can be found quite often in the collections of florists. Perhaps this is due to the extraordinary decorativeness of fittonia - the pattern of the leaves.
It is a low-growing herb with slender, creeping small stems and showy ovoid light green leaves decorated with red, pink or white veins. In spring, under favorable conditions, Fittonia can bloom, but its small yellowish flowers, collected in a spike-shaped inflorescence, are not very decorative.
What fittonia likes and dislikes
Fittonia does not tolerate direct sunlight: in bright light, the leaves turn pale, wrinkle. But you also don't need to test it by placing it in too dark places. Therefore, the best option for her would be a place near the window in light partial shade. It is sometimes important to choose the optimal amount of light for the plant: sometimes it is not enough for it, sometimes it is a lot. If the pot with this plant is moved to fresh air in the summer months, be sure to shade from direct sunlight, otherwise burns will appear on the leaves. The main thing to know is that Fittonia is very thermophilic. The ideal temperature for its maintenance is within 22 ... 25 ° С throughout the year. Experts consider 20 ... 25 ° С to be the optimum for the summer period. The plant tolerates drafts and sudden changes in temperature very painfully.
How to water fittonia
The soil should be constantly slightly moist, so Fittonia is watered abundantly (only with soft warm water), but excess moisture is not allowed in it. During the active growing season (April-August), the plant is regularly (every two weeks) fed with a very weak solution of complex fertilizer. It is known that it is very sensitive to an excess of fertilizers, therefore, their rate, as a rule, is halved compared to other indoor plants. She also loves high (up to 90%) humidity, so in the summer months it must be humidified regularly.
Or you can put a pot with a plant on a wide pallet, on which stones well-moistened with water are laid in an even layer: there is a constant evaporation of water from the bottom up. To bring it closer to its natural conditions, some hobbyists put a pot with a plant in wet peat, in a terrarium, or grow it in a so-called "bottle garden". To arrange such a "garden", they pick up a bottle with a wide neck or take a decorative container with a glass sealed lid. A certain amount of soil substrate is placed on the bottom through the hole, and when planting, the plants are watered well enough. After the appearance of condensation on the walls of the container, open the lid daily for 1-2 hours so that the fittonia "breathes", this is done for the first 7-10 days. Later, this lid can be kept closed and the moisture can be monitored (it is clear that there are no drafts or much evaporation in the jar). In case of too active growth, the plant will have to be thinned out (this procedure is best done in spring - early summer).
According to experienced florists, any Fittonia feels great in the "bottle garden". Here it is important to know what kind of fittonia it is - small-leaved or large-leaved: the former grows successfully in an apartment, but for large-leaved it is still desirable to organize such a "aquarium". If the jar, which constantly covers the plant, is going to be removed so that it develops indoors in the open air, the plant should be cooked gradually, removing the jar for 2-3 hours every day.
In winter, the temperature should not fall below 17 ... 18 ° C. Fittonia is not placed too close to a window pane so that it does not freeze from cold air, and is kept away from central heating batteries and heaters, since dry air also impairs its vital functions. Given the short daylight hours, it can be moved to a brighter place during the winter months. Watering is needed moderately enough (especially with a cool content); the soil should not completely dry out, and the water stagnates in the pan.
To make Fittonia constantly look lush and elegant (it grows in the form of a "hat" of foliage), it is recommended to pinch the shoots - this leads to their more intensive branching. Shoots hanging over the edge of the pot should be carefully trimmed with sharp scissors or a razor.
Fittonia is recommended to be transplanted annually in spring using a loose substrate consisting of turf, heather (or coniferous), peat soil and sand (ratio 1: 1: 1/2: 1/2). Since it has a superficial root system, it is preferable to use shallow (5-7 cm high), but rather wide bowls (drainage must be arranged). It is worth noting that still young specimens look better, so it is recommended to update Fittonia every 2-3 years.
Reproduction of fittonia
Reproduction of this plant is a fairly simple matter: by cuttings, dividing and layering. In the first case, in spring or summer, the apical stalk 5-8 cm long (the longer ones take root longer and weaker) with 3-5 leaves are cut and rooted in the sand (it is better to cover with a glass jar). You can root the cut stalk in water, but its layer should be small - 0.5-1 cm. In this case, it is better saturated with air, and the container itself, along with the stalk, should be placed in a tied large plastic bag. The room temperature should be 25 ... 28 ° C. Periodically, the jar is opened (and the bag is unfolded) and the foliage is sprayed. Rooting can take about 1-1.5 months. If the jar is taken out of the bag and soon notice a strong wilting of the leaves of the cutting, it means that it has not yet formed a good root system to survive under normal conditions, and rooting continues. After the appearance of high-quality roots in a container with water, the cutting is planted in a soil substrate.
You can carefully divide the bush and plant it in different containers. Some amateurs plant several cuttings in one wide pot at once, as a result of which this mass of plants will then look very impressive. It is possible to reproduce fittonia by layering from the stem (due to the "creep" of the plant itself). For this purpose, a part of the stem freed from foliage is sprinkled with earth, and after rooting, it is carefully separated and transferred to a separate container. Sometimes, with a sufficient size of the container, the creeping stems take root themselves. The genus Fittonia has about 10 species, of which the most common indoor species are considered Fittonia Verschaffelt (F. verschaffeltii) and silver-veined fittonia (F. agryroneura).
The first species is native to Peru. It is a perennial herb with shallow roots and creeping shoots, easily rooting at the nodes. Stems (up to 10 cm high) branch well and densely pubescent: young ones with silvery hairs, old ones with greenish hairs. Oval-elliptical leaves (6-10 cm in size) are placed on a small petiole; they are glabrous or slightly pubescent, green-olive, covered with a network of bright pink veins. Nondescript yellowish flowers are collected in a spike-shaped inflorescence (each flower is covered with a large bracts below). Fittonia silvery-veined (some experts consider it to be a variation of the previous species) - erect stems and oval leaves (up to 5 cm in size), light green, with silvery veins. There are large-leaved varieties in which leaves are about 10 cm long, but small-leaved ones are also obtained. Its popular miniature form - the unpretentious Nana hybrid - has leaves only 2-2.5 cm in size (with the same color), which is welcomed by flower growers, since large-leaved forms are very difficult to grow in a living room: they require constant heat and very high humidity air around the leaves.
I draw your attention to some signs of non-infectious lesions of Fittonia due to non-observance of the rules of caring for it. If the tips of the leaves turn brown and dry and the plant slows down, the air may be too dry. The dead leaves are removed and the air humidity is increased.
An indication of an excess or lack of nutrients in the soil may be the yellow-brown tips of the leaves. With insufficient watering, the leaves can curl up and become stained, so make sure that the soil is constantly moist. At temperatures below the recommended temperature (especially at high humidity), the stems can rot (this is manifested in their lethargy). Falling leaves are observed both with too dry indoor air and with excessive watering. With very intense sunlight, the leaves lose their color, thin out and dry out, and with excessive watering, the lower leaves turn yellow. It should be noted that the exposure of the lower part of the stem is natural for fittonia (in the spring the plant is rejuvenated by cutting off the shoots). From pests on fittonia, the appearance of a mealybug, scale insects, thrips and spider mites is possible. To remove these pests, the leaves are wiped with a soapy sponge (try to prevent foam from getting into the soil), then sprayed with 0.1-0.2% actellic solution (1-2 ml / l of water) 2-3 times with an interval of 10 days ...
Alexander Lazarev, candidate of biological sciences
Indoor plants for green walls
Continuation. The beginning is in the article Green walls.
The selection of plants for phytocompositions is made taking into account the biological characteristics and decorative qualities of each plant. Collecting a single group from plants is an art of both an artist and a botany. It is necessary that the plants are united aesthetically and ecologically. Each room has its own style that reflects the tastes, preferences and needs of a particular person or group.
From determining the placement of plants, one should proceed to the selection of species suitable for placement in these conditions. The reverse procedure is possible if you agree, if necessary, to treat potted plants as cut plants and replace them as necessary with new ones.
Indoor living is an ordeal for plants. The usual "room conditions" are a constant temperature of 14 to 22 ° C, limited light, excess carbon dioxide and a predominance of dry air. In such harsh conditions, only the most adapted plant species survived and spread. It should always be remembered that plants are living things and they need water, light and nutrients, and in a certain proportion and concentration. Air temperature and humidity are important.
All of the above applies to plants used for vertical gardening.
For low-volume containers and hydroponic systems, given the constant change of exposure, you can take any plants, so long as they can stay in the cell. Just like it is done in interior design, when the rules of aesthetics require the placement of plants, which does not at all correspond to their requirements for light and humidity. In these cases, plant species are selected that can withstand this for a longer time, or after some time some plants are replaced by others. After they grow out, they are replaced.
When using container vertical gardens, when the durability of the wall increases, the care of plants is simplified, constant circulation of the nutrient solution and its disinfection are not required, the selection of species should be approached more thoroughly.
Since 2012, on the basis of the botanical garden of the 1st Moscow State Medical University named after I. THEM. Sechenov and Ostankino state farm of decorative floriculture, we studied more than 200 species of plants used for landscaping interiors, for their suitability for creating vertical phytocompositions from containers of rare irrigation with a size of 255 * 225 * 200 mm.
The most suitable species for these conditions are shown in Table 1.
Types of plants recommended for vertical gardening when using a structure based on containers of rare irrigation
Diseases, pests, problems
Fittonia is considered a plant that rarely gets sick. But sometimes he can be struck by various ailments. The following problems are most often observed:
- Hairy lice (worm)... This pest is located at the base of the leaves, and in advanced cases it moves to the leaf itself. You can notice the worm by the presence of waxy secretions on the plant. You can get rid of the parasite with the help of Actellik solution or soapy water, which you need to spray the plant with.
- Thrips... The pest destroys the sap in young plants, which becomes noticeable by the formation of small yellow spots on the foliage, which tend to grow. Small insects can be destroyed with Actellik solution.
- Red tick... Dry air can also affect the appearance of a spider mite, during the life of which a cobweb appears under the fittonia leaf, spots form on its surface. The best remedy for tick control is also Actellik.
In addition to pests, the plant may have other problems:
- Fittonia dries up. The reason is an excess or deficiency of fertilizers.
- Leaves turn yellow - a bay is possible.
- The plant does not bloom - this cannot be called a pathology. Many types of Fittonia never bloom.
- Foliage falls from the lower stems - the flower needs rejuvenation.
- Foliage wrinkles - excess of bright light or dry air.
Despite the existing problems with the care of Fittonia, the plant can be considered an ideal option for indoor growing. The main condition is taking care of timely watering and organizing the correct lighting.
Bright capricious woman: types of fittonia for growing at home
But how to get past the green-pink, white-green, purple, violet or olive-carmine curtains?
Thanks to the incredible color of the leaves, named after the Fitton sisters, British popularizers of the Fitton botany have become incredibly popular with amateur flower growers around the world.
Important nuances of care
During the year, the conditions of detention and the rules for caring for Fittonia do not change. The plant does not have a pronounced dormant period. It loves high humidity very much, so special attention should be paid to watering.
Fittonia is quite capricious and immediately reacts negatively to mistakes in care
The earthen ball in the Fittonia pot must be constantly moist. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to dry out. The next watering is needed for the plant when the topsoil dries out a little. In winter, you can wait another 12-15 hours, but no more.
Watering frequency is adjusted depending on the season and weather. If it is a hot summer, the plant is watered more often than in winter. Balance is very important. Stagnation of moisture in the pot leads to the rapid development of rot, and even a single drying out of the earthy coma leads to leaf fall.Fittonia is watered and sprayed only with water that has settled for at least a day, the temperature of which exceeds room temperature by 3-5 ºС.
The ideal option is melted water, rainwater, or at least distilled water. If it is absent, a little lemon juice or citric acid powder is added to tap water, "enriched" with chlorine, fluorine, calcium carbonate compounds and waiting for a precipitate to form in the form of off-white or grayish flakes.
Pour water until you see that the excess is in the sump. Wait 30-40 minutes, drain them. Another "indicator" is air bubbles on the soil surface. Their appearance stops when the earthen lump is completely saturated with moisture. This is what you need. Bottom watering for fittonia is categorically not suitable.
A spray bottle is an absolute must for those wishing to grow Fittonia
The culture, in principle, is indifferent to feeding. To improve the appearance, flower growers use any complex liquid fertilizer for decorative leafy plants, reducing the concentration of the drug in the solution recommended by the manufacturer by 2–3 times. The procedure is carried out every 15–20 days. In winter, the intervals between fertilizing can be increased up to a month.
It is strongly discouraged to use all kinds of wax-based leaf cleaners for fittonia. They create an airtight layer on the surface of the leaf plate, interfering with normal photosynthesis.
Regular pruning in the form of pinching the shoots about a quarter of their length stimulates them to branch intensively. Fittonia bushes more strongly, looks more decorative.
The cut pieces will also work - they take root well. In addition to pruning shoots, flowers are also cut from Fittonia. Their formation takes a lot of energy from the plant, it becomes more vulnerable, more often affected by diseases and pests.
Typical mistakes of florists - table
|Description of the problem||Most likely cause|
|The tips of the leaves turn yellow, then turn brown and dry out.||There is insufficient air humidity in the room. Spray Fittonia frequently. Or get a special humidifier.|
|Leaves lose their tone, droop, curl along the central vein, shoots sink to the ground.||Watering too infrequently. Or fittonia is watered often, but little by little. All soil in the pot should be saturated with water.|
|Leaves, starting from the tips, turn pale, then turn yellow.||Imbalance of nutrients in the soil. The reason may be either a clear excess or an acute shortage.|
|The leaves become smaller, the distance between them increases, the whole plant seems to be stretching upward.||The flower lacks light. Move it closer to the windowsill, out of direct sunlight, or use artificial light sources.|
|Light spots appear on the leaves, the pattern turns pale, the leaf plate wrinkles, as it were.||The plant is sunburned. Move the pot out of direct sunlight.|
|Shoots rot at the base.||Too much watering and / or insufficiently high room temperature.|
|The plant sheds its leaves.||If the problem concerns the lowest leaves of Fittonia, which was last transplanted 2–3 years ago, exposing this part of the stem is a natural process. In other cases, the flower lacks moisture and / or nutrients.|
Self-breeding tips for Fittonia
- The soil in the pot of an adult plant and in a small container should be moistened as usual.
- Sprinkle the stem a little with soil.
- In a place that is covered with earth, root shoots will soon appear (if there are none yet) and then the young plant must be carefully separated from the maternal fittonia and put in a permanent place of growth.
- Sometimes, if the pot in which the adult grows allows the stem to sink to the soil, then rooting takes place on its own.
- To propagate a plant using cuttings, it will be necessary, with the arrival of spring, to cut the cutting from the top of the shoot (but many growers propagate by cuttings year-round).
- Its length should not be less than 6-7 cm, but no more than eight, and the twig should contain 3-5 leaf plates.
- Planting is carried out in moistened sand or any other lightweight substrate.
- The cuttings must be wrapped in plastic wrap or covered with a glass jar to create conditions for a mini-greenhouse with constant heat and humidity.
- For successful rooting, temperature indicators should not be less than 22 degrees.
- The seedlings are regularly opened to ventilate and moisturize the soil.
- After about a month, the cuttings have roots and you can transplant them into separate pots with a diameter of 9–11 cm. It is recommended to place several pieces of cuttings in one container in order to make the future bush more magnificent.
You can wait for the appearance of root processes by placing the cuttings in a vessel with water poured one centimeter. But still, they need to be covered with a film or glass jar (you can put it under a cut plastic bottle). Approximately every 2-3 days, the package is removed and the leaves are sprayed. In this case, the temperature should not drop below 26 degrees. When the roots that appear in length reach a centimeter, then young fittonia plants can be planted in pots prepared in advance with drainage and soil.
In summer, the temperature should be around 24 ° C, and in winter around 20 ° C. If, in winter, the Fittonia plant is kept at lower temperatures, then it can get sick. Also, a sharp temperature drop and drafts should not be allowed - the sure harbingers of leaf fall. Fittonia is a houseplant, so you can't take it outside or on a balcony, even in summer.
The basic rule is that an earthen lump in a pot with a Fittonia flower should not completely dry out. The second rule is that the soil should not sour. If you ignore rule # 1, the Fittonia will shed its leaves.
If you do not adhere to rule number 2, the roots rot. In winter, water the flower a couple of days after the topsoil dries, the rest of the time - immediately after drying.
Water for irrigation is taken at a distance, slightly higher than the temperature in the room.
The fittonia plant at home needs regular spraying, since dry air leads to disease or pest damage.
It is necessary to spray at least once a day, and preferably two: once in the morning, the other in the evening. To increase the humidity, you can put a container with water next to the pot, or put the pot itself on a pallet with wet expanded clay.
The pot should not be immersed in water. It is important to remember that Fittonia leaves cannot be polished.
The indoor flower Fittonia needs fertilizers throughout the year, but one must remember that their excess will immediately affect the health of the flower. Therefore, the concentration of fertilizer should be halved compared to those suggested on the package. Complex mineral fertilizers are used: once a month in winter, and twice a month throughout the rest of the year.
In order for home fittonia to branch better, it is necessary to pinch the shoots. Over time, the bottom of the Fittonia is exposed, which makes the plant less attractive. To rejuvenate the plant, it is necessary to prune at the end of March. But it should be borne in mind that if you completely cut off all the leaves, the development of young shoots will slow down, so pruning is carried out in several stages.
Fittonia must be replanted annually in March-April. Together with the transplant, the rejuvenation of the plant can also be carried out, since Fittonia becomes less decorative with age. The pot needs to be low, but wide. Expanded clay or fine brick is poured at the bottom of the pot, and a substrate is poured on top: two parts of coniferous and sod land, and one part of sand and peat.
Propagation by cuttings
Fittonia can be propagated annually at the time of transplant, combining it with rejuvenation. For reproduction of fittonia at home, cuttings are taken from a cutting with three to five leaves from the top of the plant. In order for the cutting to take root as quickly as possible, its length should not exceed 8 cm.
The stalk is placed with the cut end in the sand, covered with a jar and waited for about a month, from time to time removing the jar, watering and sprinkling. If you root the stalk in a jar of water, then you need to pour no more than a centimeter of water, and tie the jar itself with a bag. Two to three times a week, the bag is untied and the leaves are sprayed. The temperature must not drop below 26 ° C.
When good and strong roots are formed, the plant can be planted in the earthen mixture described above.
Reproduction by division
When transplanting, the Fittonia bush can be divided into several small ones and planted in separate pots. The main thing is not to damage the roots, so you need to carefully separate the bushes. Or, on the contrary, plant several plants in one pot to make the bush look more luxuriant, but this can hardly be called reproduction.
Reproduction by layering
Indoor fittonia itself can reproduce by layering, but it is better to help it. To do this, you need to slightly dig in a part of the stem without foliage. After some time, roots will appear in this place, after which the cutting can be separated from the mother plant and planted in an individual pot.
Fittonia died suddenly. The first option is too much watering, especially in winter. So you need to water less often, read above how. The second reason is too cold air or sudden temperature changes.
The lower leaves of fittonia fall. In Fittonia, this is normal, as the stem becomes bare over time. The plant needs to be rejuvenated by cutting off the balding shoots.
Fittonia leaves turn yellow. Fittonia is poured - you need to reduce the frequency of watering, allowing the soil to dry out between them.
Fittonia leaf tips turn brown. Sometimes it can turn yellow-brown. It all depends on whether the flower is fertilized or not, since this is a consequence of both an excess and a shortage of fertilizers.
Fittonia leaves shriveled. Fittonia needs high humidity, and wrinkled leaves indicate its excessive dryness. Another option is excess light or the flower is in direct sunlight.
Fittonia pests. Fittonia is most susceptible to damage by thrips, scale insects, spider mites and mealybugs.
Fittonia large (Fittonia gigantea). Originally from Peru. Habitat - tropical forests. It grows to just over 0.5 m in length. Shoots are reddish-purple in color, pubescent along the entire length. Leaf sizes depend on age - from 10 to 16 cm long and 4 to 10 cm wide, but always elliptical. The leaves are glossy, green, the veins on the leaves are red.
Fittonia Verschaffelti (Fittonia verschaffeltii). These low specimens can be found in Colombia and Peru. They grow only in the forests of the tropical strip.
Shoots practically spread along the ground, so they easily root by layering. Pubescent. The leaves are either ovoid or elliptical in shape, dark green in color with red veins.
Sheet dimensions: width from 4 to 6 cm, and length from 5 to 10 cm.
Useful tips from gardeners
Species, rules of care and reproduction
Fittonia (Latin Fittonia) immediately attracts attention: its highly decorative leaves are covered with spectacular veins, sharply contrasting with the main color.
A few decades ago, the flower practically did not "survive" in the dry air of apartments, but now several hybrid varieties have been developed that are adapted to the room climate.
When buying Fittonia Josan or Mix, you don't have to worry that it will be difficult to care for it. The main thing is to provide the plant with suitable climatic conditions and follow the recommendations of specialists.
The genus Fittonia includes several decorative deciduous herbaceous perennials with bright foliage, the surface of which is literally dotted with white or red veins. The creeping shoots of Fittonia are covered with a small “down”, the color of which depends on the age of the plants.
In young specimens, they are white-silver in color, in old ones - green. Shoots grow to a length of 10-20 cm and root easily at the nodes. The shallow root system lies in the upper layers of the soil, so deep pots are not needed to plant a ground cover crop.
During the flowering period, long spike-shaped inflorescences formed from small yellow flowers rise from under the dense foliage. From an aesthetic point of view, the appearance of inflorescences does not spoil the general appearance of the Fittonia, but takes away its strength. Therefore, experienced florists recommend removing flower arrows - the plant looks attractive even without them.
At home, three types are grown:
- Fittonia Vershaffelt is the most popular variety, on the basis of which many interesting hybrid varieties have been bred. It is a perennial with oval-elliptical leaves 6-10 cm long. The surface of the green-olive leaf plates is covered with a network of white, bright pink or red veins.
- Silvery-veined Fittonia is a species no less beloved by flower growers with spectacular silvery-white veins on a green background.
- Fittonia large (giant) is less common in comparison with the previous two. It has erect, reddish-purple stems that grow up to 50 cm in height. The dimensions of the leaf are 10-16 cm in length and 5-10 cm in diameter, with red veins.
The bushes look great in combination with other indoor crops and are no less attractive on their own. Flower shops offer for sale compositions called "Fittonia Mix", composed of several varieties.
Different in color combinations, these plants need the same growing conditions.
Such a composition looks elegant and presentable, and it is easy to create it yourself - for this, it is enough to plant several assorted cuttings in one pot.
Fittonia Mix - a mixture of different varieties
Fittonia is an absolutely safe "creature". Unlike most tropical crops that have poisonous leaves or shoots, it does not pose a danger to human and domestic animal health.
Therefore, the flower can be placed in any room: bedroom, kitchen, nursery or bright bathroom with a window.
The main thing is that the conditions of keeping the South American plant correspond to natural ones: constant heat, high humidity and diffused sunlight.
Fittonia does not have a pronounced rest period, which makes it much easier to care for it. The plant does not need to be transferred to a cool room in winter or artificially lower the air temperature. Required indicators + 22 ...
+25 ° С is easy to maintain in summer and winter, provided there is high-quality heating. If the work of heaters or batteries leaves much to be desired, in winter fittonia can be kept at a temperature of + 18 ... + 20 ° С. Cold snap below + 17 ...
+ 18 ° С is dangerous for the plant: it will begin to lose leaves and hurt, and at + 15 ° С, it will most likely die.
Over the long history of their development, Fittonias have adapted to diffused lighting without direct sunlight, because in the tropics these exotic flowers are located under the dense crowns of trees.
The best place in the apartment is an east or west window. The northern window sill is not the best option, as the lack of natural light will be strongly felt.
The southern one is categorically not suitable for a delicate beauty.
To avoid problems, in the autumn-winter period or on the northern windowsill, you will have to supplement the fittonia with fluorescent lamps or LED lamps.
The most difficult of all the care points to do at home is to maintain humidity throughout the year at a level of at least 60-70%.If in the summer it is still possible to create the necessary microclimate in the apartments, then in the heating season, when the air in the room is dried by heaters and radiators, it is quite difficult to do this. There are several ways to increase the humidity level:
- Place the pot with plants on a pallet filled with wet pebbles, moss or expanded clay. In this case, the bottom of the pot should not touch the water.
- Every day, and on hot summer days - in the morning and in the evening, spray the plant from a spray bottle using water at room temperature. It is better to take purified water passed through a household filter, since it contains a minimum amount of mineral salts. So that ugly white stains do not remain on the delicate foliage, you can boil tap water in advance and defend.
- Grow fittonia in a glass container: a voluminous glass jar, a jug, a decorative vessel, an aquarium, etc. Arranging a florarium will not only create a humid microclimate around the bushes, but also protect them from harmful changes in air temperature and drafts.
- Use an electric humidifier. This device quickly increases the humidity in the room and maintains it at a given level.
During the heating season, it is necessary to place fittonia flowerpots away from operating heaters.
For watering fittonia, it is recommended to use pre-settled water, the temperature of which is 2-3 degrees higher than room temperature. The plant prefers slightly moist soil, but does not tolerate excess and stagnant liquid. Drying out of the soil in a pot is fraught with the fall of colorful leaves, and waterlogging is fraught with root rot and death of the flower.
To make it easier to navigate the frequency of watering, it is necessary to check the condition of the soil in the pot every day and water it on the 2nd day after the top layer dries up by 1-2 cm.
To maintain decorative fittonia and active growth of shoots, it is necessary to apply complex fertilizers for decorative deciduous plants. The dosage recommended by the manufacturer should be halved and watered with the nutrient composition every 2 weeks. From November to February, the frequency of feeding should be reduced to one per month.
For planting fittonias, it is recommended to use a universal store substrate intended for growing decorative deciduous crops. Owners of summer cottages who are fond of indoor floriculture can make up an earth mixture on their own from the following components:
- leaf land - 3 parts
- humus - 1 part
- peat - 1 part
- washed river sand of coarse fraction - 1 part.
Vases for fittonia need to be taken small and wide - plants have a superficial root system, which in a deep container can rot due to stagnant water and soil acidification.
A prerequisite for planting and transplanting: the presence of holes in the vessel for the outflow of excess water and laying a drainage layer at least ¼ of the height of the walls of the pot.
Transplanting young fittonias should be carried out annually in the spring, increasing the diameter of the flowerpot and not changing its height.
Adult, overgrown bushes can be replanted every 2-3 years. However, this is not always relevant, since over time the exotic flower grows out - its lower leaves fall off and the stems become bare. The loss of decorativeness cannot be prevented, but you can rejuvenate the plant: cut several cuttings, root and plant in one pot.
Despite the capricious nature of the tropical beauty, her reproduction usually does not cause any problems. The most convenient way to get a young plant is to root the cuttings:
- With the beginning of an active growing season, cut the apical cuttings 6-7 cm long.
- Prepare a bowl or shallow container with wet sand, sphagnum moss or peat.
- Plant the cuttings and cover with a transparent hood to create a greenhouse effect.
- Put the mini-greenhouse in a bright, warm place, moisten the soil as needed.
- Ventilate the cuttings daily and remove condensation drops that settle on the walls of plastic or glass.
Fittonia cuttings can also be rooted in a glass of water. If the roots do not appear for a long time, you should be patient: sometimes it takes from 4 to 10 weeks to form them.
Fittonia can be attacked by insects: scale insects, mealybugs or thrips. When caring for a flower, you need to regularly inspect variegated bushes and, if pests appear, take urgent measures:
- Remove the detected individuals manually using a cotton pad dipped in an alcohol solution.
- Cover the soil in the pot with plastic wrap, and treat the plant itself with soapy water.
- In case of severe infection, purchase an insecticidal preparation (Actellik, Aktara, Inta-Vir, Fitoverm, etc.), dilute according to the instructions and spray Fittonia.
- After 10-12 days, carry out another treatment to prevent a repeat incident.
Most of the problems with growing Fittonia are not related to pests, but to mistakes in care:
- The tips of the leaves turn brown and dry due to the low humidity in the apartment. This is especially noticeable in the autumn-winter season, when heaters and heating devices are working at full capacity.
- Falling leaves provoke dry air or waterlogging of the soil in the pot.
- Direct sunlight falling on spectacular bushes leads to the fact that the leaves become thinner, wrinkled, become pale or dry out. The same symptoms can appear due to exposure to dry air.
- Insufficient watering leads to twisting of the leaf plates, and stagnant water in the pot - to their yellowing.
- Leaves turn yellow-brown due to overfeeding of nutrients or lack of minerals.
- In a cold room, where the air temperature is below +18 ° C, the stems of Fittonia can wither and rot. This is often the case if increased humidity from frequent spraying is added to the effects of the cold.
- In adult Fittonia, the lower leaves often fall off, but this is not a sign of the disease: as the flower ages, the shoots lengthen, and their lower parts become bare.
If any of the listed problems appears, you need to correct the watering, feeding or lighting regime, and the plant will recover. However, sometimes Fittonia dies rapidly due to the development of putrefactive processes. You can save a flower only by cutting and rooting healthy cuttings.
Growing fittonia in an aquarium is a good way to maintain the necessary air humidity.
The variegated fittonia with brightly colored leaves will be a good addition to your home flower collection. It can be grown as a ground cover or ampel plant, a mix of hybrids of different colors can be planted, or combined with other indoor crops that require similar growing conditions.