Have you grown a fittonia, also known as the nerve plant, mosaic plant, or net plant? I have, and can admit to you that I have killed my share. Fittonia care is easy, as long as you remember the water and to make high humidity a priority.
I have found that the large leafed, ‘Pink Wave’ shown below seems to be a little less fussy. It has thicker leaves than the smaller, thinner-leafed ground cover fittonias.
1. Fittonia care is about the water
The key, in my opinion, is the watering practices when caring for your fittonia. This plant does not want to dry out completely AT ALL. Yet, it doesn’t want to be too wet, either….. So there is where the problem comes in. Is it too wet or too dry? I try not to let my plant dry out completely. It has wilted before and after watering it well, it does come back. But, it would be better if you did NOT let that happen. Keep the plant just barely moist at all times. Letting a plant wilt so you know it is dry is not the way to monitor your plants water needs. (Many people do that with peace lilies, too.) It may work a few times, but there willl be consequences. Your plant will probably react by developing yellow or crispy leaves or may just give up and die.
2. Humidity is key
Humidity is also a key factor in keeping fittonias happy. Many of the smaller types are perfect for a terrarium where the humidity is extremely high. As long the humidity can be kept high, it should do fine out of a terrarium. A pebble tray works very well. If you have enough light in a bathroom or kitchen, that would be ideal.
3. No bright light please
When it comes to light preference, the fittonia would like to have a nice bright light, but never direct sun. If it were to be placed in too much sun, it would burn or at the least, develop crispy edges. Mine is in an east window and doing great.
4. Keep It Trimmed
If your fittonia starts to get leggy, as they often do, trim it back to keep it full and use the cuttings to make more plants or put them back in the pot to keep it full and looking good.
A little history
The fittonia plant was named after sisters Elizabeth and Sarah Mary Fitton, the authors of Conservations on Botany (1817). The diminuative plants are used as ground covers in warmer areas, but in colder climates, it is a houseplant and quite often, a terrarium plant.
Fittonia care isn’t too complicated but the extra care that this plant requires is well worth it. Look at that foliage! The veins and color are amazing. Who needs flowers?
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