Fittonia, a superb indoor plant

Richly veined fittonia plant

The fittonia plant is native to the tropical forests of South America.

Fittonia facts

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 help 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).

Companion plants for fittonia

Fittonia is a wonderful leaf plant, with intricate veins that contrast with the fleshy portions of leaves. It makes a lot of sense to pair this low-height grower with a taller, towering plant that matches its colors. For instance, the red-veined fittonia below would beautifully match a dracena bicolor in the same pot, creating two stages of emerald and ruby colors.

Watering your fittonia

Watering fittonia, here a variety with red veinsRegular 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.

Read also:

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Yellow veins on small leaves by Alina Kuptsova under Pixabay license
Fittonia with red veins by Marie Serreau,
Nature & Garden contributor