La Fitonia: [Characteristics, Sowing, Care, Irrigation and Substrate]

The Fitonia is a tropical plant as unique as it is beautiful . It has been used in gardens as an ornamental plant .

Its leaves are really curious, with different patterns in the varieties that are presented, with colors that go from white to pink or purple.


Phytonia characteristics

  • Name: Fittonia.
  • Common name: plant nervous, plant mosaic, leaf painted red.
  • Native: from South America.
  • Family: Acanthaceae.
  • Height: 1 to 3 meters.
  • Exposure: partial shade or full sun.
  • Foliage: evergreen.
  • Flowering: spring.

Its height in pot reaches about 10 cm to 15 cm maximum. That is why it is a creeping type plant , which will cast long stems horizontally. Hence, it is also considered as a floor covering plant.

Did you know…?
The leaves are the main attraction.

They measure a maximum of 3-5 cm, but they are very noticeable thanks to a rich range of tones that go from yellow to red, with deeply sculpted nerves, which makes a contrast impossible to ignore.

Native to regions of South America, it is seen a lot in the jungles of countries such as Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

There is a Fitonia mini in shades of purple with very delicate white, ideal to combine in an arrangement with other indoor plants , because it is a very good neighbor. Its flowers , not very showy, appear in the spring.


Temperature: Where to plant phytonia?

Sadly, Fitonia will die if subjected to cold temperatures below 15 ° C, although its development will most likely stop. You can also witness how its leaves are wilting.

But it does resist environmental heat very nobly, since it comes from the American tropics .

The ideal then is to keep it at an ambient temperature that ranges between 20 to 28 ° C. Perhaps the most important factor in giving you health is temperature and humidity.

You are allowed to spray its leaves with water if the summer is very oppressive, to maintain a convenient relative humidity for its development.

Did you know…?
You should also take into account the following:

If you live in a dry environment or your house has heating, it is prudent to spray the leaves regularly, because this situation can also occur in winter, when different equipment to heat the rooms of the home is activated.


Luz: What needs do you have?

Direct exposure to the sun damages its spectacular leaves, so you already know what to do with this essential factor for the survival of an indoor plant. Good natural lighting does not mean subjecting it to inclement sun.

Although the sun is important in your life, do not abuse it. Place it in a very bright place in your house

Substrate and Compost: How do we prepare the soil?

Fertilize it once a week with a liquid fertilizer product. It will be more than enough to keep you healthy. Only in winter will you use this extraordinary food once every two weeks.

The pot you choose to grow it should be wide enough to allow its roots to spread. Many proliferate. It does not require a special substrate , just buy one for green plants and apply it.

If you can apply a root stimulator and pearls, it will be excellent for phytonia.

This action helps to root the new plants because it has a background fertilizer that works very well in the case of transplants.

The added perlite, meanwhile, helps the soil aerate. Some sand incorporated allows better drainage of the water.


Sowing phytonia step by step

  1. Choose a place with partial sun. The plant does need some air circulation, so although it will thrive against a wall or fence, avoid planting it in the corner of two fenced walls.
  2. If the soil is heavy or not loose (does not drain well), add a lot of well-rotten compost to the area and stir.
  3. It can be planted throughout the year if the soil is not frozen and can be watered well when conditions are dry. The spring and fall are the best times to plant this shrub.
  4. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball.
  5. Place the plant in the hole, filling it with soil so that it is at the same depth as in the pot. Fill around the root ball and harden the soil gently but firmly. Water well to settle the soil around the root ball.

Irrigation: How and how often do we water?

A moderate watering, but accompanied by constant spraying with water on its leaves, will be a key point in the maintenance of phytonia at home. The substrate must not overflow with water.

Avoid at all costs that the substrate gets flooded and always remove the saucer with the excess water that drains from the bottom of the pot, because if you leave it anyway the roots will rot.

Finally, if you notice an overgrowth, then it is time for it to reproduce under the cuttings technique .

Phytonia pests and diseases

A common disease of phytonia is caused by a fungus that attacks the leaves of the plant. Symptoms are red, purple, or maroon circles on the leaves.

It is important to avoid wetting the leaves if there are signs of disease because it helps spread mold to healthy leaves. The leaves will fall off, eventually leading to the death of the phytonia’s red tip. It is important to completely remove the dead leaves or cover them with mulch to prevent the fungus from affecting the rest of the phytonias.


Varieties of phytonias

Fittonia belongs to the Acanthaceae family . The various species are native to South America, but growers have grown a large number of compact forms with streaks of striking colors and contrasts.

Two main species of Fittonia form the basis of most houseplant crops :

  1. Fitonia gigantea, which can reach 60 centimeters and has purple stems with dark green leaves and crimson veins.
  2. Fitonia verschaffeltti is a vine that grows best on dishes or hanging baskets . It is the «typical» Fittonia with many varieties, including the » Argyroneura » ( silvery white veins ) and the » Pearcei » (reddish veins). The » Minima» and «Argyroneura » varieties are well adapted to growing in terrariums .


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