FITTONIA GROWING TECHNIQUES

13-16 deg C/55-61 deg F

Two species from Peru are grown as houseplants. but they are quite unsuitable for cold homes where humidity is low and temperatures fluctuate. Both are more suited to case or bottle gardens. F. verschaffeMi ‘ Argyroneura’. aptly called lace leaf or snakeskin plant, is exceedingly beautiful. It is a trailer with oval leaves, delicately and contrastingly veined in creamy-white, giving the effect of intricately line lace. It requires the higher of the two recommended minimum temperatures.

F. verschaffeltu itself is happy with the lower minimum temperature, and is the easier of the two. The foliage is bigger and the veining not so fine, and is coloured carmine-red. Both these plants should not be allowed to dry out completely at any time, but watering in winter should be less. Shade and a high humidity are essential. Both are usually best grown in half-pots. Plants in pots should be frequently sprayed with a fine mist of water in summer to attain a high humidity. In low temperatures and where the atmosphere is dry, both species soon become sickly. Otherwise there are few troubles. although an attack of aphids is a possibility.

Although often difficult to grow, these two species soon reward the enthusiast attempting to grow them. They are often best bought early in summer so that they will be well established by the time winter arrives. By then you will be attuned to their needs.

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