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 Fittonia subsp. var.  Nerve Plant, Mosaic Plant
Fittonia verschaffeltii
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
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Acanthaceae > Fittonia var. ,

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Fittonia verschaffeltii

A garden plant of family Acanthaceae notable for its dark green foliage; commonly called "Nerve Plant" or "Mosaic Plant".

Fittonia, a type of Acanthaceae. Currently 15 known species of Fittonia. Appear as a short plant with lush green leaves with accented veins of white to deep pink and have a short fuzz covering its stems. Small buds may appear after time where the stem splits into leaves. Flowers are small with a white to off-white color. This plant is best kept in a moist area with mild sunlight and temperatures above 55°F. Must be watered regularly. Without water for a few days, this plant is known to "faint" but is easily revived with a quick watering and resumes its healthiness. The Fittonia is known to be hard to grow so it is best bought at a nursery then cared for. The Fittonia makes a great indoor plant as well as a groundcover.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Fittonia (Elizabeth and Sarah Mary Fitton, authors of "Conversations on Botany," and friends of Robert Brown). Acanthaceae. Low-growing herbaceous perennials, valued for the brilliant variegation made by red or white venation of their large heart-shaped leaves.

Leaves prominent or rather large, cordate, beautifully veined: fls. borne singly in the axils of the overlapping bracts, which form a peduncled, terminal spike; calyx-segms. linear-bristly; corolla-tube slender; lip long, narrow, shortly lobed at the apex; stamens 2, affixed near the throat; style filiform, truncate at apex: fr. an ovate-acute 4-seeded caps., some of the seeds likely to be aborted.— Species 3, in Peru. Fittonias may be grown with philodendron, Cissus discolor, Episcia cupreata, nephthytis and selaginellas. There is often a bare, unsightly space under the benches that can be transformed into a tangle of tropical creepers by the use of such plants. A board may be placed slanting toward the walks and covered with rotten stumps, chunks of peat, and moss for the plants to run in. The open borders near the walks have hardly sufficient drainage. They may also be pegged down in mossy coverings for tubs of palms, as they can stand much watering.

Fittonias are most useful and ornamental plants for growing in a deeply shaded place in the tropical greenhouse. The beautiful markings of their foliage always attract attention; and being of easy culture, they can be used effectively for places in the foliage house in which no other plant would thrive. The best time to root fittonias is early spring, as after a year's growth they are likely to have a rather straggling appearance, and need a general overhauling. Remove the points of the shoots, with two leaves attached, and one joint to insert in the sand. These make the best cuttings, but any part of the stem will root and grow provided there is a joint on it. After cuttings are rooted, which will be in two or three weeks in a temperature of 65°, pot them singly in 2-inch pots, in equal parts of loam leaf-mold, and sand.—When they are well rooted in these small pots, choose the size of pan they are intended .to grow in, and fill it with the same proportion of loam, leaf-mold and sand, as advised for the first potting. This time however, (the loam is better to be more of fibrous and in a rather lumpy state, and the leaf-mold should not be too well rotted, but rather flaky in texture.

In filling the pan with the compost, raise it in the center above the rim. This gives the plant a mound appearance, which adds to its beauty. The small plants should be planted in the large pan about 2 inches apart; water them gently with a fine rose, so as not to disturb the earth in the receptacle. As stated above, these plants require, at all times, to be grown in a shady position, and except in the dead of winter should never be in a temperature of less than 60° by night. In severe zero weather, it will not harm them to drop as low as 55°.—Pyramid-shaped plants of some of the fittonias can be grown. Pot them along singly and tie them to a stake. When about four or five pairs of leaves are formed, pinch out the heart of the plant. This will encourage side breaks to start, which should be pinched after they have made three pairs of leaves. After the leading shoot has been pinched, two breaks will start away, and after two leaves have been well formed, one of the shoots should again have the heart taken out of it. The other must now be taken for the leader and allowed to make three or four more joints before it is stopped again by removing the heart. In this way the desired height will be attained, and at the same time plenty of side breaks will be encouraged to start. The side shoots must be carefully watched; pinch back all the strong shoots, so that a plant of symmetry may be formed. When these plants are well rooted in the pans, or have attained the desired size in pyramid form, water them occasionally with soft-coal soot, a handful to an ordinary watering-pot, which generally contains about two and a half gallons. Water twice in between with clean water.


The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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