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Fittonia and Peperomia ( Sorry, long post ! )

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by Canadian CrabGrass on January 14, 2004 04:26 PM
A few weeks ago I was with my husband at one of those large "home depot" type stores. This one happened to have a really nice plant section, and before my poor husband knew what was happening I was at the cash line, waiting to pay for 2 new plants.

Once home I paged through one of my plant books ( no tags on the pots ! ) and discovered that I had acquired a Fittonia Verschaffeltii Argyroneura Nana ( Mosaic or nerve plant ) and a Peperomia Griseoargentea ( Ivy or silverleaf peperomia )

According to my books those 2 are rather challenging to grow, demanding high humidity and very careful watering, and since then I've been terrified of killing them.Not that I'd be out of a big amount of money - each of them was $2.00CDN, which is about .00032US - but I just hate the thought of willfully killing a living thing. The problem is that the more information I find on those plants, the more confused I get since each new piece of information seems to contradict the other.

Right now they are with my other plants ( to help transpiration ) under fluorescent lights that are on 12 hours a day. The peperomia has not needed water yet ( there was a stern warning about overwatering in my book ) but I watered the fittonia a few days ago, and since they're supposedly prone to stem rot I "bottom-watered" it - set the pot in a saucer of water until it was done drinking. Humidity is always a problem anywhere in winter, so what I did is set both pots in small trays filled with spaghnum ( sp? ) moss that is constantly kept wet ( The pots are of course raised above the water ) So far they seem to be doing well ( AKA they're not dead ! ) and I really want to keep it that way.

So to anyone with experience with those 2 plants, how am I doing so far and what else could I do to keep my new babies healthy ?
by Will Creed on January 15, 2004 02:30 AM
You are definitely on the right track for both plants. The fluorescent lighting is good for both.

The Fittonia, especially requires high humidity, which you seem to be providing. It is subject to stem rot only when soil is added to the surface of the rootball and/or the soil is damp and cool. If you keep temps above 72 degrees, stem rot should not be a problem. In fact, Fittonia stems that come in contact with warm, moist soil will establish roots.

Be sure to let the top inch of the Peperomia soil dry before watering. It does not require high humidity.

The books often do contradict one another, particularly if you don't know how to interpret them. If you ahve any particular examples that have perplexed you, perhaps I can help sort them out.
by Canadian CrabGrass on January 15, 2004 04:06 AM
Hi Will,

Thanks a million for your answer, there's nothing better than advice from an expert !

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