How do you take a fantastic genus such as fittonia and make it bigger? Why, make countless cultivated Fittonia varieties, of course!
That’s precisely what the Argyroneura Group, sometimes referred to as Fittonia argyroneura (fit-TOH-neeuh ar-ji-roh-NYUR-uh) does by grouping all of the lighter-veined cultivars of Fittonia albivenis together. All the dark-veined cultivars belong to the Verschaffeltii Group.
These herbaceous perennials belong to the Acanthaceae family and expand a genus that only has two species (Fittonia albivenis and Fittonia gigantea).
With its parent plant coming from the South America rainforests of Peru, the moisture needs of these plants can make them seem more difficult to care for than they are. However, they are relatively easy to grow, and this group has even been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.
While it shares its parent plant’s common names of mosaic plant and nerve plant, the Argyroneura Group has its own names, such as:
- Fittonia verschaffeltii var. argyroneura
- Green Nerve Plant
- Silver Fittonia
- Silver Nerve
- Silver Net Plant
- Silver Threads
- White Nerve Plant
Some of the more popular cultivars in this group include:
- Fittonia’ Angel Snow’
- Fittonia ‘Frankie’
- Fittonia ‘Leather Leaf’
- Fittonia ‘Stripes Forever’
- Fittonia ‘Titanic’
- Fittonia ‘White Anne’
- Fittonia ‘White Brocade’
Silver Fittonia Care
Size & Growth
As with their mother plant, the Argyroneura Group are fairly small plants that generally reach 3″ – 12″ inches tall with a spread of 6″ to 18″ inches.
Taking up to 3 years to reach mature size, they tend to be slow growers indoors but a little faster when planted.
While not a hard rule, members of the Argyroneura Group tend to have lighter green, ovate leaves measuring 3″ to 6″ inches long and 1″ to 3″ inches across and fuzzy green stems.
The white veins of this group are always light, ranging from greenish-white to silver, yellow, and white.
Some cultivars may also be variegated.
Flowering and Fragrance
Rarely flowering indoors, these cultivars have small white to yellow flowers that grow on 3″ inch spikes which are often partially hidden.
Indirect Light & Temperature
This group can handle low light conditions but may lose a bit of its color as a result.
So instead, they’re best suited for bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent grow lamps.
Outdoors, they also enjoy dappled sunlight.
Avoid direct sunlight, as the green leaves will easily scorch, but you may choose to have a bit of morning or evening exposure safely.
While average household humidity levels are enough for Fittonias to get by, especially in a kitchen or bathroom, it’s best to augment this with a humidifier, frequent misting, or a pebble tray,
Ideally, it would help if you kept these plants in ambient humidity of 60%- 90% percent.
Due to their tropical nature, nerve plants do not grow outdoors beyond USDA hardiness zones 11 to 12, although some specific cultivars have slightly better cold tolerance.
That said, exposing your fittonia to drafts or temperatures below 50° degrees Fahrenheit can seriously harm them. So try to keep them in an area where the temperatures do not drop below 55° degrees Fahrenheit.
Ideal indoor temperatures are between 60° and 80° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
The Argyroneura Group has inherited its parent plant’s habit of dramatically fainting if denied water for a few days and can likewise bounce back immediately once tended to.
You should water when the soil has dried 25% percent deep (ex: 1.5″ inches down on a 6″ inch pot) using the soak-and-dry method.
While one or two fainting spells can be harmless (albeit panic-inducing, if you don’t know what’s happening), repeated fainting spells can lead to permanent damage.
Feeding is a simple matter of grabbing a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer and diluting it by half.
A 5-5-5 ratio is generally preferred for most Fittonia albivenis cultivars.
Feed the plant monthly throughout spring and summer, but avoid feeding in fall and winter.
Soil & Transplanting
These plants need good, loamy, but well-drained soil to thrive.
Most tropical houseplant mixes will work, as will peat-based mixes.
You may choose to amend the soil with perlite to improve drainage and aim for a pH of around 6.5.
Fittonias benefit from frequent repotting, so expect to give it a fresh pot of soil every spring.
Grooming And Maintenance
This plant can grow fairly slow but will pick up the pace in the right conditions, so you may need to prune occasionally.
Pinch off the stem tips to prevent leggy growth and encourage a more dense appearance.
Some growers also chose to pinch off the flower spikes so the plant won’t waste resources on blooming.
Grooming And Maintenance
Maintenance is pretty simple with nerve plants, usually requiring a bit of pruning here and there.
You’ll want to pinch off the tips of the stems to prevent them from getting leggy.
Unlike many plants, it will not sprout multiple stems from the pinched spot, but it will still give a fuller appearance due to the density of its foliage.
In the event, your plant produces a spike, and you aren’t interested in flowers, pinch it off so the plant continues to focus on its foliage.
How To Propagate Green Nerve Plant
Air layering is one of the more interesting ways you can propagate these plants.
However, cuttings are the more popular method, with stems being easier than leaf cuttings.
Propagate cuttings using either soil or water.
White Nerve Plant Pests or Diseases
Mealybugs and rot are the two biggest enemies of Fittonias.
Other pests include:
- Fungus gnats
- Spider mites
Leaf spot is also a common problem, and the Argyroneura Group are rather intolerant of cold and drought.
The good news is that all Fittonias are entirely non-toxic to both humans and pets.
Argyroneura Group Uses
Alternating Argyroneura Group and Verschaffeltii Group members can make a striking statement, and both make for a beautiful groundcover in tropical zones.
As with the parent species, members of this group make excellent hanging plants but will work in almost any container.
The Argyroneura Group is well-suited to terrariums, especially dwarf cultivars, for those who want the perfect environment.