The taprootland is a small tropical evergreen plant from South America. It has short fleshy stems of true light color and numerous oval leaves, very decorative, characterized by numerous veins of contrasting color to the base color of the leaf, F. argyroneura has dark green leaves and silvery white veins, F. verschaffeltii has olive green leaves and scarlet red or pink veins. In spring it produces small flowers with a minimum ornamental character.
The taproot verschaffeltii prefers shady or semi-shaded positions, in summer it can be taken outside, at the base of a tree or a bush; in winter it is to be admitted indoors, away from heat sources and sheltered from possible draughts, in an averagely bright place.
In summer, the ideal temperature for this plant is around 25 °C, while in winter it does not like temperatures below 18 °C.
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The Fittonia verschaffeltii, in summer, needs abundant watering, in winter they can be reduced, however avoiding to let the soil dry too much between one watering and the other; it is advisable to vaporize the plant often with distilled water, to increase the ambient humidity, throughout the year. It is however essential to check that no water stagnation forms at the base of the plant and that the soil allows proper drainage, to avoid the onset of dangerous root rot.
In spring and summer provide fertilizer for green plants every 15-20 days with the water of the watering.
It does not need any particular mould, provided it is soft and well drained, it is possible to utilize some universal balanced mould mixed with a small quantity of river sand. By choosing the pot for the taproot It should be remembered that this plant tends to grow in width much more than in height, so it is appropriate to bury it in a very large container, so we will choose bowls and not deep pots.
The repotting should be done in spring when you notice that the plant has now occupied the entire space of the pot; for a good substrate you can use rich soil mixed with peat.
The lateral stems of the taproots tend to root themselves; in spring and summer they can detach from the mother plant and bury in single containers, with a good rich and draining soil. It is also possible to proceed with the technique of cuttings, to be placed in a mixture of peat and sand and in containers to be placed in a place that has a constant temperature around 20 ° C.
When the shoots have acquired the necessary strength, they can be transplanted in small groups into the final container.
Phanthonia – Phanthonia verschaffeltii: Parasites and diseases
This plant, with its tender and fleshy leaves, is often attacked by aphids and red spiders, which can cause considerable damage; to eliminate the latter parasites, it may be sufficient to raise the level of environmental humidity, while for aphids there are special insecticide products on the market, or, it is also possible to prepare macerated nettle-based products to be sprayed on the affected plants.