Fittonia Forest Flame is a relatively new strain of an already established vivarium plant that has recently been introduced to the hobby. It has an incredible wow factor which comes from the vibrant colours it displays on its leaves. These range from flame red (hence the name) to a shocking pink. Your eyes will not miss this plant if it is in a vivarium. The fittonia forest flame is an ideal plant for instant impact as it will have very vivid colours when you buy it.
This new cultivar was discovered in Haaren, in The Netherlands and is a naturally occurring “whole plant” mutation of Fittonia verschaffeltii ‘Josan’ which is very similar looking but with a more muted green and pink coloured foliage. Terminal cuttings were taken of the first fittonia forest flame plant and successful cultivation produced uniform and stable plants which were then introduced into the hobby.
Planting and Growth
Fittonia forest flame is a relatively easy plant to keep. The plant does not like direct sunlight so a vivarium environment is perfect for them. Plant fittonia forest flame directly into well drained loose substrate that is nutrient rich. Fittonia forest flame grows extensively in a creeping manner and can spread up to 40cm in size with an eventual height of about 20cm. This plant will need regular watering but do not “drown” it!
Fittonia forest flame is available as a small potted plant ready for use in a vivarium. The plant comes set in rockwool, to get the best from this beautiful plant simply re-pot into a container of your choice with a suitable substrate and away you go. Should look spectacular in a planted vivarium and provide a good contrast against rocks and wood.
We’re calling it Fittonia Combo – it’s actually two separate plants called Fittonia White and Red and they compliment each other beautifully as you can see. Now these plants are not suitable for planted aquariums, and they are specifically for use with Vivariums like those which house dart frogs or other similar creatures. These types of environments are humid and warm and as a result there are a lot of plants that actually suitable that environment but Fittonia in particular to very well.
Their bright colours always attract the eye and if you ever decided to plant multiple Fittonia Reds together, the effect is quite wonderful. But for this piece we’ve combined the two Fittonia’s together and grown them on mopani for an extra special effect.
What conditions do they need?
Surprisingly not tricky conditions at all. We’ve had them under T5 lighting in a moist environment and they’ve done well. According to most information though they prefer lower lighting, but as you can see we’ve not had any problems. They’re thriving in fact so it’s always important to see if a plant grows another way.
Where can I place it?
We recommend that you place it at the front of your viv – or at least near it so that you get the full benefit of the colours. As it grows and matures, you can move the piece towards the middle. I personally don’t recommend that you get these plants too wet as there is always a risk that it could rot.
So what is a Terrarium plant and who can use them?
Well to know what a terrarium plant we first must look at a terrarium. A terrarium is is effectively is miniature ecosystem, generally in a sealed glass container. A sealed container can create a small scale water cycle. This will happen because water from the soil and plants will evaporate and then condense on the glass, effectively ‘raining’ back onto the plants and preventing them from drying out. Some terrariums are open to the atmosphere rather than being sealed.
So now you know what a terrarium is, whats so special about terrarium plants?
Firstly Terrarium plants, unlike aquatic plants do not need to be kept in water. These plants thrive in tropic conditions, high heat, high humidity and minimal water. Too much water and they will melt but without enough the will dry out and wilt. Examples of Terrarium plants can be found here
However there are some terrarium plants that have adapted to dry environments. These plants are perfect for open top terrariums. They are excellent for removing any excess moisture from the air in the terrarium.
Closed terrariums require a special soil mix to ensure good growth and to reduce the risk of microbial damage.