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How to Grow and Care for Nerve Plant

Nerve plant (Fittonia spp.) is a spreading evergreen perennial with beautifully flecked, deep-green leaves typically grown as a potted houseplant. Although silvery-white veins are the most common, you can also find variations with red, pink, white, and green veins. The nerve plant is a creeper that grows slowly and is ideal for terrariums and bottle gardens. Fittonia grows to a height of 3 to 6 inches and a trailing spread of 12 to 18 inches on average. When planted as an indoor houseplant, the slow-growing plant rarely flowers, but it occasionally blooms with small reddish or yellowish-white spikes.

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Nerve plant (Fittonia spp.) is a spreading evergreen perennial with beautifully flecked, deep-green leaves typically grown as a potted houseplant. Although silvery-white veins are the most common, you can also find variations with red, pink, white, and green veins. The nerve plant is a creeper that grows slowly and is ideal for terrariums and bottle gardens. Fittonia grows to a height of 3 to 6 inches and a trailing spread of 12 to 18 inches on average. When planted as an indoor houseplant, the slow-growing plant rarely flowers, but it occasionally blooms with small reddish or yellowish-white spikes.

The nerve plant is sometimes grown as a creeping ground cover in the filtered sun in USDA hardiness zone 11. Fittonia, as lovely as it is, maybe finicky and difficult to grow as a houseplant. It demands a high level of continual humidity, similar to that found in a terrarium, and it cannot withstand stagnant circumstances. The nerve plant is also susceptible to leaf burn when exposed to strong, direct sunlight.

Plant Care for Nerves

When growing a nerve plant indoors, use a peaty commercial potting mix. The plant requires continual moisture and a high degree of ambient humidity, which can be achieved by misting it frequently or growing it in a tray filled with pebbles and water. Most gardeners find that growing these attractive but fickle plants in terrariums or covered gardens, where they may enjoy the high humidity and diffuse light they crave, is the best option. They're also great in hot baths.

Light

This houseplant prefers similar conditions as a tropical plant that grows natively in the humid, brilliant shade of tropical woods. It prefers bright, indirect sunlight, such as that provided by north-facing windows, to full sunshine. It will also thrive in the presence of fluorescent lighting.

Soil

Fittonia thrives on regular potting soil with a peat moss foundation. The soil should be able to hold some moisture while still draining well.

Water

It can be challenging to keep the plant properly wet. If the nerve plant is allowed to dry up, it will collapse. Repeated fainting periods will eventually take their toll on the plant, even though it recovers quickly if adequately hydrated. Fittonia plants that are let to sit in water for long periods produce yellowed, limp leaves.

Humidity and Temperature

The nerve plant thrives in temperatures about 70 degrees Fahrenheit but will tolerate temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low 80s Fahrenheit. These plants thrive in humid environments like those found in rainforests. Misting the plants regularly will protect them from drying out. A room humidifier may be beneficial in arid locations or during the dry winter months. Terrariums, often known as bottle gardens, are naturally damp settings that are ideal for plants.

Fertilizer

Feed plants a weak liquid fertilizer dosage made for tropical plants once a week during the growing season. An excellent recipe is a balanced 5-5-5 fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Variety and size of Nerve plant 

Nerve Plants Come in a Variety of Shapes and Sizes

  • 'Argyroneura' has silvery-white veins in its deep-green foliage.
  • 'Pearcei': the leaves are deep green with crimson veins.
  • 'Frankie' has leaves that are more light pink than green.
  • 'Fortissimo': the foliage is green with red and pink veins.
  • 'Red Star' has pink-red veined leaves that are bright and joyful.

Pruning

In the correct conditions, the nerve plant grows swiftly, and nipping off the tops of the stems will keep the growth full and bushy. Pinching off the buds will also help maintain the foliage full because the blooms are tiny and dull.

  • Nerve Plant Propagation

Nerve plants reproduce quickly from leaf-tip cuttings taken simultaneously as repotting the plant in late spring or early summer. (The best technique to propagate nerve plants is to take leaf cuttings; planting seeds isn't as successful.)

  1. Cut leaf cuttings at an angle with clean, sharp garden scissors. To get the greatest results, make sure the cutting has at least two growth nodes.
  2. Expect roots to emerge in two to three weeks after you've potted up the cutting in a peat-based soil mix.
  3. While using a rooting hormone isn't always necessary, if your growing conditions aren't optimal (too dry or too chilly), the rooting hormone may help you succeed.

Nerve Plant Potting and Repotting

Fittonia can be grown in any typical potting soil mix and any standard houseplant pot with bottom drainage holes. To avoid soil compaction and waterlogging, repot every year in the spring or early summer, using fresh potting soil.

Pests attack issue

Fungus gnats, mealy bugs, and aphids are examples of insect difficulties. Infestations should be treated as soon as possible with insecticidal oil such as neem oil, and damaged plants should be kept isolated to prevent the bugs from spreading to other indoor plants.

  • Nerve Plant Issues That Are Common

Because the Nerve Plant is very easy to care for, many of the issues that can plague other tropical houseplants also affect Fittonia:

  • Yellowing of the Leaves

When leaves become yellow, it's because they've been exposed to too much water. To avoid damp soil, use a pot with drainage holes.

  • Plant Leaves That Have Fallen Off

Cold temperatures or draughts are the most common causes of leaf drop. Try to recreate the tropical conditions in which this species thrives.

  • Leaves that are dry and shriveled

This usually means the plants are either not getting enough humidity or are getting too much direct sunlight. During the winter, when humidity levels can drop significantly, use a room humidifier. Keep your nerve plant away from direct sunlight as much as possible.

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Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci, the owner of the website GardenProducts.org, graduated from Santa Barbara City College – a famous public school in California with many diverse training professions, and she majored in horticulture.