How to Take Care of a Nerve Plant

how to take care of a nerve plant

Nerve plants are beautiful spreading perennials with dark green leaves and pink veins. Originating in South America’s tropical rainforests, this tropical houseplant can be a little tricky to take care of for any plant owner. Here is everything you need to know about Nerve plant care!


Scientific Name

The scientific name for a nerve plant is fittonia albivenis.


Common Names

  • Nerve plant
  • Mosaic plant
  • Silver fittonia


Different Types

different types of nerve plants

These are the best types of fittonia albivenis plants to grow indoors:


  • Leather leaf—leathery, deep green leaves with green or white netted patterns
  • Daisy—Large, muted green leaves with yellow or white veins
  • Fortissimo—Large curly green leaves at the edges, with prominent pink or red veins
  • Titanic—A smaller variety with long green leaves and crisscrossing white veins
  • Frankie—Different from the others, this variety has pink leaves with dark green margins and lighter pink or white veins


What Soil Works Best for a Nerve Plant?

Your nerve plant requires well-draining but moist soil that is slightly acidic (6.5 pH level). A good option will be a peat-based potting mix. You will want to fertilize your fittonia plant once a month during the spring and summer. Use a generic houseplant fertilizer and reduce it to half of the recommended strength.


During the fall and winter, you will not need to fertilize because the growth of your nerve plant will naturally slow.


How Much Sun Does a Nerve Plant Need?

how much sun does a nerve plant need

This tropical plant is native to growing in bright light under the shade of tropical rainforests. Therefore, the nerve plant likes similar conditions as a houseplant. Find a spot in your home where your nerve plant can sit in bright but indirect light, like a north-facing window. You can also use fluorescent lights to supplement bright light in your home.


Direct sun will cause your nerve plant’s leaves to burn and ultimately fall off, so be careful not to place your plant on a windowsill that receives direct sunlight.


The nerve plant will also react to low light—too little light will cause the plant’s growth to slow and lose its vibrant colors.


What Temperature Works Best for a Nerve Plant?

The best temperature for a nerve plant is between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Your average home room temperature should do fine, but make sure the nerve plant is not near anywhere that has a cold draft. Being in a cold environment will cause permanent damage to your nerve plant.


Do Nerve Plants Enjoy Humidity?

Like their native tropical rainforests, nerve plants prefer their homes to have humid conditions to thrive. If your bathroom gets enough indirect sunlight, this could be a good spot or a kitchen windowsill. You could also consider growing your nerve plant in a terrarium.


One way to tell that your nerve plant is not getting enough humidity is if the tips of the leaves turn crispy. Keep the moisture up by regularly misting your nerve plant or keeping the pot above a pebble tray with water.


You may also use a humidifier to keep your home or the room that your nerve plant is in at a specific humidity level.


How Often Should You Water a Nerve Plant?

how often should you water a nerve plant

Fittonias like to be well moist but not overwatered. It is important that the pot has a drainage hole and dump out any excess water from the plant’s tray. Drainage holes will avoid root rot due to the excess water that might sit at the bottom of a pot.


The fittonia will let you know that it is thirsty by the leaves wilting. However, you don’t want to make a habit of waiting for this sign. It is best not to let your nerve plant’s soil completely dry out. Check the ground with your index finger to see if your nerve plant requires watering.


What Size do Nerve Plants Grow to Typically?

Nerve plants can grow to heights of three to six inches and have vines spreading from 12 to 18 inches long.


Most Common Bugs

The most common infestations include fungus gnats, mealybugs, and aphids. It is essential to catch these bugs early on and treat them with neem oil. Rub the leaves with the oil to remove the pests.


If you notice an infestation on your nerve plant, keep it away from other indoor plants to avoid spreading bugs.


Most Common Problems

The most common problems for nerve plants aside from pests are yellowing leaves, leaf drops, and dried-up leaves.


Yellowing leaves are often from overwatering your nerve plant. If you notice this happening, check that the drainage hole in the pot is not blocked. The nerve plant likes to remain moist but not soggy.


Leaf drop occurs when the plant is not in the right conditions to survive—usually, this is a humidity issue. The dried-up, shriveled leaves can indicate that the nerve plant is not getting enough humidity or too much direct sunlight. Place your houseplant where it receives indirect light, and use a humidifier in the winter months when the air tends to be drier.


Can You Propagate a Nerve Plant?

Yes, you can propagate a nerve plant! Take clean gardening shears and cut a stem or leaf cutting at an angle to do this. Try to notice leaf nodes on the stem cutting to obtain the best results.


Place the cutting in water or potting mix in a bright, warm place. It could take up to eight weeks for you to see new growth. If you want to speed up the process, you can dip your stem or leaf cuttings into a rooting powder.


Can You Repot a Nerve Plant?

can you repot a nerve plant

You should repot your nerve plant annually, either in spring or early summer. Use a pot with a drainage hole and use fresh potting soil when repotting.


Why is my Nerve Plant Dropping Leaves?

Leaf drop is pretty standard in nerve plants when there is something wrong with their environment. Usually, leaf drop results from a lack of humidity or a too-dry environment. Check that your nerve plant is getting enough humidity by regularly misting and keeping it away from any cold drafts.


Are Coffee Grounds Good for a Nerve Plant?

are coffee grounds good for a nerve plant

Nerve plants prefer slightly acidic soil, with a pH level of 6.5. If you want to add some coffee grounds to this plant, you should use a soil testing kit to ensure you don’t go overboard with the acidic level.


Conclusion: How to Take Care of a Nerve Plant

In summary, while the nerve plant requires a strict high humidity level, it is doable to take care of if you follow the above nerve plant care. The nerve plant will be an excellent houseplant addition to your home!


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