How to Grow and Care for Nerve Plants (Fittonia) Indoors


Nerve Plant, Fittonia

Botanical name: Fittonia spp
Family: Acanthaceae
Common names: Nerve Plant, Net Plant, Lace leaf, Snakeskin

Description

Fittonia commonly called Nerve Plant, Net Plant, Lace leaf or Snakeskin are popular houseplants for the small spaces and are easily recognisable due to its leaves which bear a network of white, pink or red veins.

The leaves are about 2 in. long, green colored and are attached to hairy stems. Nerve Plants are small, low-growing reaching a height of about 6 in. only making them perfect for limited spaces.

Nerve Plants are easy to grow under room conditions when provided with warmth and abundant moisture around the leaves like in a bathroom, a terrarium or a bottle garden.

Varieties

Several varieties of Fittonia are available. Fittonia argyronuera has white veins and is more distinctive.

The dwarf variety Fittonia argyronuera nana, Snakeskin plant is less demanding and is easy to grow under room conditions.

The Snakeskin Plant is just as attractive as its large-leaved parent but it will flourish in dry air away from direct sunlight with ocassional misting of leaves.

The large-leaved Fittonia vershaffeltii has pink veins, hence the common name Painted Net Leaf among other varieties.

Origin

Fittonia have their origin in the tropical rainforests of South America, specifically Peru where the growing conditions are warm and humid.

Where to Buy

Beautiful Nerve Plants are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Nerve Plants (Fittonia) online from Etsy.

Nerve Plant, Fittonia

Photo Credit: Little Prince Plants

Nerve Plants Care Indoors

Nerve Plant (Fittonia) care indoors is easy when the right growing conditions are provided. Nerve Plant thrives in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Fittonia requires regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as encourage a bushy growth. It does not need frequent repotting as it grows best when pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Nerve Plant grows best in a medium to bright, indirect light. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Keep Fittonia away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Nerve Plant can also grow in low light but will grow more slowly. It is ideal for the poorly-lit spaces.

Watering

Water Nerve Plant liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil consistently moist.

Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Nerve Plant indoors is an average to more than average warmth with a minimum 150C. Keep it away from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Nerve Plant thrives in a high humidity environment. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

You can also grow Nerve Plant in a terrarium where a high humidity can be easily maintained. Read more on how to make a terrarium for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Nerve Plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may cause fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Nerve Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound. Use a rich, free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a pot one size larger than the current one.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.

Pruning

Pruning Nerve Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain plant neat and tidy. To encourage a bushy, compact growth, regularly pinch off the growing tips.

As the plant ages, it will become straggly. Cut back the stems during the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Nerve Plants (Fittonia) can be propagated during the growing season from stem cuttings or by plant division.

How to propagate Nerve Plant from stem cuttings

Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy Nerve Plant. Strip off the lower leaves of the cutting and insert the cuttings in moist rooting soil.

Place the set up in warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Once substantial growth has been observed, transfer the rooted cuttings to individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller plant, transfer several cuttings into one pot.

How to propagate Nerve Plant by spreading the stems on the soil

Spread the Nerve Plant stems on the soil surface while still attached to the mother plant.

The stems will root at every point that they come into contact with the soil.

Once rooted, sever the stems, dig them up and pot in moist soil in individual pots.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Fittonia are well established after which routine care can begin.

Nerve Plant, Fittonia

Nerve Plant Problems Indoors

Nerve Plant (Fittonia) problems indoors are caused by improper care. These problems include shrivelled leaves, leaf drop, plant death, leggy growth, wilting, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown, shrivelled leaves

The cause of brown and shrivelled leaves in Nerve Plant is too dry air as it requires a humid environment to thrive.

To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fittonia can also be grown in a terrarium where a high humidity can be easily maintained. Read more on how to make a terrarium for houseplants.

Dropping (losing) leaves

The cause of Nerve Plant dropping (losing) its leaves is too cold temperatures due to cold draughts.

Maintain a more than average temperature and protect the plant from cold draughts. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Plant dying

Sudden death of Nerve Plant is an indication of root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil or too cold temperatures.

Maintain an average warmth for Nerve Plant and protect it from cold draughts. Also, avoid soggy soil by ensuring proper drainage of both the soil and the pot.

Leggy growth

Straggly growth is normal in Nerve Plant. As the plant ages, it becomes leggy. Cut back the stems during the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Yellowing and wilting leaves

Nerve Plant yellowing and wilting leaves are caused by soggy soil. Ensure that the pot has adequate drainage and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Diseases

The common diseases in Nerve Plants are Leaf Spot disease and Leaf Viral Diseases. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases.

Pests

The common pests in Nerve Plants are Aphids, Mealy Bugs and Fungus Gnats. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is Nerve Plant toxic?

Nerve Plants (Fittonia) are non-toxic to humans and pets. Nerve Plants are safe to grow indoors.

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