If you are looking for the best hanging basket houseplants then nerve plant is the best choice. Not only because it is a beautiful plant. In fact, nerve plant care is easy for even beginner gardeners. It is also called the Fittonia plant.
The nerve is a tropical plant and you have to give it the same conditions to grow at your home. Humidity is the main thing that nerve plants need at a balanced level. The good news is this plant tolerates low humidity levels.
In our homes, we do not have an environment like rain forests. And you don’t need to make it like that. Because the normal humidity that we have in our homes is perfect for growing tropical plants.
You only need to do is make some arrangements to increase humidity in the winter season. The heating systems of our homes make the internal air dry and reduces the air moisture content.
In this post, you’ll know how to grow and care for nerve plants?
About the Nerve plant
The plant is native to South American rain forests. There it lives in a high humid environment. Fittonia albivenis is its botanical name. The plant has white and red-pinkish vines on the leaves. Therefore, it is divided into two groups.
Fittonia plants with white or silver vines belong to the Argyroneura Group. Red or pink vined plants come in the Verschaffeltii Group of plants.
Nerve plants are evergreen perennial plants. They stay green for 365 days of the year. White or silver vine plants are more common than red or pink vines.
Its dark green color leaves with a vines-like structure make it extra ordinary houseplant.
It grows 3 to 6 inches tall depending on the nerve plant care routine. In Some hardiness zones, it grows as creeping ground cover because it can easily cover the ground with its widespread of 10 to 16 inches. These plants rarely bloom when grown as indoor houseplants in hanging baskets.
|Common names||Nerve Plant, Mosaic Plant, Painted net leaf|
|Height||3 to 6 inches|
|Spread||10 to 16 inches|
|Temperature||15 to 26 Degrees C|
|Humidity||Above 50 %|
|Fertilization||Once in 2 months|
|Pests & Diseases||Not prone to pests and common diseases|
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Growing Nerve plant (Fittonia plant)
To grow and care for nerve plants you need to understand their natural growing environment. In the rain forests of Peru and Southern America, it grows in low light conditions. This means the light you have in your home is sufficient to grow it.
Due to the high rainfall, these forests have high humidity in the air. The plant needs the same amount of air moisture to grow. But the hybrid varieties that we see in garden stores grow perfectly in low humidity.
Below are the proven nerve plant care steps. Follow these to grow a perfectly healthy plant inside or outside your house.
Because it grows as ground cover in wild. This means it does not like to thrive in full sun. Put the nerve plant container on the windowsill for 2 hours in the morning time. Remember that bright direct sun rays damage the plant leaves. But rising Sun rays are good for plant health.
The best part of this plant is it gets a sufficient amount of light from the normal fluorescent house lights. You don’t need to buy any special grow light for only this plant.
This makes Fittonia plants the ideal office desk plant. You can also grow it without any issue in any part of the house.
If you can save the plant from direct sun rays then you can grow it even outdoors. But for plant safety, it is best to grow it in hanging baskets and containers.
Normally the plant needs 15 to 27 degrees C temperature to grow. But as a houseplant, it does not need any specific temperature. The environment inside our homes is ideal to grow nerve plants. The only thing that you need to remember is that it needs a warm environment. So put the plant in such a place where it gets warm.
Do not put it in front of the hot air vents. The warmth needs to be produced by the grow light or ceiling light.
Even in hot days of summer place it away for the direct cool air of air conditioners. If you protect your plants from the sudden temperature fluctuations.
They will grow like crazy and develop bright vines on the dark green leaves.
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Now, this is the main need of tropical houseplants. No doubt you cannot make the rainforest conditions in your home. But you can try to keep the humidity levels up for your plants. Fittonia plants live in high humid weather.
To copy that you need to mist the water on the plant leaves. This will increase the humidity around the plant. By doing so plants feel that they are in their native place. Because they have water droplets on their leaves naturally.
To increase the humidity in hot weather, turn ON your humidifier. Or put the plant on the water-filled pebble tray.
Move it away from the sunny windows in the summer months. Because hot sunrays keep the soil warm and water gets evaporated. Frequent watering may require keeping the plant alive in an extremely hot environment.
The type and quality of soil directly impact the growth and life span of a plant. For nerve plant care you need soil that can hold moisture without being soggy. It is good if you use organic material-rich soil in your plant pots. Such soil has many nutrients that form a continuous chain of nutrients.
Do not use normal garden soil for nerve plant care and growth. If you do not like to buy soil from the market. You can make the best potting soil for nerve plants at home.
Take the normal garden soil and add few parts of perlite and sand to it. Both these materials improve the draining power of growing material.
Such soil also saves plant roots from root fungus. No doubt root fungus is a result of excess water. But when we have good darning soil. Then it can save our plants from accidental excess water by draining it.
Also, the plant pot has to have at least one draining hole at the bottom.
Watering Nerve Plants
Tropical plants need more water than normal plants. They need full moisture around their roots for an entire year. Constantly keeping the root area moist is not possible. Because we all have busy lives. To make a good balance between the water and plant roots. Always water the plant when the upper 1 inch of soil gets dry.
If you see yellow leaves this means you are giving excess water to your plants. Or the soil you use to grow it is waterlogged. Cut the water for few days and if possible, change the soil. Or let the soil become dry before the next watering session.
Fertilizing Nerve Plant
Fertilization is important for every plant regardless of its structure. If the soil you use is rich in organic matter. Then you don’t need to fertilize it. Otherwise, fertilize it once every 2 months to full fill its nutrient needs.
Any branded liquid nutrient bottle is best for the plant. Use the half-strength then the recommended on the bottle.
Granular fertilizers are not good for short plants. They are good for trees, shrubs, or plants that live under direct Sunlight.
Excess nutrients result in leaf burn and plants will die in few days. Also, water your plants between fertilization supplication. This helps them to flush out the excess nutrients through the draining hole.
Pruning is necessary to promote the new healthy growth of plants. It helps to maintain the plant and keep it in good shape.
If you are growing it in a container then you need to regularly pinch the growing stems. To keep it in the desired shape.
Whenever you feel the plant has some dead or damaged leaves, use shears and remove them. And when you want more leaves per stem, trim it.
The early days of the spring season are the best time to multiply these plants by propagation method. You can grow it from seeds but that takes time to grow it. Also, the germination success rate of seeds is under 60%.
Whereas you can grow any type of plant from cuttings. Take cuttings of nerve plants and plant them in the new potting soil. Give some water and put it under the fluorescent light. the cuttings will grow healthy in few days.
In the initial stage, cuttings show wilting signs. But then they establish themselves once they develop roots.
Common pests & diseases
Good nerve plant care keeps it safe and prevents all pests and diseases. Fittonia plants generally do not get affected by any pest or disease. Tropical forest plants are normally hard and resistant to many problems.
But to play safe use neem oil on the plants. Just spray it on all small or adult plants. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Neem oil saves your plant from various fungus diseases.