You’ve got a lot of nerve being a gardener or collector of plants, or perhaps you just like to house the tropical Nerve Plant itself! Tropical plants are usually a must for those wanting to add a sense of appeal to their home. Fittonia verschaffeltii, or the Nerve Plant, is no exception.
Being a creeping evergreen, this perennial plant grows to be a lush green hue with ovate leaves that are seven to ten centimeters in length. The leaves feature a white to pink veining pattern with fuzz covering the length of the stems. Another name for this plant is the Mosaic Plant or the Painted Net Leaf, due to the coloration of veins that show all along the leaves.
Most who own the Nerve Plant tend to keep them in a pot, terrarium, or a bottled garden. Just as with any plant, it is best to learn about certain conditions for a happier and healthier plant. Read on to equip yourself with the knowledge of owning a Fittonia verschaffeltii to avoid being faced with droopy leaves later down the road.
FITTONIA VERSCHAFFELTII PLANT CARE SHEET
Keeping your new houseplant happy is not the easiest feat, but once you know the daily requirements you’ll have no problem. The following sections break down what will keep a Nerve Plant looking it’s best!
Soil: The Nerve Plant dwells naturally in the rainforests of Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and the northernmost regions of Brazil. Keeping this in mind, you might assume that they prefer wetter soil. This is mostly true. They do like the soil to be moist, but not flooded. Consider using a peat-based potting mix for the best results in terms of soil.
Light: If you were to walk around a rainforest, would you see much light? The answer is, not really. Due to the expansive canopy cover, the Nerve Plant does not like it when placed in areas of direct sunlight. Instead, choose a room that receives lots of indirect sunlight. If you’re worried about too much sun getting in, you can use a translucent curtain or drape to block out the worst of the light.
Watering: Just as with soil requirements, water should be given regularly yet not overdone. These plants require a moderate amount of water with plenty of time for the soil to dry out. It may be difficult at first, but find a balance where the soil is moist and slightly damp.
Temperature: The natural habitat of a Fittonia verschaffeltii is relatively warm. This may lead you to believe that the Nerve Plant requires a hot climate inside the house. Luckily, you don’t have to place this plant in a sauna. They prefer an environment that is between 16 and 26 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that the Nerve Plant can survive a little heat, but it does not do well when placed in a room that becomes too cold. Keep a watchful eye and make sure that the temperature does not drop below 16 degrees Celsius.
Humidity: Native to South America, namely Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia, this plant is used to the warm tropical climates. It comes as no surprise that they like the humidity levels to be rather high. Misting your plant daily is an easy way to make sure that they stay happy. You can also choose to place your Nerve plant on a pebble dray that has been filled with water. The idea is that the water on the tray will evaporate and increase the humidity.
Fertilizer: Some flora do not need the addition of fertilizer, but not the Nerve Plant. The minimum requirement for these individuals is to add fertilizer once a week, or once every other week if you’re unsure. An important note is that the roots can become burned if you use too strong a solution. To prevent this from happening, first, dilute the fertilizer.
Propagation: Being a creeping evergreen, owners of Fittonia verschaffeltii do well when implementing regular propagation. Most plant enthusiasts have relayed that the Nerve Plant can be propagated through the stem and leaf cuttings. You may also want to regularly prune these individuals as the stems can become leggy.
Growth: Fittonia verschaffeltii grows to about 3 to 6 inches in height. They also have a trailing spread that grows between 12 and 18 inches in length. With all of the variables met, the Nerve Plant grows at a relatively rapid rate, which is why pruning is necessary, every once in a while.
Potting: There are a variety of plants that need to be re-potted every few months in order to have the necessary room to grow. If you own a Nerve Plant, you may notice that the root system for these individuals is not all that expansive. Instead, they creep from the top. Due to this, the Fittonia verschaffeltii does not require constant re-potting. Simply go through this process once or twice a year to refresh the soil mix.
TAKING THE NERVE OUT OF WATERING YOUR FITTONIA PLANT
One of the trickiest parts of owning a plant is determining how much water to give them. Too much and the roots won’t be able to breathe. Give them too little, and you’ll see the leaves turn brown and wilt.
We’ve saved you the grief of finding out the hard way with a detailed guide on watering your Fittonia verschaffeltii.
WHEN TO WATER, WHAT TO DO, AND HOW MUCH FOR YOUR NERVE PLANT
As mentioned earlier, the goal of watering your Nerve Plant is to keep the soil moist without overwatering. The roots of this plant need moderate to constant moisture. The best way to tell that your Fittonia verschaffeltii needs water is to check the top of the soil. If you notice that the top inch of soil is dry, give it a sufficient amount of water. Also, be sure to let it drain completely to avoid root rot later down the road.
USEFUL TIPS FOR WATERING YOUR NERVE PLANT
One thing you may not think of when watering your Nerve Plant is, “how warm or cold should the water be?” It may sound obvious, but you should always try to water your Nerve Plant with room temperature water. If the water is too hot or too cold, the plant will go into shock and not grow at its full potential.
If watering your Fittonia seems to be challenging, you can always choose to selectively give the plant water while misting. Misting is a great option for adding both moisture and humidity. And although it can help aid with watering needs, it should not be a replacement.
Another useful tip for keeping your Nerve Plant happy and saturated is to water in the morning. This helps it to dry out for the remainder of the day. These plants like to have a good amount of water, but they do not like it when their foliage stays wet for long stretches of time. Choosing to water in the morning rather than in the darker hours of the day will let any excess moisture evaporate.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU FORGET TO WATER YOUR NERVE PLANT?
Watering your plants may be a new routine to add to the many chores that you need to do around the house. We understand that you may forget from time to time. Fortunately, your Nerve Plant is quite forgiving. These plants, when deprived of water for a few days will do what’s called “fainting”. This is where the leaves begin to droop and their vibrant appeal.
If your plant starts to “faint”, you can nurse it back to health with a quick watering session. Although you may be tempted, try not to overwater your Fittonia. Let it completely dry out as you would if it had not “passed out”, and simply keep an eye on it.
HOW TO PRUNE YOUR FITTONIA VERSCHAFFELTII CORRECTLY
If you’re new to plants, picking up the scissors isn’t natural. With a Fittonia plant, you don’t even necessarily need to use a pair of garden scissors. Fingers will suffice when in a pinch.
Pruning your plants, though seemingly small in retrospect to everything else, is pivotal in keeping foliage vibrant. The number one reason why we prune our houseplants is to increase the rate of healthy growth. Dead and dying branches, leaves, and stubs get in the way of new growth. It also lessens the likelihood of pest and animal infestation as dying foliage is appealing to nearby critters.
Now how exactly do you go about pruning your Nerve Plant without ruining those beautiful leaves?
HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO PRUNE YOUR NERVE PLANT
The most noticeable indicator that your Fittonia verschaffeltii may need some touch-ups, or rather tear downs, is in the stems. These plants are known for their creeping foliage that can quickly become “leggy”.
HOW TO PRUNE YOUR NERVE PLANT?
Once you’ve identified that your Fittonia’s foliage is becoming leggy, you can proceed with the pruning process. This can be done with small garden scissors, or even with your bare hands.
Step 1: Decide on a time that is best to prune your plant, preferably at the beginning of the growing season.
Step 2: Begin by looking at the top end of your FIttonia plant.
Step 3: Familiarize yourself with where the secondary branches are located, and where they separate off from the main branch.
Step 4: Take the small branch in your hand and make a cut along the lateral branch or bud, being certain that the cut is both sharp and clean. This will be done at the underside of the branch, more than two millimeters from the main branch.
Step 5: Tidy up any growing stems that seem to be wilting by pinching off the ends with your fingers. You may also choose to snip the buds, as the flowers of Nerve Plants are relatively insignificant and boring.
Pruning your Nerve Plant is a critical step in maintaining healthy foliage. In general, you should keep an eye on any creeping stems that need to be cut back.
PROPAGATING YOUR NERVE PLANT THE EASY WAY
The easiest way to go about propagating your Fittonia is by using stem cuttings. This is where a piece of a plant is cut off and used to create another individual. You can also choose to propagate these plants through leaf cuttings. Both of these methods will be explained in the steps below for you to choose which you prefer.
Stem Cutting Propagation
Step 1: Identify the stem that you want to propagate, namely one that is healthy and has four or five leaves attached.
Step 2: Take houseplant soil and divvy it out into two plastic cups. Plastic cups are easier to see how the roots are developing.
Step 3: Cleanly cut the stems at the base and place these sections into the cup, approximately an inch down into the soil.
Step 4: Pack additional soil around the base of the stem section that you just placed into the plastic cup.
Step 5: Water the new cuttings until they are moist, not soggy and then put them into a sealable plastic bag. Continue by spraying them with water to add additional moisture.
Step 6: To give the plants enough room to grow, blow some air into the bag so that it will expand and close them off with the seal.
Step 7: Place these cuttings into an area that has indirect sunlight and spray them with more water every couple of days.
Leaf Cutting Propagation
Step 1: Choose to make leaf-tip cuttings in late spring or early summer, around the same time that you could repot your Fittonia.
Step 2: Find a healthy leaf that contains at least two nodes that are growing, making a clean cut below the nodes.
Step 3: Put the newly made leaf cut into a pot with a peat-based soil mix.
Step 4: Place this cutting into a spot with indirect sunlight and water until moist, checking back every few weeks to see if the roots have sprouted.
Propagating your plant is a great way to improve your collection, without spending a lot of money!
5 ALARMING INDICATORS THAT YOUR NERVE PLANT IS ASKING FOR HELP
As you are now aware of, keeping your Fittonia verschaffeltii happy all depends on how well you provide the daily requirements. The truth is that the Nerve Plant is not the easiest tropical flora to take care of.
You may wonder if you’re providing your Nerve Plant with the necessary light, water, temperature, and humidity. Truthfully, the easiest way to tell if you’re adequately caring for your Fittonia is to look at the plant itself for cues.
The following section is devoted to the problems you may see if your plant is suffering from a lack, or overabundance, of a certain resource. We have also provided a remedy for the cause so that the problem can be solved before too much damage is dealt.
PROBLEM: DROOPING LEAVES
Cause: If the leaves seem to droop down, then usually it is a sign that your plant is in a room that is too cold. Even if there is a temporary cold draft, then you can see the same problem.
Remedy: One simple solution is to choose an area of the house that is not exposed to any cold drafts. Also place them where there is plenty of indirect sunlight, with a temperature between 16 and 26 degrees Celsius.
PROBLEM: LEAVES SHIFTING TO BROWN AND WHITHERING EDGES
Cause: One or two issues can cause this problem. Either the air is too dry or the soil is not wet enough.
Remedy: The first step you should take when seeing browning and withering of the leaves is to check the soil for dampness. If it is too dry, then add water and let it dry out. After implementing a new watering schedule, you may also want to check the humidity level. If it is less than 50 percent humidity, add a room humidifier and spray down the leaves.
PROBLEM: YELLOWING LEAVES
Cause: The yellowing of leaves is usually a clear sign that you are overwatering your plant.
Remedy: The first thing that you should do in this scenario is to check the bottom of your pot. Make sure that there are properly functioning drainage holes. Another useful solution is to use a soil mix that drains sufficiently. Other than that, just be more frugal with your watering and your plant should bounce back!
FIVE TRICKS TO LET YOUR NERVE PLANT THRIVE
We know that we’ve gone over a lot of information in this guide. To make it easier, read the following tips and tricks that highlight the most essential steps in order to have a happy tropical dweller inside your home.
1. Place your Fittonia in a pot that has well-draining soil and ample drainage holes so that it can get rid of excess moisture without losing too much water.
2. Keep your Nerve Plant in a room with an abundance of indirect sunlight, making sure that there are no cold drafts present.
3. Keep the humidity high! Limit the amount of dry air with plenty of misting and additional accessories such as a room humidifier. Or you can place your Fittonia in a terrarium for a more natural humid living place.
4. Avoid overwatering your Nerve Plant, letting it dry out between watering sessions.
5. Prune your tropical plant as you see fit to ensure that it doesn’t become too crowded! And remember, you can use either bare hands or small garden scissors, depending on what you feel comfortable with.
How big does a Nerve Plant get?
The Nerve Plant isn’t the largest Fittonia species out there, but it can spread out. These plants typically grow to a height of around 3 to 6 inches and can spread out anywhere from 12 to 18 inches.
Why is it called Nerve Plant?
If you were to look at a Fittonia verschaffeltii, the first attribute that you would notice would probably be the vein patterns that develop on the leaves. These veins can range from white to bright pink, making them a striking addition to the home.
Is the Nerve Plant a perennial?
The Nerve Plant is indeed a perennial, meaning that it continues to grow even after the spring and summer months.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.