Nerve Plant (Fittonia verschaffeltii)
Nerve plant, commonly called fittonia, are a perfect medium care plant. They are very communicative and tell you exactly what they need! They require lots of moisture both in the air and for their soil.
Nerve plant, Silver net leaf, Fittona
Columbia and Peru
Want to find the perfect houseplant for you and your home?
Medium to high indirect SUNLIGHT.
Indirect sunlight is nonnegotiable. Under direct sunlight the nerve plants will easily scorch and burn.
Indirect sunlight simply means that the sunlight is filtered in some way. Whether through a shear curtain or just being pulled further away from where direct sunlight can be found. Most homes are comprised primarily of indirect sunlight. I have found they do best in a space that is constantly bright with no direct sun for the most amount of hours possible, usually at least 5-7.
A bright fluorescent light is also helpful when you have lower amounts of natural light available.
Very high: Water Roughly twice a week.
Typically, I never suggest sticking to a rigid watering schedule, however nerve plants are (kind of) the exception. There are so many factors in determining the proper watering requirements and every home is different. Nerve plants, though they require higher levels of moisture, bounce back very quickly when left neglected for too long. If your nerve plant dries out fully the entire plant will collapse or look as it it’s wilted. Simply soak the soil with water until it’s pouring out the bottom and it’ll perk back up within a few hours!
Root rot is your enemy here and can cripple your nerve plant fast! Be certain it is planted in a pot with a drainage hole. Add water when the top 1/2 - 1 inch is dry and water deeply. I still heavily recommend that you touch the soil before hand to make certain you are not overwatering and be sure that there is no water sitting around the base of the pot on in the tray underneath.
Our homes typically range between 30% and 40% humidity and though fittonas will adapt to lower humidity levels it is ideal to increase the humidity to at least 60%, 70% is ideal. Adding humidity is not an exchange for watering appropriately, but an addition. Keep a careful eye on the balance, when the humidity is higher it is likely the soil will dry out a bit slower, but not nearly as slow as you might think. This is why feeling the soil is so important, it can trick you into thinking you don’t need to water when in reality you just might!
The best way to increase humidity is by either adding a humidifier near by or placing it in a terrarium, any glass enclosure will do. You can also group it together with other houseplants and this will create a green house effect and will help increase the humidity. Adding them to your bathroom will also help! However I never suggest taking them in and out of your bathroom. This back and forth can stress out your plant.
Soil + Pot
CONTAINER POTTING MIX IN A glazed ceramic or plastic POT.
Typically I recommend a clay or terra-cotta pot, again nerve plants are an exception. Planting your fittona in a glazed ceramic pot or plastic pot will help to retain that beloved moisture for longer! No matter what pot you choose a drainage hole is crucial to prevent root rot and soggy soil.
I have always used a simple, all-purpose potting soil mix and found great success with it.
Liquid concentrate at half strength
Fittonas are fast growers and would appreciate added nutrients from fertilizer. I always suggest using an all purpose, liquid concentrate formulated for potted houseplants. Use at 1/4 strength every other time you water during the spring and summer. Stop use all together in fall and winter.
Pests + Common Problems
YELLOWING fronds or brown tips
Too much water or poor drainage.
Slow or No Growth
During colder months this is to be expected as there is less sun to photosynthesize.
If this is not the case be certain it is getting adequate sunlight and water.
White cottony masses
These are mealy bugs. Mealy bugs are extremely difficult to get rid of. Isolate the plant, hand remove as many as possible and use a sharp spray of water to try and get rid of more. Be careful not to damage the leaves as they are more delicate. You can also prune back any especially infested leaves. I suggest opting for a houseplant insecticide (THIS ONE is my favorite and botanically based!) to remove the infestation. Follow package directions.