Fittonia Plant or Nerve Plant: Care, Propagation, & Benefits

Fittonia Plant

The Fittonia Plant or Nerve Plant is a tropical plant that belongs to the Acanthaceae family. The plant is native to the tropical rainforest of South America and mainly found in the Peru region. The most common Fittonia plant bears dark green leaves with striking silver-colored veins. Other varieties come with different stripe colors like red, pink, white, and green. The nerve plant indeed flowers after some time but the flower’s color is dependent on the variety of the plant. However, mostly reddish, and yellowish-white colors can be seen in flowers.

A mature plant can grow up to 3-6 inches tall and you can see a spread of 12-18 inches. The plant is commonly grown as a houseplant but you may rarely see flowers if it is growing inside your house. Sometimes for the new plant owners, taking care of this plant becomes a little tricky as they need humid conditions, filtered light and watering sessions after some time. The Fittonia Plant or Nerve Plant comes in a wide variety so you may consider these common ones for your home.

Fittonia Plant Famous Varieties

  • Fittonia ‘White Anne’: The Fittonia ‘White Anne’ plant is grown for its fantastic foliage with dark green leaves and white stripes. The white stripes hue is more prominent on the leaves in comparison to the green leaves. It is perfect for small shady locations and definitely it will lift up your mood easily if you have this variety at your home. 
  • Fittonia ‘Ruby Red’: The nerve plant ‘Ruby Red’ is grown due to its attractive foliage color. The ark colored leaves covered with dark red veins make it an eye-catching houseplant. You Can use a small container that contrasts its overall appearance to make it look more mesmerizing.
  • Fittonia ‘Pink Star’: The wavy leaves and the beautiful pink colored veins over green leaves makes the ‘Pink star’ truly unique among the Fittonia species. The plant can be potted in a small container and blooms well in moist, shady conditions.
  • Fittonia verschaffeltii ‘Black Star’: The ‘Black Star’ is a bold and beautiful plant which can enhance the look of your light- colored garden by providing a contrasting look in the middle. The dark emerald green leaves with purple-red veins makes it a gorgeous houseplant.

Also read: Calathea Plant: All Major Types and Benefits

Fittonia Plant Care

Sometimes it becomes a little tricky for some users to take care of Fittonia Plant or nerve plant but if you take certain precautions and do small things on time, your plant will bloom very well.

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  • Soil: Like all the tropical plants the fittonia plant needs well drained but moist soil to prosper. Do not allow the water to sit on the roots of the plant otherwise it may experience root rot. The plant loves standard soil with a peat-moss base to grow indoors.
  • Water: The Fittonia plant loves moist soil but make sure you let the soil dry out before another watering session. If you are not watering your nerve plant after constant duration, the leaves of the plant may collapse or dry out. Don’t worry as the plant can regain its beauty after some watering sessions.  
  • Light: In the tropical region the plant enjoys bright shady conditions of the forest and prefers the same shady atmosphere indoors as a houseplant. Place it near the south facing window to provide bright indirect light at home. Fluorescent lights can also help nerve plant thrive at homes. Do not put it under direct sunlight as it can easily cause leaf burn.
  • Temperature & Humidity: The Fittonia plant thrives well in temperatures ranging around 70 degrees fahrenheit but it can also withstand minimum temperatures of 60 degrees fahrenheit and maximum of 80 degrees fahrenheit. Just like tropical forests, plants prefer humid conditions which can be accessed at homes easily, during dry and cold months you can use humidifiers at homes. 
  • Fertilizer: During its blooming season, feed the nerve plant weekly with a weak dose of formulated liquid fertilizer made for the tropical plants. A well balanced 5-5-5 fertilizer weekly is good for good growth of the plant.

Fittonia Propagation & Pruning

The process of pruning a Fittonia plant is similar to any other houseplant, use clean shears to cut the desired height of the plant and after that, you can use those cuttings to propagate the Fittonia plant. The plant propagates from the leaf cuttings during the late spring or early summertime.

Take the Fittonia cuttings (preferably a healthy stem) and make sure you include two growing nodes and remove the excess leaves from the stem to allow the plant to propagate and develop new roots in the soil. After putting that stem cutting in a peat-based soil mix, roots can be developed in 2-3 weeks. 

Fittonia Plant Benefits

  • Air Purifying: The fittonia plant or nerve plant decreases the carbon dioxide levels from your atmosphere, increases humidity and cleanses the air quality. It also helps in reducing benzene and nitrogen dioxide from the environment.
  • Decoration Purpose: The plant is also a very popular houseplant due to its decorative quality. The plant can be hung or placed anywhere in the room and the striking foliage easily grabs the attention of every person coming to your place.
  • Treatment of Many Problems: In the ancient time, some tribes of Ecuadorian Amazon used this plant as treatment of headaches, and muscular pains. The leaves were used as an ingredient of making tea  and curing toothache.
  • Good For Gifting Someone: You can also use this plant as a gift option as it is small and it can be placed anywhere easily. You can use a fittonia terrarium to pot this plant and it will definitely make its foliage look more beautiful in that terrarium.

Common Problems of Fittonia Plant

  • Fittonia brown tips: You may notice dry tips of the plant which are most commonly caused due to dry air and dry soil. Due to their specific environmental needs, they suffer from such issues.
  • Insect problems: The plant is more likely to be invaded by certain insects like fungus gnats, mealy bugs, or aphids. Treating the insects is extremely important to prevent bugs from destroying other plants as well.
  • Dry leaves: Dry leaves may be common due to lack of humidity or too much direct sunlight exposure. Use a humidifier in rooms to provide enough humidity around the plant. 
  • Yellow leaves: too much water is the major issue for yellow leaves. You can use a well-drained soil with drainage holes and avoid soggy soil as it will not retain the water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How often should you water a fittonia plant?

You can water the Fittonia plant as soon as 25 percent of the soil gets dry out.

Q2: Is fittonia good for pets and children?

The plant is non-toxic and safe for children and pets.

Q3: Is fittonia an easy plant to grow?

The plant is a little tricky to grow due to its environmental needs but it can be easily taken care of. 

By greenkosh