The Nerve plant (Fittonia albivenis), also known as the Mosaic plant, is a species of flowering perennial herbaceous plants in the family Acanthaceae. They originated from South America but can now be found worldwide. Elizabeth and Sarah Mary Fitton are the basis for the name. They were two sister botanists who co-wrote the book, “Conservations on Botany.”
The leaves are the headline act here. They are usually dark green with starkly contrasting white or red veins, growing up to 4 inches long. While the plant also produces flowers, it rarely happens indoors. And when it does, gardeners usually pinch off the newly forming buds since they’re insignificant and only detract from the beauty of the leaves.
- Nerve Plant Main Characteristics
- Nerve Plant Care
- Propagating Nerve Plant
- Potting and Repotting Nerve Plant
- Common Pests
- Common Problems
- Nerve Plant (Fittonia Albivenis) – Useful Growing Tips (Video)
Nerve Plant Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Nerve Plant, Jewel Plant, Mosaic Plant, Silver Nerve, Silver Nerve Plant, Silver Threads|
|Botanical Name||Fittonia albivenis|
|Synonyms||Adelaster albivenis, Fittonia argyroneura, Fittonia verschaffeltii, Fittonia verschaffeltii var. argyroneura, Gymnostachyum verschaffeltii|
|Native Range||Southern Tropical America|
|Common Cultivars||Argyroneura Group, Verschaffeltii Group|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||11 to 12|
|Mature Size||Height: 0.25-0.50 feet; Spread: 0.50-1.00 feet|
|Foliage||Colorful, Evergreen, Variegated|
|Propagation methods||by cuttings, by layering|
|Sun||Partial shade to deep shade|
Nerve Plant Care
Nerve Plant is mainly used as indoor plant in pots. However, it can easily serve as a groundcover in regions with warm winter climates (USDA zones 11-12). It naturally covers the surface with lateral growth, creeping over slowly but surely. Dwarf versions of these plants are suited to be planted in terrariums.
Caring for this plant is not easy. It requires a hands-on approach to gardening and can’t survive neglect. Here’s what you need to know:
Light and Location
Fittonia albivenis does not do well in direct sun. Therefore, plant it in a spot where it will not receive direct sunlight at any point during the day. While windowsills can work, but make absolutely sure that they don’t get direct sunlight. Sunburn is a genuine concern.
Shady spots like in a central location in a living room do pretty well. Bathrooms or kitchens can help alleviate humidity concerns if other areas are too dry. They are also famously suited to be grown in a terrarium.
Watering this plant is a balancing act. Give moderate water from spring to autumn but keep the soil barely moist in winter. Don’t let it dry out, and don’t let the water stagnate. The plant will completely wilt and appear to be dead if underwatered, but give it water, and it will revive itself. The recommended watering schedule is two (2) times a week.
The nerve plant, or Fittonia albivenis, is a tropical plant that needs warm temperatures to survive. In addition, it needs protection from cold weather (lower than 55°F), so keeping it in a warm room or greenhouse is best. Optimal temperatures are 15–23°C (60–75°F).
Maintaining a proper humidity level around this plant is why caring for this plant is considered problematic. Since it’s native to tropical forests, it needs high humidity environments to survive. You can increase the humidity by:
- Placing it next to a humidifier.
- Misting it with water often.
- Using a tray of wet pebbles.
Nerve Plant does not require large amounts of fertilizers but may benefit from applications of a balanced liquid fertilizer applied every month or so during active growth.
Propagating Nerve Plant
Fittonia albivenis is a plant that can be propagated easily by cuttings. It’s essential to use a sharp knife that’s sterile to remove a section of stem with at least two leaves attached. Also, make sure that the cut is made directly below a node, where the new roots will form.
You can place cuttings directly into moist soil. Use a rooting hormone for quicker results. Use a heating cable from underneath the pot to maintain a temperature of over 75 degrees Fahrenheit to promote faster growth.
Potting and Repotting Nerve Plant
Potting these plants is pretty straightforward. Any standard potting mix will do, provided it maintains a balance of draining well and retaining a little bit of moisture. Adding in more organic matter also helps.
If the plant is growing in too small a pot, it’s time to repot it. This allows the roots to grow, giving them more opportunities to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, keeping them happy and healthy. To do this, dig around the pot with a knife to help loosen the soil. Then pull on the root ball. It should come right out. Next, gently clean the roots and plant them in the bigger container. Stamp lightly to help the soil settle down. And you’ve successfully repotted your plant.
This plant is Non-Toxic to humans, dogs, cats, and horses.
The most common pests of the nerve plant are aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. If you see signs that your plant is infected, use a mild strength insecticide immediately. Also, try rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab; it often works wonders.
Has the plant collapsed?
If your plant has suddenly wilted for no apparent reason, it’s most likely a result of underwatering. Gardeners like to call this “fainting,” you can easily fix it by giving your plant some water. The leaves will quickly become upright again– it’s pretty fascinating to watch.
Are leaf tips turning brown?
Increase the humidity. This plant hates being in dry conditions. Use a humidifier or mist the leaves daily until the leaves go back to normal. You can also use a pebble-filled tray of water.
Overwatering causes yellow leaves. If you’re having trouble maintaining the balancing act of neither over- nor under-watering, consider changing the potting mix. Something that drains well and retains moisture simultaneously would be ideal.
Nerve Plant (Fittonia Albivenis) – Useful Growing Tips (Video)
How to propagate Nerve plant?
You can propagate nerve plants using tip cuttings in spring. Take a cutting with two or three leaves, plant it in moist soil and wait for it to take root. While you can also use layering or division, it takes much longer and is not as effective.
Why is my Nerve plant drooping?
Your plant is experiencing “fainting.” This condition occurs when these plants get too little water. Give it a thorough watering, and you should the leaves become upright again in no time.
How often to water Nerve plant?
This plant needs moderate water in the growing season (spring to autumn). Whereas in winter, keep the soil barely moist. Both overwatering and underwatering can be a problem. Wait for the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again.
“Fittonia verschaffeltii” by MantellaMan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Fittonia cv” by Cerlin Ng is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“nerve plant” by Muffet is licensed under CC BY 2.0