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Nerve Plant

Fittonia spp.

Nerve plant is a diminutive house plant that is big on style. Its colorful leaves display intricate vein patterns in light pink, dark pink, and white depending on the variety. Petite enough to live on desktops or nightstands, it is a great choice for small spaces that call for a burst of plant life. Group three or more nerve plants together in coordinating containers and make a big statement on a living room coffee table or entry table. 

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Type:

Height:

Under 6 inches

Width:

6 to 12 inches

Zones:

Propagation

Terrarium Friendly

Humid terrariums are perfect planting spaces for nerve plant, although this easy-to-grow plant will thrive in a pot in less humid areas, such as an office. When growing nerve plant in a small or large terrarium, add some visual variety by pairing it with specimens such as variegated spider fern (Arachnordes simplicior 'Variegata'), mother fern (Asplenium bulbiferum), pilea (Pilea spp.), and/or dragon's tongue (Hemigraphis repanda).

Find a step-by-step terrarium lesson here!

Nerve Plant Care Must-Knows

When grown outdoors in Zones 11 or 12, nerve plant can serve as a creeping groundcover in shady areas. Indoors, nerve plant grows best when planted in a peaty or soil-base potting mixture. Place the pot where it will receive indirect light, such as an east or north window or dappled sun. Avoid direct sun (which will crisp the leaves), unless that light is filtered through a sheer curtain.

Unlike some houseplants, nerve plant grows best in moist soil, so water it when the soil surface is just barely dry. Empty the plant's drip tray or cachepot after watering, though, to keep this plant from languishing in soggy soil. Humidity is also key. If the leaves start to wither, mist the foliage on a regular basis, run a humidifier, or set the pot on a wet pebble tray that will boost humidity as the water evaporates. Fertilize nerve plant about once a month using a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Follow the package directions carefully. Pinch the tips of leaves to encourage a denser habit. Propagate by taking stem cuttings.

More Varieties of Nerve Plant

'Frankie' Nerve plant

Fittonia 'Frankie' has leaves that are almost solidly pink with a green margin.

'Red Anne' Nerve plant

This variety has wide bands of pinkish-red veins with small patches of olive green between, giving the plant an overall effect of pinkish-red foliage.

'Silver' Nerve plant

Fittonia argyroneura has olive green leaves with a fine net of prominent silvery-white veins.

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