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Fittonia (Nerve Plant): Care Guide, Tips, Watering & Propagation

Last Updated on September 1, 2021 by Sophie

The Fittonia Plant is a beautiful and delicate specimen which is also known as a ‘nerve plant’ thanks to the unique marking on the leaves which… you guessed it! resemble nerves. Fittonia is also sometimes referred to as the ‘mosaic plant’ or the ‘painted net leaf’. Scientifically, the Nerve plant is known as Fittonia albivenis.

Best-kept at high humidity levels, these stunning indoor houseplants are perfect for terrarium-like environments and will make a wonderful addition to your indoor garden. Here’s a Fittonia care guide, including watering tips and how to propagate!

Fittonia (Nerve Plant): Care Guide, Tips, Watering & Propagation

Nerve plants come in a variety of colours, meaning that if you’re planning on pairing them with other indoor plants for home styling, then you’ll pretty much be spoilt for choice. The most common varieties are reds, greens, and variegated whites, though pinks and purples can also be found.

Known for their thin and delicate leaves, Fittonia plants can be fickle. However, kept under the right conditions, they’ll soon thrive. Though commonly purchased in 10 centimetre pots (or thereabouts), these plants are native to rainforests in South America and are most commonly found in those of Peru. Today, Nerve Plants are prized for their stunning foliage, and while they do have small flowers, these are little to look at and are not the main attraction for growing the plant.

Fittonia (Nerve Plant): Care Guide, Tips, Watering & Propagation

Common fittonia varieties

As you might imagine, there are a number of different fittonia varieties, with some more beautiful and easier to care for than others. In total, there are over a staggering two dozen types of Fittonia. Of course, when it comes to purchasing one for your collection, there are some types that are easier to locate and buy than others.

Fortissimo

If you’re a fan of pink plants, then you may well want to consider looking to buy the Fortissimo type of Fittonia. This plant is characterised by its dark green leaves which are veined with bright pink and red.

Fittonia verschaffeltii ‘Black Star’

One of the bolder Fittonia varieties which you might consider purchasing to adding to your indoor jungle is that of the ‘Black Star’. This plant is easily recognised thanks to its dark, emerald green leaves which are permeated by bright red veins.

Angel snow

One of the most common varieties of Fittonia, and one which you will commonly see sold in indoor garden centres and plant ships is that of ‘Angel Snow’. This plant has foliage which is bright green with white veins. The upper side of the leaves also have white splotches which are fairly large. 

Fittonia Plant Care & Watering Guide

Watering your fittonia

Much like the pink polkadot plant, Nerve Plants can be ‘dramatic’ and will ‘wilt’ or ‘fade’ if a watering session is missed. However, not to fret as a good soaking will ensure that the plant perks right back up. Typically, Fittonia plants do best in a terrarium-like environment.

Either purchase a terrarium with a hole or use a bell jar (I bought mine from IKEA) and remove this once a week or so for at least an hour or two in order to allow your plant to breathe! As a result of the closed off environment, your mosaic plant will rarely require watering. With this being said, keeping your plant will mean that it’s more prone to growing mould and so keep an eye out for this and remove any growth which becomes mouldy.

Best soil conditions for the nerve plant

As with many tropical-derived houseplants, the Fittonia enjoys well-draining soil so that its roots do not sit in water. Though the nerve plant wants to be damp at all time, it doesn’t want to be soaking as the roots will end up with root rot, which will likely lead to an un-saveable plant!

Best light conditions for your Fittonia

Just as with many indoor tropical plants, Fittonia does best in indirect bright sunlight, such as a few feet away from a South facing window. If the plant is exposed to too harsh sunlight, the markings may fade over time. If this happens, simply move your plant to a shadier spot, though ensure that the light levels of your room aren’t too low! Unlike some other plants, the Nerve Plant can also be grown under fluorescent light.

Fittonia (Nerve Plant): Care Guide, Tips, Watering & Propagation

How to propagate Fittonia (Nerve Plant)

Unfortunately, unlike most varieties of aroids and many succulents, the best way to propagate Fittonia is not via leaf cuttings rooted in water, but rather leaf cuttings rooted in the soil. During the growing season (i.e. Spring and Summer) simply take some leaf cuttings and place them into damp soil.

In order for the plant to grow, you’ll need to include at least one and preferably two or three nodes in your cutting. If the plant takes off, you can expect to see new growth within a few weeks. If you need to prune your plant (to maintain a great aesthetic and so that your Nerve Plant doesn’t become too straggly), then you might consider propagating your trimmed plant at this point!

pink fittonia on a marble table

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Fittonia (Nerve Plant): Care Guide, Tips, Watering & Propagation

About Author

Sophie Nadeau is a travel, pizza, and history lover who is currently based in Paris, France. A keen indoor gardener, she spends her time at home reading books, looking at too many dog photos, and growing an indoor jungle in her tiny flat!

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