Fittonia (also known as the Nerve Plant, Mosaic Plant or Net Plant) might just be the cutest little drama queen you’ve ever met. Why the drama? Neglect your watering routine on your fittonia and it will wilt like a coffee fiend on a caffeine fast. Luckily for you, fittonia just wants attention and will perk back up after you give it a drink. (For extra fun, capture this on a time lapse.)
Originally from Peru, these beauties get their nicknames from their red, white, or pink veins that run through the leaves. In the wild, they can spread as beautiful ground cover, but indoors, they also make a striking houseplant. “Nerve plants are definitely one of the most unique and beautiful plants out there, in my opinion,” says Gabby Santiago, Horticulture Lead at Rooted NYC. (Another benefit? They’re nontoxic to cats and dogs.) Read on for advice on how to grow and care for this stunner—we promise, with a little attention and care, they’ll be showy additions to your home.
- Fittonia prefer bright, indirect light—think: north- or east-facing windows—or light through a filtered curtain (perhaps a few feet away from a sunny window). Never place this plant in direct sun.
- If you’re going to love your fittonia, you’re going to have to love watering it. Although it will ‘faint,’ or wilt, when it’s feeling even a little bit thirsty, you don’t want to get in the habit of letting it do that before you water it. Fittonia do not like to have their soil dry out, but they don’t like it to be wet, either. Instead, a “barely moist” atmosphere is the way to go.
- Make sure to keep fittonia at a consistent 60-70 degree F temperature, and place them away from drafty areas—chilly breezes can do permanent damage.
- Since Fittonia are from Peru, they need a humid environment to thrive. A bathroom with enough light or a kitchen windowsill would be a great place for your Fittonia to grow. They also love a humid terrarium.