Nerve plant leaves will fall off due to a range of causes including too much sun, drying out, poor soil, low humidity and overwatering. Nerve plants like moist soil but not too soggy. Use good quality potting soil to repot a very wet nerve plant and move it near a bright window.
This article will explore why nerve plant leaves fall off and what to do to save your nerve plant.
Why nerve plant (Fittonia) leaves fall off – Top 5 reasons
The top 5 reasons why nerve plant leaves fall off are underwatering, too much sun, poor soil, low humidity and overwatering. Find out how to fix each problem so save your nerve plant.
An underwatered nerve plant will end up with droopy leaves, which can dry, turn brown and eventually fall off. Nerve plants need regular water and moist soil to thrive. Small nerve plants can dry out quickly especially if they are near a bright position that gets warmth from a window.
Check the soil of your nerve plant regularly and add water. I have a tiny nerve plant which needs water every 2 days in spring and summer. As nerve plants grow larger they may need watering every week to keep moist and happy.
Check the soil 2 inches down and water if it seems dry. Drooping leaves and dry soil are a sure sign that nerve plants are damaged and may lose their leaves. Water them deeply and they will recover.
2. Too much sun
Nerve plants can get leaf damage if they get too much sun. Nerve plants love filtered light and direct sunlight in the afternoon or through a glass window can burn and damage the leaves. These leaves will drop off after they have suffered burn.
Place nerve plants near a bright window to get filtered morning light. Avoid afternoon sun and do not place them too close to a window which can radiate heat.
3. Poor soil
Nerve plants grown in poor soil can suffer from a lack of nutrients if they are planted into poor potting soil. Low quality potting soil will not contain the range of nutrients needed by the plant to grow well. The leaves can then turn yellow, brown and drop off.
Transplant suffering nerve plants into a new pot with new good quality potting soil. Choose a premium all-purpose soil or one specifically made for indoor plants. Check that they contain a slow release fertilizer to feed your plant.
4. Low humidity
Nerve plants thrive in areas that have higher humidity. These rainforest plants love to be surrounded by others to create a microclimate that helps to increase humidity. Low humidity can cause the soil and plant leaves to dry and eventually drop off.
To increase humidity around your nerve plant, mist it in the morning and place it near other tropical plants like pothos or monstera.
Overwatering can be another cause of nerve plant leaves dropping off. While nerve plants like to stay moist, too much water can cause the leaves to droop. The soil can become anaerobic lacking oxygen and the roots can eventually rot. This stops the plant from absorbing the nutrients it needs and causes leaf damage.
Overwatering can be solved by reducing your watering schedule, placing the pot near a bright window and making sur the roots are not sitting in water. Indoor plants work well when they are grown in a inner pot with drainage holes and are placed in an outer pot.
The outer pot can capture any small drips but take care not to leave the roots sitting in water for too long. This can cause the plant to absorb too much water and damage the soil and leaves.
How to save your nerve plant that is dropping leaves
Here are the top things to remember when caring for your nerve plant at home. This will prevent the leaves from drooping and dropping.
1. Light conditions
Choose a position for your nerve plant that gets bright, filtered light. Avoid placing them too close to a window or placing them in direct sunlight. Direct sun can burn and damage the leaves which will eventually drop off.
Water your nerve plant regularly to keep the soil moist. Underwatered nerve plants will develop drooping leaves and the soil will look dry on the top. Water the plant and within a day you can usually see the leaves stand up again.
Choosing the best quality soil is important for a healthy nerve plant. A premium potting soil will usually contain a slow release fertilizer that will feed the plant with a range of nutrients over a 3 month period. Premium potting soil will drain well, protect the roots and help the leaves to grow well.
Nerve plants or Fittonia are a great indoor plant to add to your collection. They come in a range of colors including silver, green and a red flame which has pink veins through the leaves. Look out for different nerve plants to try at home to add some color to your home.
Why nerve plant leaves fall off | Summary
Nerve plant leaves can fall off if they are not given enough water. They like moist soil but too much water can cause the leaves and roots to be damaged. Finding the perfect balance takes some practice but as a general guide, small nerve plants like water every few days while larger ones can last around a week.
Place your plant in a bright position and place it with other tropical plants to create a jungle microclimate in your own home.
Fittonia are a fun indoor plant to try and can be matched with a pot that brings out the color.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.