The Best Environmental Conditions for Nerve Palms to Thrive in Your Home

Nerve plants (Fittonia) hail from the tropical rainforests of South America but also work well as houseplants. These compact, spreading evergreens have colorful red, pink, or white veins on their leaves and offer an array of uses and benefits. For these plants to truly thrive indoors, they’ll require specific environmental conditions. In this article, we’ll run through everything you need to know about nerve plant temperature and humidity tolerances when grown indoors.

Nerve Plant Temperature and Humidity Requirements – The Essentials

For optimal growth and plant health, nerve plants require temperatures between 60 and 80ºF (15.5 to 26.5ºC). These plants also require humidity levels ranging from 60 to 90%. Mist nerve plants regularly or use humidifiers or pebble trays to maintain high humidity levels. Keep the plants away from any cold drafts and ensure they’re located in a room with an ambient temperature above 60ºF.


Typical Temperature and Humidity Ranges Nerve Plants Receive in Their Native Habitats

Typical Temperature and Humidity Ranges Nerve Plants Receive in Their Native Habitats

Nerve plants grow on the forest floor of tropical rainforests in Peru and other parts of South America. This environment provides warm temperatures, high humidity, and dappled sunlight. The Peruvian rainforest’s average temperature can reach about 82ºF, while humidity levels routinely stay above 75%.

With diligent care, it’s possible to replicate these conditions for a nerve plant grown as a houseplant. These plants work well in bathrooms or kitchens, which naturally experience high humidity. It’s also possible to grow nerve plants in a conservatory that receives filtered sunlight due to blinds or curtains.

Maintaining stable temperatures and high humidity is the most critical aspect of nerve plant care. To keep humidity levels high, mist nerve plants regularly or use a humidifier or pebble tray. Keep the nerve plant away from cold or dry drafts generated by air vents, doors, radiators, or windows.


Signs That Your Nerve Plant is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature and Humidity

Signs That Your Nerve Plant is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature and Humidity

Nerve plants depend on getting the right temperature and humidity to thrive indoors. But if nerve plants are exposed to the wrong temperature or humidity, it can cause severe problems. Some of the common signs of incorrect temperature or humidity include:

Leaves Falling Off

If you notice that your nerve plant has started to lose its leaves, the temperature could be too low. Nerve plants that are too cold will drop some leaves to stop the plant from losing vital warmth. Move the plant away from air vents and windows that may be causing cold drafts.

Wilting Leaves

If a nerve plant isn’t receiving enough humidity, its colorful leaves will start to curl or wilt. Nerve plants need consistently moist soil, but low humidity levels will cause the soil to dry out too quickly.

Brown Leaf Tips

This is another sign that your nerve plant isn’t getting enough humidity. Without sufficient humidity, nerve plants can dry out too quickly, leaving the tips of the foliage brown and crispy.

Shriveled Leaves

Nerve plants not getting enough water will start to display shriveled leaves. Underwatering can sometimes be caused by temperatures that are too high or humidity levels that are too low.


Ideal Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Nerve Plants

Ideal Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Nerve Plants

Nerve plants depend on warm, stable temperatures and high humidity levels to grow at their best indoors. Nerve plants must stay within a temperature range between 60 and 80ºF (15.5 to 26.5ºC).

Even during the winter, try and avoid letting the temperature drop below 60ºF. If a nerve plant gets too cold, it may start dropping its leaves as a defense mechanism. Use a thermometer to identify which areas in your home provide the right amount of warmth for your nerve plant.

Nerve plants require high humidity levels that stay between 60 and 90%. Providing humid, warm conditions helps replicate the native habitat of nerve plants. High humidity levels also prevent your nerve plant from drying out too quickly.

Nerve plants are well suited to bathrooms because these areas routinely experience high humidity. If you can’t put your nerve plant in your bathroom, there are other ways to increase humidity. Regularly misting your nerve plant helps, but it works best alongside either a humidifier or a pebble tray.

To maintain warm temperatures and high humidity levels, nerve plants should be placed somewhere away from direct sunlight. When nerve plants are exposed to bright, direct sunlight, they will start to dry out too quickly.

Keeping nerve plants away from cold or dry drafts is also essential. These are usually caused by air vents, doors, open windows, and radiators or heaters. Drafts can lower both the temperature and humidity around your nerve plant.

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position nerve plants in the home.


How to Boost Humidity in Your Home

How to Boost Humidity in Your Home

Because nerve plants require very high humidity levels, it’s unlikely that the standard humidity of your home will be sufficient. Thankfully, there are a few ways to boost the humidity in your home to keep your nerve plant happy.

The easiest way to increase humidity around your nerve plant is to mist it regularly. While this can be limited, it provides a temporary humidity boost. Misting is also less effective in warmer homes because the water evaporates more quickly.

Humidifiers are the best way to increase humidity for nerve plants. Humidifiers can be relatively affordable and provide a consistent humidity boost. You can also use humidifiers to raise the humidity for several plants at once.

Pebble trays are another way to increase humidity for nerve plants. Fill a shallow tray with some pebbles and place your nerve plant’s nursery pot on top. Then add water to the tray, ensuring the water doesn’t rise above the pebbles.

As the water evaporates, it will increase humidity around your nerve plant. For the best results, top the water up regularly and mist your nerve plant for a double humidity boost.

Caring for Nerve Plants in Spring and Summer

Caring for Nerve Plants in Spring and Summer

Spring and summer is the primary growing season for nerve plants. It’s also when you need to pay the most attention to humidity levels. The hotter the weather, the harder it’ll be to maintain high humidity. During spring and summer, water nerve plants every 3 or 4 days or whenever the top inch of soil is dry.

You’ll have to water and mist nerve plants in extremely hot or arid areas more frequently. Humidifiers still work well, but pebble trays are less effective because the water will evaporate more quickly.

You’ll also have to ensure that the temperature doesn’t get too hot for your nerve plant. Temperatures that rise above 80ºF will start becoming too hot. Always keep your nerve plant away from direct afternoon sunlight during the summer, as this can badly scorch the foliage.

Caring for Nerve Plants During Winter

Caring for Nerve Plants During Winter

Nerve plants naturally enter a period of dormancy during the winter, which does affect their care requirements. Although they will need watering less frequently, you’ll still need to maintain relatively high humidity.

Water nerve plants once or twice a week during the winter and keep the temperature above 60ºF. Humidifiers and pebble trays still work well during the winter, so combine these methods with regular misting.

Whilst nerve plants aren’t considered toxic or poisonous to pets and humans, it’s prudent to wear a pair of protective gloves during any form of plant care as they do have tiny hairs on their stems that may cause mild irritation.


Nerve Plant Temperature and Humidity Considerations FAQs

What Temperature is Too Cold for Nerve Plants?

Temperatures that fall below 60ºF (15.5ºC) are too cold for nerve plants. If your nerve plant is too cold, it may start dropping leaves as a defense mechanism.

Although nerve plants like warm temperatures, they will suffer if the temperature climbs too far above 80ºF (26.5ºC).

Nerve plants are sensitive to temperature extremes and require stable temperatures between 60 and 80ºF. If it gets too cold or too hot for them, nerve plants will suffer serious problems.

Nerve plants can only be grown outside in USDA Zones 11 to 12 because they need warm, humid conditions. If you’re growing nerve plants outdoors, always plant them in shadier areas to protect them from the sun.

Healthy nerve plants will have colorful leaves that aren’t curling, wilting, or dropping off. Nerve plants depend on warm, humid conditions to stay healthy.


Nerve Plant Temperature Tolerances – Wrapping Up

There’s not doubting that nerve plants are striking houseplants, but getting their temperature and humidity levels right can be challenging. These plants require temperatures ranging from 60 to 80ºF and humidity levels between 60 and 90%. Boost humidity by misting your nerve plant regularly or using humidifiers or pebble trays. Avoid cold or dry drafts wherever possible.


Edward Hodsdon
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Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

Author

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

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