Last Updated on January 26, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Nerteras are very decorative creeping plants with pea-size, orange-colored berries.
The only species commonly grown indoors is N. granadensis (also known as N. depressa; popularly called Coral bead plant, coral moss, and English or hardy baby tears).
The thin, closely matted stems ot this plant run along the surface of the potting mixture, rooting into the mixture at the nodes.
The stems, which can grow up to 10 inches long, carry medium green, broadly oval, fleshy, stalkless leaves 1/4 inch across. A fully mature plant is likely to form a low mound 2-3 inches high.
Insignificant, stalkless flowers, which are produced in early summer, appear from leaf axils.
The flowers are tiny and greenish yellow, and they give way to shiny, orange-red berries 1/4 inch in diameter. These berries are fully developed by late summer, and they remain on the plant for several months.
They are often so numerous that they almost hide the foliage.
Many home growers treat Nerteras as disposable plants, replacing older specimens with new ones every year.
It is not necessary to do this, however. Under the right conditions Nerteras can be kept for a number of years.
Care of Nerteras
Grow Nerteras in bright light, making sure that they get at least three hours of direct sunlight every day.
Nerteras will flower and set fruit best if kept in an airy position at a temperature of 50 – 60°F.
Ideally, these plants should be kept outdoors throughout the months from late spring until the berries have formed.
In placing them outdoors be sure to choose a position where they get some direct sunlight and are sheltered from summer storms.
Indoors they can tolerate warmer conditions than the recommended temperature range.
But they grow very fast in warm rooms (over 63°), and thus tend to produce too much foliage.
To bear flowers and berries successfully, Nerteras requires high humidity.
And spray plants lightly with water once a day from the time that flowers begin to appear until all berries have fully developed.
Water moderately, giving enough at each watering to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allowing the top half-inch of the mixture to dry out before watering again.
These plants should never be allowed to dry out completely, not even during the rather short winter rest period. While plants are resting, continue moderate watering, but allow the top inch of the mixture to dry out between waterings.
Excessive feeding stimulates the growth of foliage at the expense of flowers and berries.
Apply standard liquid fertilizer to these plants only during the few summer months between the end of the flowering period and the time when berries are fully matured.
Even then, be sure not to apply fertilizer to the plants more often than once a month.
Potting and repotting
Use a combination of two-thirds of soil-based potting mixture and one-third of an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite.
Nerteras are normally grown in 3-inch pots. Because they have relatively shallow roots, however, they are more suitably lodged in 3 or 4 inch pans, and they need never be moved on into larger containers.
Propagation of Nertera Granadensis
Commercially, these plants are grown from seed, but this is a slow and not very dependable process.
Instead, divide old plants in the spring, setting five or six small clumps of stems around the edge of a 4-inch pan containing the standard mixture.
Alternatively, plant several short tip cuttings (1-2 inches long) together in a 2-inch pot containing an equal-parts mixture of moistened peat moss and sand.
Enclose the cuttings in either a plastic bag or propagating case, and place them in bright filtered light at a temperature of about 60°F.
When renewed top growth indicates that roots are well established, move each group of cuttings directly into a 3-inch pot of the recommended mixture for adult specimens, after which the needs of the young plants are those of mature Nerteras.
There you have it, how to care for Coral Bead plant, Nertera Granadensis.