You’re probably growing the Nerve plant (Fittonia) in your house because of its calming demeanor. Something is striking about its colorful green leaves with striking veins.

However, to maintain its beauty, it requires constant tending and maintenance. You may notice its leaves turning crispy and brown, which indicates something seriously wrong with the plant.

This article delves deeper into the different factors contributing to the problem and ways to counter them.

Nerve Plant Turning Brown And Crispy

nerve-plantTypically, you can attribute the following factors to this problem:

  • Underwatering 
  • Overwatering 
  • Bright Lighting 
  • Low Humidity 

We go further into the details of each of these factors below. 

1. Underwatering / Insufficient Watering

Underwatering is a common problem leading to browning and crispiness in Fittonia plants. Check if your watering regimen is erratic or if your potting soil loses moisture too quickly. 

The plants typically do well in moist and well-draining soils.

2. Overwatering

overwateringNerve plants are intolerant of standing water or excessive watering.

Overwatering causes waterlogging in Fittonia roots, leading to them suffocating and rotting. Your plant could turn brown as a result. 

3. Low Humidity

Fittonia is a tropical plant that loves humidity. They thrive best under a relative humidity of 55%. 

Any lower amount than this, and you risk its beautiful leaves drying out and turning crispy brown. 

4. Direct Sunlight

fittonia-in-sunlightMost houseplants are sensitive to direct light, and the Nerve plant is no exception. 

Its leaves turn brown under direct sunlight— drying and burning up eventually.

Prevention And Treatment

Proper care and maintenance are the best ways to prevent your Fittonia from turning brown. Read below for essential tips:

1. Proper Watering

watering-fittoniaOnly water your Fittonia when the topmost part of the soil feels dry. This is a one-week interval, ideally.  

The humidity levels in your home will also determine your watering frequency. During watering, ensure the excess water drains out of the pot to prevent waterlogging. 

2. Humidity

Fittonias thrive in highly humid environments. Boost the humidity levels around your plant using the methods below.

Shower Your Nerve Plant With Temperate Water 

Showering your Nerve plant with temperate water automatically boosts the humidity levels and prevents more browning of the leaves. 

The water should be temperate— neither hot nor cold to not shock or burn the plant

Use A Humidifier

humidifierThe advantage of using a humidifier is that it helps keep your home’s humidity levels stable for long enough. 

Remember to switch it off once the required humidity levels are attained. 

Mist The Leaves

mist-the-leavesAnother neat trick to maintain the humidity levels around your plant is to mist it using a spray bottle regularly. However, you will need to do it every day.

Mist your leaves in the morning to allow the water on the leaves to evaporate before the ambient temperature drops off. 


Some areas in your home, such as those near the kitchen and the bathroom, have higher natural humidity than others. You can move your nerve plant to these places.

Use A Pebble Tray 

wet-pebblesYou could use this DIY technique to create a humid atmosphere around your Nerve plant. Fill a tray or saucepan with pebbles and add water up to halfway. 

Place the nerve plant pot on top of the pebbles and ensure it is not submerged under water. As the water evaporates, it humidifies the environment around the plant. 

The method works best during winter when the heaters are on.

3. Lighting 

Grow your nerve plant in areas with ample indirect sunlight or partial shade. Direct sunlight causes the leaves to burn, brown, and die. 

4. Potting Mix And Fertilizer

You should choose your potting mixture wisely for indoor plants. The mixture should be high quality, nutrient-rich, and well-draining. If required, use a balanced fertilizer specifically adapted for indoor plants. 

Ideally, the plants should be fertilized once or twice a month during the growing period and once every two months during dormancy.

5. Pruning

Prune Nerve plant leaves that have turned crispy and brown. This saves your plant from expensing nutrients trying to revive the almost-dead leaves. 

Wrap Up 

fittoniaThe Nerve plant (Fittonia) is a beautiful houseplant that brings warmth and great aesthetic value to your home. However, you must care for and maintain it properly to thrive. 

Several causes are to blame when your Fittonia turns brown. However, as the article highlights, you can adopt various preventive and care measures to restore the plant to full health.

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