Although their name might suggest that they are dangerous and difficult plants, Nerve Plants are actually safe, and non-toxic and their incredible foliage is worth every bit of effort. If things aren’t right in either the care your plant is getting or the environment in which your plant is in, then it might start to lose some leaves.
With Nerve Plants, they will begin losing leaves if it isn’t getting enough of something which means your plant doesn’t have the energy and nutrients to keep all of its foliage. This results in leaf drop and is definitely something that needs to be solved.
In this post, we will be going through each of the four reasons that will cause your Nerve Plant to lose leaves so you can diagnose the problem and prevent it from happening again in future.
A lack of sunlight might be why your Nerve Plant is losing leaves
Nerve Plants like bright, indirect light and if they spend too long in a shady spot, they may start losing leaves. This also shows itself as faded variegation, stunted and small growth. Make sure you place them somewhere they will receive several hours of bright light.
Just be careful when placing them too close to a window though as direct light during summer will cause other issues for your Nerve Plant (for example leaf burn which causes yellow patches throughout the plant, leggy growth or drooping stems), so it is about finding the right balance.
During winter, you can get away with a little more direct sunshine as the sun is a lot weaker and out for less of the day so shouldn’t be strong enough to mean your Nerve Plant starts losing leaves. This means you can place your Nerve Plant a little closer to the window to prevent it losing leaves due to insufficient light levels.
If you’re unsure of how much sunlight your Nerve Plant is currently getting, or if you want to scope out how much light different areas of your home receive, then picking up a light monitor is the best thing to do. They will help you figure out where to best place your Nerve Plant.
Consistent underwatering can also cause your Nerve Plant to lose leaves
One of the more common factors when it comes to Nerve Plants losing some of their leaves is a consistent lack of water. Nerve Plants can deal with some dry soil but their ideal environment is some moisture in the potting mix.
It’s important to ensure that your Nerve Plant is actually being underwatered before you change anything about your care routine. If you do give your plant more water when it doesn’t need it, this can cause a whole range of other issues beyond your plant losing leaves.
Take your Nerve Plant out of the pot to inspect how the potting mix feels. If underwatered, the potting mix will fall apart and feel very sandy to touch. You will also see that some of the roots have started to crisp up if you have been underwatering your Nerve Plant for a while.
If your Nerve Plant feels too fragile to remove from the soil, there are a few other ways you can check how soggy the soil is. Firstly, using a moisture meter is one of the most reliable ways to measure how much moisture is in the soil. These affordable little devices will really help with all of your houseplants to ensure you are watering them correctly and will go a long way to avoiding issues such as your Nerve Plant losing leaves for example.
You can also use the chopstick test to check the soil moisture but ideally, you want to remove the plant from its pot as this will also allow you to check in on the root system.
Once you have determined that your Nerve Plant is suffering from a lack of water, slowly reintroduce water to your plant rather than drowning it (they can go into shock if there is a sudden change in the environment which ironically can cause your Nerve Plant to start losing even more leaves).
A little bit of water once a day for a week should get your Nerve Plant back on track.
To prevent your Nerve Plant from losing any more leaves in future make sure that you adjust your watering schedule so that you are either watering more frequently or increasing how much water you give it each time.
Nerve Plants might be losing leaves due to low humidity
Nerve Plants need a higher than average humidity level to thrive and anything less can cause not only brown and crispy leaves, but it can even get as far as your Nerve Plant losing leaves.
Luckily, this is quite an easy one to fix as there are many ways that you can up the humidity for your plant so as long as you find one or two that are right, you can prevent your Nerve Plant from losing more leaves pretty quickly.
Firstly, misting your Nerve Plant’s leaves with a spray bottle every few days (we love these amber glass bottles from Amazon) is one of the best ways to consistently increase the humidity for your plant. Just make sure not to mist once the sun has gone down as if the leaves are still damp when the temperatures drop, then you risk the leaves rotting.
Another great way to increase the humidity and stop your Nerve Plant losing leaves is to use a pebble tray. Just ensure that the roots aren’t sitting in the water, otherwise, this can cause them to rot.
If your bathroom has great natural lighting then moving your Nerve Plant in there can also help prevent it from losing more leaves. Because of the steam released when showing, the bathroom is naturally one of the most humid rooms in the house which means that your Nerve Plant will get all the humidity it needs, without any extra input!
Our last tip will help keep a nice consistent humidity level for your Nerve Plant but will require a little more investment; buying a humidifier.
We also recommend that every plant parent owns a humidity monitor to keep track of everything as this can help you spot problems before they are actually causing any visible damage to your plant.
Lack of nutrients might also be to blame for your Nerve Plant losing leaves
Your Nerve Plant may also be losing its leaves because of nutrient issues. If none of the other issues above fit with what is happening to your plant then we recommend switching out some of the soil in the pot (that isn’t filled with roots) with a good rich potting mix or compost and using a liquid fertiliser during summer to help with growth.
Lack of nutrients is a difficult one to properly diagnose as there aren’t any visible signs you can look out for but as plants age, their potting mix can become quite nutrient deficient so there is no harm in refreshing the soil every now and again.
If you do choose to fertilise your Nerve Plant to correct the issue, make sure that you use a soluble fertiliser at much less than the recommended strength. Nerve Plants can be a little sensitive when it comes to fertiliser as they have quite delicate leaves so you want to err on the side of caution to prevent any other problems from occurring as a result.
Those are the 4 most common reasons why Nerve Plants start losing their leaves. We recommend going through each one whilst inspecting your plant and its environment as this will give you the best shot at properly diagnosing the issue. Once you know what is causing your Nerve Plant to lose leaves, it’s important that you take the appropriate steps to fix and prevent the issue as if the problem has gotten as far as causing the leaves to drop, then plant death might not be so far away.
In future, give your plant regularly checkups to try to spot any early warning signs that something might not be quite right. Catching and treating the problem early gives you the best chance at reviving your Nerve Plant and getting it back to full health.
For more information on what your plant needs to thrive, as well as propagation tips and how to solve other common problems, check out our Nerve Plant care guide.
Written by Joanna Turner