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How to Grow Nertera –Bead Plant

Bead plant, Nertera granadensis
Bead plant, Nertera granadensis

Nertera–commonly called bead plant–is a tropical ground-hugging perennial covered with tiny oval or round leaves 1/4 inch in size. Nearly inconspicuous bell-shaped flowers appear in summer followed by fleshy, spherical orange-red berries. Nertera is usually grown as a houseplant for its decorative berries.

Outdoors in tropical regions, Nertera can be grown as a groundcover or in rock gardens. It grows best in partial shade. Where not hardy, Nertera can be grown indoors where it needs bright filtered light.

Nertera is a genus of about 6 species of mat-forming perennials. They are native to moist lowlands in South China, Southeast Asia, and Australasia.

Get to Know Nertera 

  • Plant type:  Perennial
  • Growing zones and range:  Zones 12-13
  • Hardiness:  Tender 
  • Height and width: 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.6cm) tall; thin trailing stems to 12 inches (30cm) long. 
  • Foliage: Small, broadly ovate to lance-shaped leaves
  • Flowers: Tiny 1/4 inch bell-shaped flowers are followed by glossy bright orange berries. 
  • Bloom time: Bloom in summer. 
  • Uses:  Groundcover, rock garden, houseplant
  • Common name:  Bead plant
  • Botanical name:  Nertera
  • Family name:  Rubiaceae
  • Origin:  Southern China, Southeast Asia
Bead plant, Nertera granadensis
Bead plant, Nertera granadensis

Where to Plant Nertera 

  • Light outdoors: Grow Nertera in partial shade.
  • Light indoors: Provide Nertera with bright light. 
  • Soil:  Grow Nerta in humus-rich, gritty, moist, but well-drained soil.

When to Plant Nertera 

  • Set container-grown Nertera outdoors in tropical regions any time of the year.

Planting and Spacing Nertera  

  • Space  Nertera 12 inches (30cm) apart.

How to Water and Feed Nertera 

  • Water: Allow the soil to dry to the touch between thorough waterings. 
  • Feeding: Fertilize Nertera only after the plant has flowered in summer excess fertilizer encourages foliage growth but inhibits flowers and fruit production. 

Nertera Care 

  • Protect Nertera from excess moisture.

Growing Nertera as a Houseplant

  • Give Nertera bright light, a cool temperature, and high humidity.
  • Allow the soil to dry to the touch between thorough watrerings.
  • Fertilize Nertera only after the plant has flowered in summer; excess fertilizer encourages foliage growth but inhibits flower and fruit production.

Nertera Pests and Diseases  

  • Nertera can be attacked by aphids and spider mites.

Nertera Propagation  

  • Propagate Nertera by division and use an all-purpose soil mix for repotting.
  • Sow seed in warm soil in spring. 

Nertera Varieties to Grow  

  • Nertera depressa, bead plant. Forms a mound of bright green, rounded leaves. 
  • N. granadensis, bead plant. Moss-like perennial with bright green leaves; bears bell-shaped yellowish green glowers followed by masses of spherical shiny, orange or re berries. 

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