Blooming Plant of
Nertera granadensis (NER-ter-uh)
Bead plant, Coral moss, Coral-bead plant, English baby tears,
In late summer, Nertera covers itself with beadlike, brilliant
orange berries the size of pinheads, and the plant looks like a
miniature pumpkin field. It will remain colorful for several
months. The orange berries are the plant’s most notable feature,
because its leaves are small, and its white flowers are
insignificant. Nertera grows well in rock gardens and container
Nerteras hold their decorative appeal for more than three
Nerteras are readily available in the summer through fall and
are excellent plants for Halloween.
In-Store and Consumer Care
Protect the plants from direct sunshine. Bright, diffused
light is best if the plants are kept indoors. Partial sun or
filtered sunlight is best if they are placed outdoors.
Nerteras require humidity to bloom, but misting should be
avoided. Water Nerteras by putting the pots into a basin of
water. Keep soil evenly moist by checking plants daily. Severe
drying will cause the leaves to yellow and drop. Drying also
will delay flower development.
These plants are best held at temperatures of 65 F to 75 F.
Nerteras have a very shallow root system and are best potted
in shallow containers with porous compost. They prefer sandy
loam soils and require good drainage. Standing water will cause
the plants to rot.
Remove the orange berries when they fade to keep the plants
Advise consumers to apply a water-soluble fertilizer diluted
to half the recommended strength once a month.
The plants will continue to grow year-round, but they
generally will produce their colorful berries in late summer and
fall. Many people treat them as annuals and discard them after
the berries are gone. However, Nerteras are perennial plants in
The botanical name “Nertera” comes from the Greek word “nerteros,”
meaning “low down” or “lowly.”
Nerteras are native to New Zealand, Tazmania, and the
mountain regions of Central and South America. They are members
of the Rubiaceae, or madder, family, which also comprises
coffee, Gardenia and Bouvardia.
These plants stand alone well or can be used in groupings with
other summer flowering plants such as succulents and cacti. Be
sure that all the plants used in combinations have the same care
requirements. Nerteras are perfect choices for summery container
gardens and Halloween desktop sales.
Some information provided by:
Silver Terrace Nurseries, San Francisco, Calif.
You can reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Images courtesy of Nurserymen’s Exchange, Inc.
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