Are you looking for a plant that will challenge you more than others? Well, you are in the right place! May we gladly present you the lovely Coral Bead, a low-maintenance plant outdoors, but a grumpy and spoiled baby indoors. More and more growers start to bring this plant into their gardens, while others prefer to use it to decorate small tables, desks, or windowsills. And that is where the fun begins!
Nertera Granadensis commonly referred to as Coral Bead plant, Coral moss, Pin-cushion plant, or English Baby Tears, is a ground cover species in the Rubiaceae family. Coral Bead plants became popular ornamental plants thanks to their fully-covering and bead-like orange berries.
Coral Bead plants have an unusual distribution around the world. They are native to various regions that surround the Pacific Ocean, such as those from western Argentina and southern north to Guatemala. Moreover, some specimens can also be found in eastern Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hawaii.
About Coral Bead Plant
- Coral Bead plants are usually for sale during mid-autumn due to their common use in Halloween displays.
- Their genus name is derived from the Greek word “nerteros” which means “low down”.
- They are light-lovers so they need lots of bright and indirect light. For optimal blooming, you must keep these plants outdoors in a semi-shaded location starting from spring.
- Coral Bead plants prefer mid-cool and humid conditions, but they can tolerate cooler and warmer temperatures. To maintain the ideal humidity, you should mist the flowers and berries during the spring and summer.
- With a shallow root system, these plants grow best in a container that is only a few inches deep. Also, they do well in good-quality and well-draining soil.
- Coral Bead plants can be happy in the same pot for their entire life, so yours will need repotting only if you want to encourage its growth. They respond well to repotting only if it is done in spring.
- If you want more Coral Bead plants for yourself or as a gift for a friend, they can be easily propagated through division.
- The fruits of these plants are known to be pretty toxic, causing mild poisoning symptoms in animals and humans that consume them. Make sure you keep your curious cats, dogs, and children away from areas with Coral Bead plants.
Coral Bead Plant Features: An Overview
- Coral Bead plants belong to the Nertera genus. It contains about 15 species of flowering plants originated in the Southern Hemisphere including N. Balfouriana, N. Ciliata, N. Cunninghamii, and N. Granadensis.
- Coral Bead plants are dwarf, low-growing specimens. Depending on the plants’ maturity and their pot’s size, they can reach up to 5 inches (13 cm) in height and 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm) in width.
- They have a dense output of tiny, round, and dark green leaves that grow on stuffed, running stems. Their foliage looks very similar to Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia Soleirolii).
- These semi-tropical plants bloom during the early summer months. The flowers usually have a smooth color transition from green to white, with their petals exhibiting the whitest parts on the edges.
- Their small blooms are followed by attractive orange to red fruits called berries. They can completely cover the leaves and will typically last for months.
- Coral Bead plants are best planted among species like Fleurette Mum, Miniature Orchids, and Variegated Ivy.
Growing Coral Bead Plant
Coral Bead plants are mostly grown in gardens as ornamental plants, as they do not require much effort and attention from their owner. However, when growing these plants indoors, things may change a little bit. As houseplants, they can become pretty fussy and demand more consciousness on the growers’ part. But nothing is impossible!
They prefer bright, but indirect light to maintain their overall health. Indoors, these plants should receive plenty of sunlight near a south or east-facing window. During the fall and winter, Coral Bead plants can tolerate a little more sunlight than usual. In summer, keep them away from any direct sunlight exposure, as it may burn their leaves and shrivel their berries.
To induce flowering and berries production, you need to move your coral bead plant outside when spring has settled in. Make sure you protect your plant from harsh sunlight by placing it in a location with partial shade.
All year-round, these plants prefer cooler temperatures that range from 55 to 65 °F (13-18 °C). For a short period, they can tolerate temperatures that rise to 80 °F (26 °C) and will survive to values that drop to 40 °F (4 °C). During their blooming period, it is mandatory to keep Coral Bead plants in a mid-cool area, as temperatures above 65 °F (18 °C) will result in no berries.
Planting Coral Bead
Coral Bead plants have a shallow root system that you should take into account when first planting them. If you want to grow your plant in a container, make sure that it has drainage holes at the bottom.
For both indoors and outdoors cultivation, they grow at their best when provided with a good quality potting soil that is lighter in weight, sterile, and pest-free. You can also prepare your own product by blending two parts peat-moss based potting mix with one part perlite, tree bark, or sand. This will improve drainage and ensure good aeration.
During the spring and summer, they usually benefit from regular fertilizing. Feed your Coral Bead plant with a slow-release and water-soluble fertilizer at ½ strength until it blooms. Too much fertilizer can affect the plant’s health, so it is suggested you follow the package instructions accordingly.
These plants grow at a pretty slow pace but need regular repotting once every two years. You can transplant a Coral Bead plant in the same pot or a slightly larger one if the roots are too wide. Fill the container with fresh potting mix up to 2 inches (5 cm), make a small hole in the soil, and plant your Coral Bead. Water thoroughly and place the plant in a sunny location.
They are mostly pruned for aesthetic purposes, so you can do it regularly to maintain the shape and size you want. Trimming the foliage will encourage the growth of new side-shoots and bloomings. Moreover, a smaller size will reduce the plant’s need to develop a larger root system.
When it comes to pest problems, Coral Bead plants are occasionally bothered by red spider mites and aphids. You need to check your plant frequently from infestations, as pests are pretty hard to spot in its dense foliage. If you notice any unusual aspect on your plant, you can treat it with a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, insecticides, or pesticides.
Watering Coral Bead Plant
Coral Bead plants can put beginner gardeners in difficulty when it comes to their watering requirements. But you don’t have to worry! With some training, you will start to understand your plant’s demands of a little extra attention and time. The secret to growing these cute plants is that they need different amounts of watering depending on the season you are currently in.
During the spring and summer months, Coral Bead plants require a constantly damp soil. However, they do not enjoy waterlogging or soggy conditions, so you should always check the soil in-between waterings.
Do not allow the soil to dry out completely by watering these plants whenever it feels dry to the touch. Many gardeners place their Coral Bead plants above a tray filled with wet pebbles to provide them with the required moisture.
During the fall and winter, your plant’s needs will change a bit. Before watering again, you should allow the soil to dry almost entirely.
Coral Bead plants should be misted once a day during their blooming period. Be careful not to overly-mist them, as this could result in root rot. Once the autumn has settled in, it is better to reduce the misting frequency at once a week until the next spring.
Propagating Coral Bead Plant
Coral Bead plants can be propagated by seeds and stem cuttings, but these methods can take years to show results. No worries, we have great news! If you want to get a Coral Bead baby instantly, these plants can be propagated easily and fast through clump division.
Prepare yourself spiritually and dig out your plant from its soil. You can obtain as many little Coral Bead plants as you want, as long as each of them has a stable root system. Remove the excess soil around the roots and carefully pull apart the clumps from the mother plant. Fill the containers with fresh potting soil and transplant your divisions into their own new growing environments. Once they are successfully planted, you can care for them as usual.
Coral Bead plants are not as picky as others describe them! To grow healthy and happy, they only need mid-cool and humid locations with bright and indirect light, a well-draining potting mix, and regular pruning, fertilizing, and watering. No matter what kind of gardener you are, these plants are absolutely adorable and hard to resist.