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Blooming Plants
  Blooming Plant of the Month

Botanical name
Nertera granadensis (NER-ter-uh)
Common names
Bead plant, Coral moss, Coral-bead plant, English baby tears, Pincushion plant
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 gardens.
Shelf life
Nerteras hold their decorative appeal for more than three months.

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 looking fresh.
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 garden.

Fun facts
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.

Suggested uses
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 or by phone at (415) 239-3140.

Images courtesy of Nurserymen’s Exchange, Inc.

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