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Home » Coral Bead Plant

Coral Bead Plant

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

This low growing plant spreads out to cover the ground it is provided with, offering a visually unique presentation to growers.

With its picky watering and light demands, the coral bead plant has proven difficult for the beginner house plant growers.


A native of the Pacific Ocean areas, Nertera granadensis can be found on any non-arctic continent that borders the vast ocean. Known by many names around the world, this plant is popular in outdoor areas but has been known to be a picky customer in the indoor setting.

The plant remains within a few inches of the soil throughout its life, spreading outwards as it grows. Given time, it will arch over the edges of a pot, but will generally cease growth before it arches to the ground below. Watering requirements vary depending on the time of year, giving growers a difficult time.

How it looks: Remaining within three inches of the soil, this plant will take over any area it is introduced to. Leaves are generally small and round in shape, coming from squat, running stems.

Flowers occur in the early summer months, and are usually a greenish-white color, with petals showing the whitest parts toward their outer edges. When pollinated, these flowers turn into plump, low-lying berries that resemble pins in a pin cushion or beads on a blooming coral.

Flowering: Encouraging the coral bead plant to bloom is a matter of providing adequate light, heat, and watering year-round to the plant. When all conditions have been properly met, the plant will bloom on its own.

The small flowers should not be disturbed during pollination. Once flowering occurs, the temperature of the plant must be carefully monitored to ensure berry creation.

Poisonous: The berries of this plant are known to be mildly poisonous, creating only mild poisoning symptoms in children and animals who have been known to consume more than a dozen of the berries.


Origin:Various pacific ocean areas.
Names:Coral bead, pin cushion plant (common). Nertera granadensis (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx):Height 5 in/13 cm, diameter depends on pot size and plant maturity.
Poisonous for pets:Toxic to cats and dogs.

Coral Bead Plant Care

Temperature:Nertera granadensis prefers temperatures on the cooler side. The plant should remain at 55-65ºF (13-18ºC) all year round. Occasional temperature spikes as high as 80ºF (26ºC) and low as 40ºF (4ºC) are tolerated, but must be remedied within a week for the plant’s health. Temperatures above 65ºF (18ºC) during flowering will result in no berries produced during that season.
Light:This plant demands a source of light that is bright, yet indirect, in order to maintain its health.
Watering:Requires different watering demands depending upon the time of year that you are in. During the spring and summer, this plant should be kept moist at all times. Soil should be watered whenever it begins to feel dry, but never kept soggy. During summer months, the plant should remain on a saucer of wet pebbles to offer the increased moisture demanded. In autumn and winter, the plant’s soil should be permitted to dry almost completely before watering again.
Soil:This plant possesses a shallow root system. As such, the pot does not need to be more than a few inches deep. One part potting mix to one part perlite or tree bark is the preferred soil choice.
Fertilizer:A balanced fertilizer, diluted to one-half strength, should be applied to the plant in a misting fashion once a month throughout the year. Do not pour the fertilizer directly onto the soil, as it will sink beyond reach of the shallow root system.
Re-Potting:When needed, the coral bead plant should be re-potted in the spring season only. It will remain confined within its available space happily for its entire life, so re-potting is only needed if you desire a larger plant.
Humidity:During spring and summer months, this plant requires daily misting of the flowers and berries. In autumn and winter, occasional misting is needed on a weekly basis.
Propagation:For Nertera granadensis, propagation is best achieved by division. In the spring, pull a clump of the plant away from the mother plant and pot it its own location. Seed and tip cuttings are other propagation methods, but require years to reach maturity.
Common Problems:Plants that are too hot will refuse to produce berries, even after producing flowers. Exposure to excessive sunlight will cause the leaves to burn and the berries to shrivel.

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