Pronounced ner-Ter-ra (from the Greek word ‘neteros, which means ‘low down’), the Nertera granadensis is also known as pincushion, bead plant and coral bead because it has neat and compact foliage that is decorated with a dense layer of bright and colourful ‘beads’.
The Nertera granadensis is a creeping, mat-forming plant that produces star-shaped flowers before small and round berries, usually orange in colour but also white, yellow and cream. There are also newer versions, including a mixed berry which combines yellow, white and orange berries on the one plant.
This plant originates from New Zealand, Eastern Australia, Southeast Asia and South America and typically grows in damp, cool places such as wetlands and marshes.
The Nertera granadensis is perennial and will flower in late spring and early summer providing it gets plenty of access to bright light. It can be propagated either by taking tip cuttings in the spring or by division. They can also be grown from seed, although these are harder to find.
The Nertera granadensis is part of the Rubiaceae or ‘madder’ family. The name of the genus comes from the Greek “nérteros” = inferior, lower, referring it’s the trailing on the ground condition. The Latin name of the species “granadensis” derives from New Granada, the old name of Colombia which is the place of provenience of the plant when first described, between 1717 and 1819.
This plant should ideally be placed somewhere that is cool and damp, but with some indirect light. Sheltered spots that have sufficient drainage are best, and the soil will need to dry out somewhat between each watering.
The plant benefits from a monthly feeding, when the berries begin to form. When the berries turn black, they are dead and should be removed. Once mature, the plants benefit from being repotted once every two years.
Did You Know?
The berries on the Nertera granadensis are mildly poisonous so care should be taken if you have young children or pets at home.