image of planter of fittonia and tradescantia

My 3 Worst Divas and Drama Queen Houseplants

Do you have a few plants that are Drama Queens? or Divas? I have a few of those and I am going to list the top three today. Maybe when I write this all out for my post, I can figure out for myself what I am doing wrong to my plants and adjust my behavior too. So here are my Drama Queen Houseplants listed in no particular order. Well, maybe these first two are the worst!

image of fittonia

Fittona or Nerve Plant

Usually this pretty and colorful plant is a small one but can spread outward and even dangle or cascade from a container. However, I have a problem with this plant when it always seems to be in a “fainting” posture.  Wilty, withered, crispy, demanding perfect treatment.

The Fittonia Drama Queen wants high humidity and constantly moist conditions, but in well draining soil. Too much and she faints, too little and she faints. And I do mean an all out collapse.  An all out little-leaf-hand against her forehead and swooning. Does she need water? Or is she too wet? Hard to figure out sometimes.

image of red fittonia

Do I have just the right light? She wants bright light but swoons in sunlight. The right temperature? She wants about 70°F and will begin fainting spells if you deviate much in either direction. See what I mean?

Fittonia does have a papery texture to me. I always feel like I am touching a paper plant. She even sounds like a paper plant when I rustle her leaves. And re-potting? She will pout for a long time, so avoid that if possible.

But she is so pretty, so I keep trying. I have her in terrariums and in regular pots. I am trying my best. But she is a Diva and she knows it!

Ficus pumila or Creeping Fig

My creeping fig is a sister Diva houseplant to the fittonia. She can behave in almost the same way.  Her preference is to get on your nerves, not about the light so much, as about her watering ideal.

This Drama Queen likes you to cater to her watering needs. Don’t water her until her top inch is dry, but if you are late and that top inch is dry down to 1.003 inches, she is, of course, dropping leaves faster than you can fill a watering pot.

image of creeping fig in birdcage planter

On the contrary, if I try and be proactive, and water her at her dry point of 0.990 inches, she also starts dropping leaves. “Are you trying to drown me?” she complains.

My only solution for her is to put her in a terrarium where I can keep her almost consistently humid and moist, but then she grows and fills a 5 gallon aquarium adapted to a terrarium in a really short time. She grows fast!

See how big she was when I took her out of the Terr-quarium in this post and video.  Her roots had spread over the entire bottom and I had to uproot everything to get her out of there.

image of fallen leaves from creeping fig

Right now I have her a few bird cage planters that she seems to be outgrowing. In spring, I plan to put some cuttings into an outdoor planter and see how well she does outside. I have a big wire “teapot” that I think she might cover pretty well. In my USDA Zone 6, she can’t live outside all year since the frost and cold would kill her. But that keeps her from being invasive since she can really go wild in more temperate zones.

Senecio rowleyanus or String of Bananas

I admit I am not doing well with this plant. But she continues to look so “stringy” and not full and lush. I have her hanging next to a String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)  and those seem to be doing well. Aren’t they needing the same or similar conditions?

Most people complain about String of Pearls but it appears to me that my nemesis is String of Bananas. Who knew?  So I guess it is not so much that she is a Diva or a Drama Queen Houseplant, but that I am not giving her the conditions she wants or needs so she is pouting.

image of string of pearls houseplant

My String of Pearls is hanging right next to the String of Bananas so they get the same light and I water them in a similar manner. But look how awful the SOB is compared to the SOP?

photo of string of bananas dying

I think she is too stringy and not enough “bananas” and seems so withered all the time. I am either over or under-watering her, so that needs to be fixed by me. I will re-pot her and inspect the roots and ends. As I do this, I will propagate some of her long trailing strings so that I can save a part of her in case I kill her.

image of stringy string of bananas plant

Which Are Your Drama Queen Houseplants?

You probably have a list of your problem houseplants. Let me know which houseplants you have problems with, and I can maybe offer a word of advice. I truly appreciate anything you can contribute to help me with my problems too.

I am SO looking forward to spring. Some of these can go outside and solve my problems pronto!


  1. Millet Bruce says:

    Hello Kim,

    I saw your post After the Ohio Freeze and my question is how did you manage to revive the violet vine plant looking beautiful and healthy again for the summer. My experience with this plant is it dries out on top at the base after some time. How do you keep this plant thriving?


    Millet B. (England, UK)

    1. I am sorry. I don’t know which plant you are referring to as “violet vine” in this post. Or do you mean a different post?

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