How To Propagate Fittonia: Step By Step

Propagating a nerve plant is one of the easiest ways to get a free plant to enjoy, give away, or give new life to a tired old plant. Many people don’t attempt it out of fear that they will ruin their existing plant, or because they think it will be too difficult. Fortunately, nerve plants are more easy-going than you may think. Read on to find out how to propagate your Fittonia properly, and which method is best.

Can You Propagate a Nerve Plant?

can you propagate a nerve plant

Fittonia is a relatively simple plant to propagate. All you need are some healthy cuttings, and a place to put them. 

Here’s how to propagate your plant in soil:

1. Select Your Cuttings

Survey your nerve plant to determine which section to start a new plant with. Look for long, healthy shoots that have been growing well.

2. Carefully Snip the Cuttings

Use sharp pruning shears or gardening scissors to cut the stems of your cuttings. Keep in mind how you want your original plant to look, and don’t leave it looking too sparse.

3. Strategically Remove Leaves

Cut the leaves off of the bottom inch of the stem. You will only need about 2-3 pairs of leaves on the top of the stem, so you can remove the extras as well. 

4. Get Your Pots Ready

Fittonia can be propagated either in seed trays or small pots. Fill the containers with an all-purpose soil mix. 

5. Prepare the Soil

Water the soil before you put the cuttings in. It should be moist, but not completely soaked. Next, poke a small hole just about half an inch into the soil.

6. Place the Cuttings

Stick the cuttings into the holes that you made, and smooth the soil out around the base of the plant. 

7. Create a Humid Environment

The easiest way to do this is by covering the pot with an open plastic ziplock bag to keep moisture in. You’ll want it to be clear so you can easily check your plant’s progress. 

8. Find the Perfect Spot

Nerve plant cuttings should be placed in a warm room with bright, indirect sunlight.

Can You Water Propagate Fittonia?

can you water propagate fittonia

There is some debate amongst gardeners as to which method is best for propagating Fittonia. Some prefer growing cuttings in soil, while others swear by water propagation.  

The truth is either method works just fine. Water propagation is great if you want to be able to see the roots growing. 

Here’s how you can propagate your nerve plant cuttings in water:

1. Find a Container

All you need is a small glass jar, vase, or bottle (one for each cutting). You can also build or buy a propagation rack to display your baby plants. 

2. Fill the Receptacle

Fill up your container of choice with room temperature water. 

3. Place the Plants in the Water 

Make sure the bottom of the stem is always covered with water. Keep an eye on it daily, and replace the water as it gets absorbed.

4. Find a Home For Your Cuttings

Just like with the soil method, find a room with bright, indirect sunlight to keep your cuttings. 

Things to Remember

If you’re growing your plant in soil, check the moisture level of the potting mix each day. Make sure it stays moist, but not waterlogged.

You should also be on the lookout for any mold that may start growing in the soil. If this happens, you’ll need to reduce the humidity level. Try poking holes in the bag first, and remove the bag altogether if that doesn’t help.

If you’re using the water propagation method, check the quality of the water regularly. If the water starts to turn green or algae is infiltrating, just change out the water. 

Water propagated cuttings can be moved into their permanent containers once you see several roots and leaves growing. You can either put them into their own container or add them back into the pot with the parent plant to make your plant look fuller.

The video below shows you all of the steps for both water and soil propagation. The YouTuber then compares the progress that each of the cuttings has made over time.

If you’re curious and have a lot of cuttings to spare, you set up an experiment by trying out propagation in both soil and water, and seeing which method you like better.

It’s a good idea to document your trials for you to reference later or give advice to a fellow gardener. Do you need more help with your nerve plant? Here’s our guide about wilting problems that you may experience.

2 thoughts on “How To Propagate Fittonia: Step By Step”

    • Some plants can grow from just a leaf, not even the entire stem – but Fittonia is not one of these! You will need to use a stem, with the bottom few leaves removed, to grow a new Fittonia.


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