How to propagate Fittonia (Nerve Plant)? Stem cutting

Explain the easiest methods for Fittonia (Nerve Plant) propagation. 1. Stem Cuttings 2. Leaf Cuttings. Step-by-step instructions illustrated with pictures. Includes tips and FAQs to increase the chances of successful propagation (Fitonia survival).
One of the easiest methods for Fittonia propagation is by using stem cuttings.  The first part of the article explains how to do stem cuttings.  The second part of the article explains how to propagate Fittonia by leave cuttings. At the end of the article, it explains the three different ways of cuttings (plant).

How to propagate Fittonia (Nerve Plant)? Stem cutting

Propagate Fittonia by Stem Cutting


  1. Plastic cups
  2. One Plastic Ziploc bag
  3. Houseplant soil
  4. Spoon (or shovel), fork, sprayer
  5. Scissors or Trimming shears
  6. Tissue paper (or cloth) for cleaning


Propagating Fittonia
  1. Cut the Fittonia stems, selecting stems with 4 to 5 leaves.
  2. Put some houseplant soil into the two plastic cups.  The reason to use clear plastic cups is - to allow you to see the root development clearly.
  3. Place the cut-stems about an inch down into the soil, and then pack the soil around the base of the stem.
  4. Water the cuttings, place them into a plastic ziploc bag, and then spray them with water.
  5. Blow air into the bag to expand it so that the plants have room to grow. Once the air has been blown into the bags.  Close the bags and place them on the top of a storage cabinet, which is about a foot below the fluorescent lighting fixture.

Every couple of days, spray more water, blow air into the bag, and reseal it.


May I know why ziplock bag is required? Can I just leave it in the open? How long does it take to see growth?

Ziplock is required to maintain humidity until it forms roots else the plant and leaves wilt. It takes about 10 days to 14 days to form root.

Did you add drainage holes? I've seen it done with them and without, so just wondering if you add the holes.

No, I did not add any drainage holes this time. I will have to try that with the next batch of Fittonia that I propagate. Thank you for the advice!

I placed my Fittonia in ziplock bag for about 3 weeks. I saw 3 young shoots. I bring it out of bag but it go limp again. May I ask if you have this experience? Or know what went wrong?

Plants, much like people, need some time to adjust to new surroundings. Instead of just taking the bag off all at once. Do one of the following methods to let the plant adapt to the surroundings gradually.

Method 1 - How to get plant to adapt to the surroundings:

Punch a few holes in the bag (using a hole-punch/etc) and gradually bringing in the humidity.

Method 2 - How to get plant to adapt to the surroundings:

  1. Remove the plants from the bag for a short period of time (30 mins - 1 hour for the first time or two). Then place the plants back in the bag. 
  2. Do this every day, gradually increasing the amount of time spent out of the bag until eventually removing the bag all together. 

Propagate Fittonia by Leave Cutting

Fittonia propagates readily from leaf-tip cuttings.
  1. Take the leaf-tip cuttings in late spring or early summer, at the same time you repot the plant. Make sure to include at least two growing nodes on the cutting to obtain the best results.
  2. Once you've potted up the cutting in a peat-based soil mix, you can expect roots to sprout within two to three weeks.
  3. Use of a rooting hormone is not usually necessary, but if your conditions are less than ideal (too dry or too cool), rooting hormone might increase your chances of success.

What are: stem cutting, root cutting and leaf cutting?

A plant cutting is a piece of a plant that is used in horticulture for vegetative (asexual) propagation.  A piece of the stem or root of the source plant is cut off and placed in a suitable medium such as moist soil.  If the conditions are suitable, the plant piece will begin to grow as a new plant independent of the parent, a process known as striking.  There are three types of plant cuttings:
  • A stem cutting produces new roots.
  • root cutting produces new stems. 
  • leaf cutting produces both stems and roots. 
Propagating plants from cuttings is an ancient form of cloning. There are several advantages of cuttings, mainly that the produced offspring are practically clones of their parent plants.  If a plant has favorable traits, it can continue to pass down its advantageous genetic information to its offspring.  This is especially economically advantageous as it allows commercial growers to clone a certain plant to ensure consistency throughout their crops.


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How to propagate Nerve Plant? Stem-cutting Fittonia

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