Fittonia Nerve Plant Propagation – Which is better, water or soil?

There are two different methods for Fittonia Nerve Plant propagation: in soil or in water. But which works best? We tested both methods out and reveal which one produces more roots.

Here’s how to propagate the Fittonia Nerve Plant:

Cutting the Fittonia Nerve Plant for indoor houseplant propagation

Take a stem cutting from a mature Nerve Plant. Use clean, sharp scissors and cut off a piece at least two inches in length.

Fittonia Nerve Plant cutting for indoor houseplant propagation

Remove lower leaves by gently plucking them off.

Water Propagation

Water propagation of Fittonia Nerve Plant indoor houseplant

For water propagation, simply pop the cutting into a container of water. Tap water is fine, as long as it is soft water and not hard water. Hard water is water that has high mineral content. If your local water supply is mineral dense, then consider getting distilled water from the store. I didn’t change the water for the whole duration of the propagation, however you might want to consider replenishing the water once a week.

Soil Propagation

Dipping Fittonia Nerve Plant in rooting hormone (ground cinnamon) for indoor houseplant propagation.

Prepare some well-draining potting mix for your cutting. You can use a special seedling-starter potting mix, however I used my regular premium potting mix which was premixed with peat moss.

Before placing your cutting in the soil, dip the end of the stem into some rooting hormone. If you don’t have rooting hormone, ground cinnamon is a good alternative!

Rooting the Fittonia Nerve plant in soil for indoor houseplant propagation.

Gently plant your cutting into the soil and make sure it’s secure.

Increasing humidity for Fittonia Nerve Plant indoor houseplant propagation.

Since I had such a small cutting of my Nerve Plant, I wanted to give it as much humidity as possible to ensure it survives. I covered both my soil and water propagated cuttings with a glass jar to produce a greenhouse effect. You can also use a ziplock bag or clear plastic container to increase humidity for your cutting.

Check the soil to make sure it doesn’t dry out. I didn’t have to water or spray my cutting at all during the rooting process, but it is a good idea to check up on it, and add more moisture if required.

New growth on the plant is a positive sign that the rooting process is working

After one month I noticed new growth on the cutting propagating in soil! The two tiny leaves you see on the top is a good sign that roots have grown and developed.

After six weeks, I felt it was time to check on both my cuttings and see what the root growth is like.

The results for Fittonia Nerve Plant Propagation:

Comparison of roots showing the difference between soil propagation and water propagation.

As you can see, the roots that were developed in the soil are much fuller and more established than the roots that were produced in the water. Both methods are pretty straight forward, so it really comes down to personal preference. Some people really like to see the roots grow, so they choose water propagation. Others want to go straight to soil so the plant can produce new leaves more quickly.

Which method do you prefer? Leave a comment below.

This propagation project was inspired by these resources:

Lessya’s Leaves and The Spruce

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