How to Propagate Plants by Layering Method

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types of layering

Whether you are looking to find cost effective ways to increase the number of plants in your garden or

you are the type that loves gifting plants then propagation is what you should do. The technique is

utterly easy, requires no intervention and if carefully done you will have a few extra plants for your




What is layering?

Layering is the process of propagating a plant by manipulating a low hanging stem or branch into

generating root by burying a part of it in the ground without severing it from the parent. This means

unlike propagating by cutting the stem in layering receives water and nutrients until it can do the same

from its own roots. When it does, it is severed from the parent and grown as an independent plant.

Layering is also seen as a naturally occurring method by which many plants such as spider plant,

strawberry, date palm and many types of cactus.


Which plants can be propagated by layering?

There are many plants that can be propagated using layering technique. Almost every climber can be

propagated by layering. Other plants include, but not limited to, clematis, honeysuckle, hydrangea,

jasmine, climbing roses, wisteria, camellia, rhododendron, boxwood and viburnum. Even large trees

such as apples are propagated by layering.


Types of Layering

There are primarily two types of layering techniques – ground layering and air layering. Ground layering

as the name suggests requires the stem to be buried in the ground for root development whereas air

layering is done on the plant itself. Depending on the type of plant, it takes from around a few weeks to

a year for the roots to form. When you are sure the roots are well-formed you can sever the stem from

the parent plant.


Ground Layering

The stem has to be dormant, low-growing, pliable and long enough to reach the ground with at least a

foot and a half extra. Typical layering includes measuring around 20cm or 8 to 9inches from the tip and

removing the leaves for 5cm on either side. Take care to cleanly snip the leaves instead of just plucking

them. Wound the area that is to be buried giving a shallow cut along the length. (Do not cut too deep or

sever the stem.


ground layering


Lightly bend the wounded part of the stem to the ground or to a pot filled with compost with a hollow

hole and secure it using a wire hoop. Now cover the stem with compost. Keep track of the soil’s

moisture content and sprinkle water regularly to maintain the required moisture.

There are a few variations of ground layering. If the plant is a climber and has a very long low-growing

stem, then more than one layer can be propagated. The stem can be buried more than once with the

stem exposed in between. Another method is tip layering in which the tip of current season’s shoot is

buried. The tip with time begins to grow upwards and form roots becoming an independent plant.


Air Layering

Air Layering













Air layering is used for large houseplants or woody plants with stems that are quite grown. For this

method, choose a shoot from previous season or from late summer and for woody plants choose stems

that are thicker than a pencil. Remove the leaves for around 3 to 4 inches on either side of a node. Make

a cut of 1 inch, and for house plants remove the bark of that length instead. Wrap the wound with moist

sphagnum moss or cloth, which again should be wrapped and taped with a plastic sheet or aluminum

foil so that no moisture enters or leaves the enclosure.


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