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Plant Propagation by Layering Method

Layering is a technique of plant propagation where a portion of the remains attached to the parent plant, while growing new roots. The stem is then detached as a new plant. The best time to layer is in late winter and early spring.

The plant propagation by layering method has high success rate as compared to the propagation from cuttings. This is because in the layering method, the portion being propagated continues to receive water and nutrients from the parent plant while it is forming roots.

Plant Layering Methods For Propagation

Blackberry plant grown from tip layering method
Blackberry plant grown from tip layering method

There are two ways to layer plants.

Ground-Layering Method For Propagation 

The ground-layering is the simplest method. This method is good for layering shrubs where their low branches can be bent and buried in soil to develop roots. This method is good for camellias, jasmine, mandevilla, daphne, the boxwood, forsythia, blackberries, etc.

1. Tip Layering

Select a healthy stem tip about 15 centimetre long and scrape the top layer of the stem to expose the cambium layer and then bury in the ground. You will see new growth in 2-3 months time, then cut it off from the parent plant and then transplant it as a new plant.

2. Simple Layering

This is done by bending the middle of a stem and pushing it underground and kept in place with a U-shaped pin. Roots will form at the stem that is underground.

3. Serpentine Layering

You can also put 2-3 portions of the stem underground in a serpentine manner. The serpentine layering works for long, flexible branches.

Air Layering Method For Propagation

Rubber plant air-layering
Rubber plant air-layering

The air layering or aerial layering method is the most reliable and the easiest layering method to clone a plant. It produces a genetically identical tree, so it is a vey good method, specially for a fruit tree to create a copy of the tree.

In air layering, the plant is wounded and some rooting hormone is optionally applied around the wound which encourages to grow roots. It is then surrounded in a moist medium such as sphagnum or coir peat moss, which is wrapped in a polyethylene sheet to retain moisture inside. The stem from the parent plant is removed when sufficient roots grow at the wound.

In this method, the air layer can even be left unattended for long periods to grow stronger roots, without the roots dying. 

Woody plants such as  magnolias, rhododendrons, fruits trees and many Australian natives are perfect for aerial layering. 

Watch YouTube Videos on Propagation by air layering method

Rubber plant propagation from air layering