What Is Plant Layering: Learn About Plant Propagation By Layering

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By Anne Baley

Everyone is familiar with propagating plants by saving seeds and most people know about taking cuttings and rooting them to create new plants. A less familiar way to clone your favorite plants is propagation by layering. There are a number of layering propagation techniques, but all of them work by causing the plant to grow roots along a stem, and then cutting the rooted stem top from the base plant. This allows you to create a number of fresh new plants where you formerly only had bare stems, and will make perfect copies of your favorite plant varieties.

Plant Layering Information

What is plant layering? Layering involves burying or covering a part of a stem to create a new plant. When looking for plant layering information, you’ll find five basic techniques to try, depending on the type of plant you want to propagate.


simple-layeringSimple layering – Simple layering is done by bending a stem until the middle touches the soil. Push the center of the stem underground and hold it in place with a U-shaped pin. Roots will form along the part of the stem that’s underground.

tip-layeringTip layering – Tip layering works by pushing the very tip or point of a stem underground and holding it in place with a pin.

Serpentine layeringSerpentine layering – Serpentine layering works for long, flexible branches. Push a portion of the stem underground and pin it. Weave the stem above the soil, then back down again. This method gives you two plants instead of just one.

MoundingMound layering – Mound layering is used for heavy-stemmed shrubs and trees. Clip the main stem down to the ground and cover it. The buds at the end of the stem will form into a number of rooted branches.

Air-LayeringAir layering – Air layering is done by peeling the bark from the middle of a branch and covering this exposed wood with moss and plastic wrap. Roots will form inside the moss, and you can cut the rooted tip from the plant.

What Plants Can Be Propagated by Layering?

What plants can be propagated by layering? Any bushes or shrubs with flexible stems such as:

Woody plants that lose their leaves along the stem, like rubber trees, and even vine plants such as philodendron can all be propagated via layering.

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