Layering for New Plants

Updated on June 1, 2018
Nolimits Nana profile image

Nicolette Goff is a watercolourist, writer, and dedicated gardener. Her books, articles and paintings reveal her love of nature.

Blackberries will layer naturally, forming mats of brambles.
Blackberries will layer naturally, forming mats of brambles. | Source

Some Saturday morning this spring or early summer, take a few minutes to produce some new shrubs from your favorite ones by layering. You can layer to propagate berry bushes such as currants and gooseberries, bramble fruits like raspberries and blackberries, and even grapevines. If you'd like to expand your groundcover, then start new plants of pachysandra or periwinkle by layering.

Ornamental shrubs such as barberry, escallonia, daphne, flowering quince, forsythia, lilacs, magnolias, mock orange, shrub roses, viburnum, wisteria, azaleas, and rhododendrons are all candidates for layering.

Many of these plants layer naturally, when a low branch happens to touch the ground and roots sprout. I've given away several rosemary bushes that naturally layered. My new escallonia plants, created by unintentional layering, are ready to transplant to a new location.

So, why not propagate intentionally and expand your collection of favorite cultivars?

Another form of natural layering is plants that send out stolons, such as strawberries, ajuga, and spider plant; or plants that have offsets, such as bananas, many bromeliads, and hens and chicks.

Methods of Layering

Unlike cuttings, a layered branch is nourished by the parent plant while the roots are forming, so timing isn't as critical. The best time, however, is during early spring or summer, when the plant is actively growing.

There are several methods of layering: simple layering, trench layering, compound layering, tip layering, mounding, and air layering.

Simple layering.
Simple layering.

Simple Layering

Look for a healthy branch on your shrub that is growing close to the ground. These are the easiest branches to layer. Cut or stress the cambium layer where you want the rooting to occur, but be careful not to sever it completely. Scrape back the soil to form a depression beneath the branch, and remove any leaves that would be under soil. Peg the stressed stem into the dip and cover with soft soil.

If you want, you can apply rooting hormone to encourage rooting, but this is not really necessary. You may need to place a rock on top, to prevent any movement. This method works well with rhododendrons and azaleas, currants, forsythia, cornus, box, rosemary, and climbing roses.

Tip layering.
Tip layering.

Tip Layering

This is a good method of layering, successful with plants like forsythias and bramble bushes. Just peg the tip of a branch under soil, and wait for new growth to appear and good roots to form.

This is how blackberry or brambles can soon over-run an area in the wild!

Compound layering.
Compound layering.

Trench and Compound Layering

Trench layering is similar to simple layering, but with this you are using a much longer section of plant, and you'll have multiple new plants rather than one.

With compound layering, you are layering a long stem, with some plant (with a bud or leaf section) exposed and some covered to root. Honeysuckle, grapevines, and wisteria are all good candidates for this method, as the long flexible vines are easy to bury in a trench, each section with a bud showing above ground.

Notice how some groundcovers send out runners, which root at leaf junctions. This is another example of natural layering.

Mound layering.
Mound layering.

Mound Layering

By covering the base of a plant with extra soil or compost and allowing the plant some time to form roots on the buried branches, you can create newly rooted plants.

Small shrubs like heather, thyme, and oregano work great with this technique.

Air layering.
Air layering.

Air Layering

This is a more complex way of layering, and it differs in that you are not burying a branch in the soil, but using an aerial branch to root. Again, the branch is wounded or abraded, and rooting hormone applied to encourage rooting.

Then the area is packed with damp peat moss and wrapped with a piece of black plastic. Both ends of the plastic must be tied to seal them. Once roots have formed, simply cut below the plastic, and plant your new shrub.

This works well for rhododendrons, magnolias, and ficus.

Additional Tips

An old cottager's custom was to insert a grain of wheat into the slit or cut in the branch. This has two purposes — it keeps the cut open and, as it sprouts in the damp earth, it releases growth hormones that stimulate rooting. So, if you're having trouble getting rooting to start, give it a try.

With layering and a bit of patience, you'll get a lot more bang for your landscaping buck. A single bush could have the makings of a whole hedge in just one year!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        varunkandepu 8 years ago

        its B E A utiful!!!!!!!!!!1

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)