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Layering

A simple way to propagate with great success

Layering generally refers to the intentional wounding of a plant to cause it to form roots. There are many different kinds of layering, but for our purposes, air layering is the most common.

Air layering works well with most, but not all, woody plants. As a propagation method, its advantages are many: The new plant will be a clone of the mother; there is a high success rate, with minimal disturbance to either the new plant or mother; and the new plant tends to be stronger and more mature than if started from other methods.

It is also quite simple to do. First, make an upward wound on a branch of the mother plant in the form of a slit 1/3 of the way through the branch. Place a toothpick within the wound to keep it open, then pack damp moss around the cut, securing it in place with plastic and tape or twist ties. The entire package should be airtight so that the moss doesn't dry out.

Roots will eventually grow around the cut (three weeks to several months), at which time the branch can be severed two inches below the root ball and the entire branch planted.