layering is a means of propagation whereby
a part of a woody plant is induced to develop
roots by wounding the stem of the
plant and enclosing it in moist moss.
In a matter of weeks or months,
depending on the plant, roots will
form from the cut area. When the roots
are well developed the new plant is
removed from the parent plant by
cutting off just below the roots and
potting it separately.
PROCEDURE FOR AIR LAYERING
For optimum rooting make air layers in the
spring on shoots produced during the previous season or in mid-summer on
mature shoots from the current season's growth. On woody plants, stems of
pencil size or larger are best. The stem may be much thicker on the more
1) With a sharp knife, make two parallel
cuts about 1 1/2" apart around the stem and through the bark and
cambium layer. Connect the two parallel cuts with one long cut and remove
the ring of bark leaving the inner woody tissue exposed.
2) Apply a rooting hormone such as Rootone®
F to the wound then apply a handful of damp sphagnum moss so that it
surrounds the wounded portion of the stem. Tying the moss in place with
string helps keep it in position while completing the process. The
sphagnum moss should be soaked several hours to insure that it is
thoroughly moist. Wring out excess water before using as too much moisture
will cause decay and deterioration of the plant tissue.
3) Wrap clear plastic such as Saran Wrap or
sandwich bag type plastic around the sphagnum moss several times and
secure it (wrap it) with electricians tape at the top and at the bottom.
This seal should be such that excess water can escape but moisture will be
4) After the new roots have penetrated the
moss ball and are visible on all sides (this may take anywhere from a few
weeks to several months), remove the newly rooted plant from the parent
plant with a sharp knife or pruning shears, making the cut just below the
ball of moss and roots.
remove the plastic without disturbing
the roots or removing the ball of moss and plant in a container using a
good potting mixture or plant in a well-prepared soil bed.
Sources: Plant Propagation by
Layering: Instructions for the Home Gardener 1/99 HIL-8701, Erv
Evans, Extension Associate Frank A. Blazich, Professor Department of
Horticultural Science, NC State University; Air Layering for
Difficult-to-Root Plants, Everett E. Janne, Extension landscape
horticulturist, Texas Agricultural Extension Service