Simple layering is a quick and easy technique that can help you grow shrubs, climbers, raspberries and other harder to root plants
Layering is a propagation technique that allows you to grow new plants from old by encouraging an offshoot or low branch to root in the soil next to your parent plant, whilst it’s still attached. The parent plant provides all the nutrients until your new one is ready to be cut away.
This method is best reserved for shrubs that are generally more difficult to root from cuttings, such as azalea or camellia.
You’ll need to be patient when layering as it can take up to 18 months for your new plant to be ready to survive on its own, but you won’t need to tend to it in the same way you would a seedling. The best time to do this is either spring or autumn.
Layering often happens naturally, especially in forests where the ground can be moist. Branches will touch the floor and begin to root on their own in this kind of dense foliage. It’s a great way for you to grow more shrubs and deciduous plants to fill your garden with beautiful greenery.
There are several layering techniques, and some are more complex than others. In this guide we are going to show you how to do simple ground layering.
You might need:
Choose a flexible healthy young shoot at the base of the shrub, long enough to extend easily down to the ground.
Use a sharp garden knife to make a shallow cut in the underside of the shoot where it will touch the ground in a slanting cut, no larger than half way through the stem.
To aid the rooting process, you could apply some rooting gel to the cut..
Fork some compost or soil improver into the soil and scoop out a shallow hole, 8–10cm deep.
Secure the nicked part of the shoot in the hole with a U-shaped metal peg pushed into the ground. Leave the free end of the shoot above the ground. Cover the pegged part of the ground with more potting compost and firm it in with your fingers.
Push a cane into the ground near the free end, being careful not to dislodge the peg
Carefully bend the stem upwards and tie it loosely to the cane with garden twine.
Water the area well and keep the ground where it’s growing moist throughout the next growing season. Don’t forget to check the cane support and add or loosen the twine when necessary.
After 18 months to 2 years, once the new plant has established, cut the original stem from where it enters the ground and remove the support.