Propagating Plants: Layering Shrubs and Climbers

The stems of climbers and shrubs sometimes root when they touch the soil, and you can harness this tendency to make new plants.
Pink Rhododendron Blossoms

Pink Rhododendron Blossoms

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - How to Grow
Similar Topics:

Plants to Layer

  • aucuba
  • flowering quince
  • smokebush
  • Erica
  • fothergilla
  • honeysuckle
  • magnolia
  • passion flower
  • skimmia
  • lilac
  • viburnum
  • weigela
  • wisteria

Make a Slanting Cut

In spring, from the base of the plant select a flexible stem that bends to the ground. Remove side stems and make a shallow slanting cut on the underside, 12 inches from the tip. Dip the cut in rooting hormone compound.

Angled Cuts for Flexible Stems

Angled Cuts for Flexible Stems

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Peg Down Stem Into Soil

Use wire staples or a large stone to firmly anchor the wounded section of stem just below the soil surface. To aid rooting in poorer soils, pin the stem into a shallow depression filled with moist potting soil.

How to Salvage Damaged Stems

How to Salvage Damaged Stems

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Other Layering Techniques

Basic layering works for a wide range of shrubs, and by varying the technique, you can also use it to propagate woody climbers and fruit bushes.

Ivy and Honeysuckle

Climbers, such as ivy and honeysuckle, often root where their stems are in contact with the soil. Either pin stems down yourself in fall or spring, or check your plants for any stems that have rooted naturally. Use a hand fork to lift any stems with roots, and cut them between each rooted section to make new plants, which you can then grow on.

Blackberries

In summer, propagate blackberries and their hybrids by burying the tip of a healthy, young stem in a hole 4 inches deep. In a few weeks a new shoot will appear; transplant it the following spring.

Bury Stem of Blackberry Plant in Soil to Propagate

Bury Stem of Blackberry Plant in Soil to Propagate

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Next Up

Planting a Shrub

Use these step-by-step instructions to easily plant an evergreen shrub.

Planting Shrubs from Containers

If you have just bought a container-grown shrub, first water it well by plunging it in water for about an hour, then allow it to drain. 

Plant a Shady Border

Some of the most beautiful shrubs grow well only in low light conditions. Here's how to create a colorful planting bed with shrubs and underplanted perennials.

How to Prune Shrubs

When you prune a shrub depends mostly on when it blooms. Here are the basics of pruning woody plants.

How to Plant Shrubs

Learn how to plant shrubs in your garden with these five easy steps. 

How to Plant a Currant Bush

Like glittering rubies, red currants ripen on the bush from midsummer.

How to Plant Shrubs

Shrubs add structure and fill out your garden, providing density and dimensionality where it's most needed. They're simpler to install than you may know. Here, we walk you through it.

How to Propagate with Hardwood Cuttings

Use this propagation method for deciduous trees, shrubs, roses, and climbers.

How to Transplant a Shrub

If you decide that a shrub is in the wrong place, you can simply move it.

Pruning Early-Flowering Shrubs

Eager shrubs that flower in early summer should be trimmed when blooms fade. Follow these simple steps to inspire new blossoms.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Renovation Raiders

6:30am | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30am | 6:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

House Hunters

11:30am | 10:30c

House Hunters

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
Tonight
Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.