The stems of climbers and shrubs sometimes root when they touch the soil, and you can harness this tendency to make new plants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010