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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.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
Propagate Rhododendron by Rooting Stems How To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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.

Make Slanting Cut on Flexible StemHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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.

Peg Down Stem into Soil to RootHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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.

  • Use Hand Fork to Lift Out Ivy for ReplantingHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010
  • Peg Ivy Down at Intervals to Produce New PlantsHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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 PropagateHow To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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