Layering is a technique for plant propagation that is in essence a form of taking cuttings; the difference being that in layering, the shoots of the plant are encouraged to grow roots before being severed from the parent plant. This method is particularly good for shrubs that grow branches close to the ground, such as viburnums and rhododendrons, and also for plants such as magnolia, which do not propagate easily by other means.

Layering techniques may be divided into three main groups: air layering, where the growing medium is brought up to the plant stem; techniques where the stem is brought down to the growing medium (natural, serpentine, simple and tip layering); and techniques where the growing medium is mounded over a stem (French layering, mound layering (stooling) and trench layering). The growing medium may be soil, peat, sand, sawdust or sphagnum moss.

This propagation technique is useful for increasing stocks of plants, and whilst it may not be particularly rapid, it produces strong, well-adapted plants without the often labour-intensive steps required when growing cuttings.

Air Layering
A handy propagation technique for plants that do not have branches or stems that may be easily lowered to the ground.
Simple Layering
A useful propagation technique for plants with flexible stems or branches, such as forsythia, climbing roses, rhododendrons or honeysuckle.
Serpentine Layering
A modified version of simple layering, used for plants with long, flexible shoots such as wisteria and clematis.
Natural Layering
A technique used for plants such as strawberries that have stems that spontaneously root when they make contact with the soil.
Tip Layering
A good layering technique for plants that naturally strike roots when their tips touch the ground, such as raspberries and blackberries.
Mound Layering
A propagation technique that can be used with woody shrubs such as rosemary, cotoneaster, lavender and the rootstocks of tree fruits.
French Layering
Also known as continuous layering, this technique may be used to increase the stock of deciduous shrubs such as dogwoods.
Trench Layering
This method is useful for plants whose buds break and grow under the soil, such as grapes and willows.