Simple Layering

Many plants, such as climbers and shrubs may be propagated by simple layering. In this technique, a young plant with vigorous, flexible stems has one of its shoots stripped of its leaves and brought down to the ground. A sharp, slanting cut is made on the underside of the shoot, which is then bent into a U shape and pegged to the ground so that the cut is buried. The shoot tip is tied to a short cane pushed vertically into the ground. It can take anywhere up to two years before the layer is sufficiently well-rooted to be detached from the parent shrub and transplanted.


Simple layering is best carried out in early spring when the parent plant is still dormant or late summer when the wood is mature.

  1. Choose a low-growing healthy branch stem that may be easily bent to touch the soil. Strip off any leaves and sideshoots, retaining those at the tip.
  2. Hold the stem 22-30 cm (9-12 in) from the tip and mark where this point reaches the ground. Dig a hole 8 cm (3 in) deep and enrich the area with compost. Ideally, you should make the side of the hole where the stem joins the parent plant into a shallow slope.
  3. Insert a cane at the opposite end of the hole.
  4. Make a short slanting cut on the underside of the stem to form a tongue of bark. This wound will produce extra carbohydrates and hormones, which helps to promote root growth.
  5. Twist the branch slightly to open the cut and apply hormone rooting powder to encourage rooting further and prevent disease.
  6. Peg the stem with bent wire, so that the cut potion is secured in contact with the soil.
  7. Bend the stem tip upwards and secure it to the cane.
  8. Backfill the hole with soil, firm and then water in well using a watering can fitted with a fine rose.
  9. Leave the plant to root for six months to two years, making sure that the ground is kept moist throughout the growing season.
  10. Once rooted, the layered plant may be severed from the parent plant. It should be left in place for at least a few weeks (preferably a season) before digging up and transplanting or grown on in individual pots.