Simple and Compound Layering: A Guide to Cloning Your Favorite Plants Simple and Compound Layering: A Guide to Cloning Your Favorite Plants

Why Propagate Your Existing Plants?

Landscaping your garden or yard often means the purchase of stock plants, seeds and bulbs from nurseries or garden centers. However, this can prove costly, and if you already have a good stock of your own well established plants, then why not try propagating your own stock? It will be less costly and give you a much greater sense of satisfaction when your garden flourishes and blooms because of the hard work you have put in. Layering is one form of propagation that is especially useful because you only require a small number of specimens to propagate from.

What Is Layering?

Specifically, layering is cloning a number of plants from one parent specimen. The propagated children remain attached to the parent throughout the majority of the process, meaning that your new stock plants should be as healthy and attractive as the specimens. Layering is actually a very simple process and you will not risk the original plant in any way by trying to clone it. The basic principle is that a stem that is still attached to a parent plant may form its own roots if it is given the correct conditions. In many cases, these conditions need only be the same soil as the parent plant.

The Simple Layering Method

The simplest method of layering is earth cloning, and can be performed within seconds producing good results. Find a specimen you want to clone that has a low-lying stem above or at ground level. Remove a little dirt from the area where the stem bows the most and gently bend the stem into the hole you have created and cover this section with dirt. You should leave the end of the stem protruding from the ground so you will have the appearance that you now have two plants. In order to ensure that the stem does not break out of the hole, you may want to stake it in place before covering it up, but with enough dirt this shouldn’t be necessary.

Compound Layering

If there is a particularly long and healthy stem, you may want to consider compound layering. This works in precisely the same way as simple layering except because the stem is long, you are able to bury more than one section, potentially giving you multiple clones from one stem. Compound layering works particularly well with plants that naturally have long stems such as vine plants.

Tips to Help Ensure that the Stem Roots

Some practitioners damage the underside of the bend in order to encourage the stem to take root. Similarly, the creation of a sharp curve by pinning the stem underground may also encourage rooting to take place. There are also other forms of layering you may want to consider, including air layering for plants that do not have low lying branches or for indoor plants and also mound layering and tip layering but simple and compound are the two simplest forms of cloning plants.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!