How to Layer Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Houseplants

Learn all there is to know about layering outside plants and houseplants.

By David Squire
May 2017


Propagation (Fox Chapel, 2016), by David Squire, is the essential guide to raising new plants for the home and garden for both novice and experienced gardeners. Squire contributes his lifetime experience with cultivated and native plants with an interest in historical medicinal roles, folklore, and customs of plants. This excerpt is from “Division and Layering” section.

This is both an easy and an assured way to increase shrubs, trees and vines. However, it is not quick and may take up to a year before the layer develops roots and can be severed from the parent plant. It is then planted either into a nursery bed or directly into a border. For shrubs and trees to be layered, it is essential that a relatively young shoot is low enough to be lowered to the soil, and sufficiently pliable to be bent into position with its tip upright.

Preparing the Ground

Layering is an excellent way for home gardeners to increase shrubs and vines, but the area where the stem is layered must be left undisturbed for up to a year. Therefore, before starting to layer a plant, remove all weeds from the area, especially perennial types that will regularly produce new shoots unless their roots are dug up.