Propagating plants via cuttings is a well-known method but it is not the only method. There are many ways to multiply plants, some easier than others.
Today I'm going to delve a little into propagation via layering. The layering method has a lot of different varieties so more specifically, today we are going to cover 'ground layering'.
'Layering' is simply, stems or branches of a parent plant that touch the ground and form their own roots and create a baby plant that is a clone of the parent. Once established, the link between the parent and baby is cut. Because you get an exact clone of the parent plant, choosing the strongest plants to layer means you know what you're getting with these new plants.
You see natural layering happening all the time in strawberries sending out runners which root, or the stems of the orangeberry plant as pictured below.
Plants like strawberries clone themselves quickly and easily without any help needed from us but for some, a little helping hand can speed things along.
Ground layering can be done with most plants that have branches growing close to the ground. To give a few examples, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries and gooseberries can be ground layered easily, as well perennial herbs, carpet roses, daphne, camellias and hydrangeas.
A young stem, close to the ground is partly buried at around the middle of the stem. Using a weedmat peg can help keep the stem part buried.
The stem should be buried with a free-draining soil or compost, kept well watered and left to form roots which can take anywhere between 2-12 months.
You can check over time if roots are forming on the new baby plant, but don't sever the tie between parent and baby until the new roots are very much established. As long as the two plants are still connected, the baby plant gets water and nutrients from the parent plant.
If the stem is very long, more than one plant can be propagated from one branch.
So that's the first step into the world of layering, and a sure-fire way to multiply your plants for free! By choosing the strongest and healthiest plants to layer, this is a good way to ensure your baby plants grow up to be just as tough.
I'll be adding more posts in the future regarding the other layering methods but in the meantime, why not give this one a go!