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What is Air Layering & How to Use it

According to RHS.org, air layering is…

“method of propagating new trees and shrubs from stems still attached to the parent plant.”

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Air layering is used for plants that do not root well. Some plants which air layering can be used for are camellia, Chaenomeles, daphnes, ficus, forsythia, hamamelis, philodendron, viburnums, Azalea, Holly, Magnolia.

When to Air Layer

Air layering is best done in spring or fall.

Materials Required

  • peat moss
  • sharp sterilized cutting tool
  • plastic wrap or aluminum foil
  • small piece of thin plastic
  • string
  • water

How to Air Layer Your Plants

In order to air layer, wrap a wounded part of your stem in moist sphagnum moss.

  1. The stem should be wounded below the node using an upward 1-inch slash. Hormone rooting compound can be applied to the surface of the wound if you choose.
  2. Wedge a small piece of wood into the cut so that it does not close
  3. Wrap the moss around the cut and secure it with string or twine.
  4. Cover the moss in aluminum foil first then plastic wrap to conserve the moisture.

Most plants with root in a couple weeks to a month. Once there are roots, remove the material and pot the plant as you normally would.

Potential Problems Air Layering

Clear plastic can encourage algae growth or sunscald, avoid by using black plastic or using aluminum foil.