The process of layering is typically used to propagate hard-to-root shrubs like azaleas. Layering also works well with shrubs that have low-growing or creeping branches, like creeping rosemary. Layered stems develop roots while still connected to the mother plant, which helps encourage the rooting process.
Follow these steps for layering:
- In the spring, select a low, flexible branch that will bend down to the ground easily.
- Prepare well-drained but moisture-retentive soil where the stem will touch the ground.
- Nick the bark off the side of the stem that will touch the ground and remove the leaves near the nick. Dust the cut with rooting hormone.
- Cover the barren and nicked stem with soil. Top it with a rock, or pin it in place with a stake or metal pin.
- The branch tip will become the new plant. If it is an upright grower, stake the tip upright to give it a good shape.
- Keep the rooting area moist for several months, until roots develop and become large enough to support the new plant.
- Cut the new plant free from the parent branch and transplant it to a pot or new site in the garden.
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