Air Layering

Definition - What does Air Layering mean?

Air layering is a propagation method that is best suited for plants that do not do well with conventional layering. It allows the grower to clone a plant with little more than a wrapping of damp moss.

Air layering is a variation of regular or simple layering. In simply layering, a portion of the plant to be cloned is bent at the stem and buried underground where is is left to grow new roots. In air layering, the branch or stem stays where it is, and rather than being buried in the ground, is wrapped in a selected grow medium, where it will grow new shoots.

MaximumYield explains Air Layering

Many plants are difficult to propagate – they do not grow well from seeds, they cannot be grown easily from cuttings, and they lack low-growing stems for conventional layering. Air layering can be used in these instances to allow the grower to clone a particular plant relatively easily.

Air layering refers to the combination of height and conventional layering, although the process differs significantly from regular layering. The grower will select a stem or shoot growing off the plant’s main body high above the soil. Once identified, the grower will then take a plastic bag and fill it with moss. Some growers prefer a sterile growing medium, rather than a natural medium like moss.

The medium, whether moss or something else, will then be moistened. The shoot is placed into the growing medium within the plastic bag, and then the bag is wrapped around the shoot. Over time, the shoot will develop roots, and can then be removed from the mature plant and placed in its own growing area.

Note that air layering is best performed in either the autumn or spring. Spring is the best time for evergreen plants, but autumn is preferred for deciduous plants. Many different species can be propagated in this way, including ficus, rhododendron, azalea, lilacs, camellia, and many more.

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