Layering is a good way of getting new shrubs for free, and it’s easy to do. All you need is an existing evergreen shrub that you’d like to create more plants from, and a little patience.
Discover how to plant a shrub.
Shrubs will layer naturally from low-hanging branches, or branches that are long enough to touch the soil. At the point of contact with the soil, the stem will wear and damage, producing roots that feed the tip of the shoot. A new plant then grows away next to the original shrub. You can mimic this technique and ensure a good result by pinning a branch to the soil in spring, nicking with secateurs it to encourage it to root.
You can try this technique on range of plants, including camellia, daphne, magnolia, rhododendron and viburnum. Your new plant will be strong enough to be detached and lifted in autumn or the following spring and can be planted straightaway in the garden.
Follow our step-by-step guide to layering, below.
You Will Need
- Sharp knife or secateurs
- Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
- Wire pin
- Watering can
Identify a young, healthy branch that is dipping low or long enough to be pinned down to the ground without much resistance.
Use a knife or secateurs to clear the leaves from the stem and make a shallow cut on the stem, just below a bud on the newest wood. This will promote the rooting process.
Improve the soil with potting compost where you’re going to pin, then use a long hooked wire to pin the bare piece of stem down to the ground.
Water the ground where you’ve pinned the stem and place a brick over the stem to ensure that it is stable for the growing season.
Shrubs to layer
- Virginia creeper