Air Layering

AIR-LAYERING – A method of propagating certain woody plants by causing the formation of roots at some point along a tall erect stem which is then severed just below them so as to produce two shorter, stockier plants. Also called “pot-layering,” it is a common and simple treatment for a rubber-plant that has become “leggy.”

The stem is notched or cut about a quarter through and a splinter of wood or small pebble is placed in the cut to keep it open. In the case of Ficus, scraping the outside skin is all that is needed.

Then one of three things can be done: (1) A large handful of sphagnum moss placed about the stem at this point and bound in place with cord or raffia ; (2) a 3- or 4-in. flowerpot split in half vertically, placed about the stem, filled with sphagnum, peat moss or light absorbent soil, and bound in place; or (3) a special layering-pot made with the slit in one side slid on tot the stem and similarly filled and tied. With the material kept moist, roots will soon develop ; when they are abundant, filling the sphagnum ball (or pot), the entire upper portion is cut away and treated as a new plant to replace the old one, unless the lower portion bears enough leaves and is sufficiently attractive also to be grown on.

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