Air layering is a propagation method for woody plants that allows you to root branches while still attached to the parent plant. It is useful for plants that are hard to propagate by cuttings or if you want your new plant to have a larger size than could be accomplished by taking cuttings.
I've used this method successfully for
- Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
- Long-Leaf Fig (Ficus binnendijkii)
- India Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)
- Fiddle-Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
- Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)
- Elephant Yucca (Yucca elephantipes)
- Cornstalk Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans - pictured below)
It should work for most, if not all, woody houseplants, and even for outdoor plants.
Step 1: Tools and materials
- the plant you want to propagate
- a sharp knife
- Sphagnum moss (should be available at garden centres)
- a piece of (preferably transparent) plastic foil (an old plastic bag will do fine) (about 30x30 cm)
- a piece of thin, hard plastic (I used a piece of a plant tag, a piece of a plastic bottle or yoghurt tub or something similar would work just as well. Basically, you just need something thin that will not decompose if it's damp for a couple of weeks). It should be just a bit longer than the width of the branch you want to root.
- scissors for cutting string and plastic foil
- a bowl to soak the moss in
A couple of weeks later, you will also need:
- a flower pot
- potting mix
- maybe a stake and more string.