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How to Propagate Hydrangeas by Layering

Copyright 2011 Joan Harrison

Layering is an easy way to create new plants. Hydrangeas take very well to this method of propagation. Layering is one of nature's ways of self-propagating. What happens is that a branch near the ground gets covered with a natural compost like fallen leaves and eventually roots in that spot, creating a new plant. When you see drifts of the same plant in a wilderness setting it's quite possible that many plants developed from one original seedling brought in by the wind or birds. It's a simple method that is easy to apply to hydrangeas and allows you to add free plants to your garden. Follow the simple steps below to create many baby plants from your existing hydrangeas.

Things you'll need:
  • Knife or other sharp object
  • Stone or brick
  • Garden stake
  • Twist tie

Look for a hydrangea branch that is hovering close to the ground.

Press down on that branch to see where it would hit the ground if weight were applied to it.

Loosen the soil in that spot where the branch would meet the ground.

Slightly wound the branch where it would meet the soil. Scrape the bark with a knife or similar sharp object.

Remove the leaves from the section of the branch that will be buried.

Have handy a brick or large rock or something similar with which to weigh down the branch. Press the branch down into the loosened soil, add more soil if desired, and position the brick or rock so that the branch is securely in place and is not likely to bounce back up.

Bend the tip end of the layered branch toward the sky and attach it to a stake with a twist tie or something similar.

Leave the layered branch alone for about a year. You can tell if the layered branch has rooted by tugging gently at it to see if it resists slight efforts to lift it. Fresh green growth in that area is also a sign it has successfully rooted.

Cut the baby plant from the mother plant, but leave it in place for about a month to let it recover from the stress of being separated. After that you can dig it up and plant it elsewhere.

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Copyright 2011 Joan Harrison