The Easiest Way to Propagate Woody Plants

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I found this trick out by accident. I planted a Hydrangea paniculata  in the back of my house. The next season I noticed that one of the lower branches that lay on the ground rooted and I cut it from the original plant and now a few years later I have a five foot tall bloom shrub in the front of my house just like the one in the back. I realized that this was a technique called “layering,” which I have heard of but never actually tried. As you can see it has to be one of the easiest ways to propagate woody plants. 

Propagate Woody Plants

Spirea layering plants - propagate woody plants

See this large Spirea shrub has naturally layered itself and developed a new root system.

Easy Layering Plant Propation - Spirea

You can see here where it naturally broke off from the original shrub.

Easy Layering Plant Propation - Spirea Divisions

It was a little too close to the edge so I dug it up and I ended with four plants to plant somewhere else or give away.


Spirea japonica

S. japonica


This is a lovely shrub, in fact, it is one my 5 Must Have Shrubs post because it is one of my favorites.

Easy Layering Plant Propation - Lavender


The Process

Take a branch that is low to the ground and pull off any leaves in the middle. Then scrape the underside with your pruners or a knife. Then dig up some of the soil below and bury the middle section add a little soil on top and a rock. Some places will also suggest adding a little rooting hormone to the wound or scraped area, but I haven’t bothered.

Easy Layering Plant Propation - Lavender Roots

Check back after a few weeks and check on the branch. You should start to see little roots forming. After several weeks when you have a nice set of roots you can cut the branch from the mother plant and pot it in it’s own pot or plant it somewhere in the garden.

How to Propagate Woody Plants - Lavender Potted Up

Easy Layering Plant Propation - Spirea In Pots Pruned

Make sure to cut back the foliage to give the roots a chance to grow.

How easy is that.


The the easiest way to propagate woody plants in your backyard giving more of your favorites plants for free with very little work.

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About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Maria Ema Custodio says:

    Tenho algumas sementes de orquídeas raras ( cara de macaco, anjo, tigre, pato etc) tenho também sementes de rosas raras. Gostaria de saber como devo fazer a sementeira para ter bonitas flores. A minha maior dificuldade é que não tenho terreno para o fazer, tem que ser dentro de casa. Por favor diga-me. Oobrigado

    • In my experience it is very hard to grow many plants from seed. Especially some of the ones you have mentioned. Also growing many plants indoors is also a challenge unless you have lots of bright light. It’s always fun to experiment and give it a try.
      Best of luck to you,

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