Layering is one of easist methods that can be used to start a new plant. By keeping the plant attached to the mother plant while rooting is taking place you can be guaranteed of success and can also root a larger plant than you could by using cuttings. 

Select a plant
Select a plant (such as, a philodendron) with a cascading or spreading habit. In this case, there is an added to reason to layer the plant as it is no longer attractive with the growing point way out on a "limb".

Assemble the materials

1. Tepid water
2. Pot
3. Potting soil
4. Container to hold soil and water
5. Wire coat hanger
6. Knife
7. Pliers or wire cutters (not pictured)

Make wire pins

Cut a section of wire about 7-9 inches long and form it into a pin. You could also cut a section of stiff wire from another source or use purchased landscape fabric pins if you don't want to make your own.

Avoid watering mistakes

The potting mix needs to be thoroughly moistened. Simply placing dry potting soil into a pot and watering it does not work. The water will overflow the pot and the potting soil will remain dry underneath.

Moisten potting mix

Place the potting mix in a container and add water sparingly. Mix thoroughly. Continue adding water and mixing until potting mix is moist but not soggy.

Fill container with moistened potting soil
Place the moistened soil in the pot and gently press down to compact the soil slightly.

Select a layering point

The pointed bumps on this philodendron stem are root initiatives. Roots will eventually grow from these root initiatives if kept in contact with moist soil. Choose an area of the stem with root initiatives as the layering point.

Place layering point down in potting soil
Place the section of the stem where you want it to root down into the moistened soil. Usually this is done close to the tip.
Secure layering point to soil with wire pins
Pin the stem down securely with the wire pins. In this case two pins were required to keep it in place.

Return plant to its usual growing location

Carefully return the two pots to the plant's usual growing location.


Keep the soil in the pot damp or rooting may be slow or not occur at all.

Checking for rooting
Check for rooting by removing the wire pins and gently tugging on the layered stem. When properly rooted it will not come out of the soil. Here, a root has developed but rooting is not extensive enough to keep the plant from coming out of the soil when tugged. Put it back in the soil and secure it with pins. Rooting may take 1-2 months.

If rooting has not occurred

If rooting has not occurred, replace the wire pins and return the layered section of the plant and the mother plant to their usual growing location.

When rooting occurs

When the plant has rooted, cut the layered plant from the mother plant.

Young plant ready to grow

Your new plant can remain in this pot for several months or until it becomes root-bound. At that time it can be repotted into a larger pot.

What to do with the mother plant

To encourage new growth from the center of the pot, the long stem should be trimmed back to about an inch or two from the soil. The long stem can be disposed of or cut into sections to  make what are called "log" cuttings. See "How to propagate plants from log cuttings."

What to do with mother and daughter

The plants are now ready to be placed in a suitable growing location. Bright light (but not direct sunlight for these philodendrons) will encourage good growth of the daugher plant. It will also encourage dormant buds on the mother plant to "break" and grow into new shoots resulting in a bushier plant.