Layering is a process of propagating shrubs and vines that, happily, takes very little work on the part of the gardener. Unlike cuttings, which must be watched carefully to be sure they're getting enough water, enough light, etc, layering all happens in the bed the parent plant is growing in. So, it can be assumed that if the parent plant is happy, a baby will be as well. Layering is basically making a new plant while keeping it attached to the parent plant. It works well because the plant being propagated is still getting nutrients from the parent's root system, thereby keeping it strong while it is making its own roots.
Layering should be done in early spring because that is when the plant is growing most energetically. And the good news is, you may have a new baby plant by fall at the earliest.
Layering is a simple process. Here it is.
Step One: Select a stem to layer. The best candidates are young stems that can be bent to the ground.
Step Two: Prepare the stem. Leave foliage at the top four inches or so of the stem, and remove all leaves and side branches from approximately one to two feet below that.
Step Three: Slit the stem. About nine inches or so from the tip, make a small slit in the stem with a knife. Use a small twig or toothpick to keep the slit propped open. Or, if the stem is too thin to be able to slit well, just use a knife to scrape the bark from the underside of the stem, reveling the green tissue inside. For faster rooting, dust the slit or wound with rooting hormone.
Step Four: Dig a small trench for your stem. This should be about six inches deep, and in a spot that will get a decent amount of sun, as warmth will aid in helping the new plant grow. It would also be a good idea to amend the soil here with some compost.
Step Five: Bury the slitted stem. Lay the stem down into the trench so that the slit you made is in contact with the earth. You can use bent wire to hold the stem down. It's also a good idea to use a large rock or brick to weight it down so it will stay in contact. Bury the stem and whatever you used to weight it down with soil.
Step Six: Prop up the end of the stem. To have your new plant grow upright, use a small stick or bamboo stake and some twine to stake the end of your stem upright.
Step Seven: Watch and wait. Keep the layer moist and keep weeds away. If you start to see a flush of new growth at the end you left with leaves, it means your layer has rooted. If you're not sure, you can gently dig it up and check to see if there are rots. Fall will be the earliest time, probably, but waiting until the following spring will be even better.
Step Eight: Cut the new plant from the mother plant, and transplant it in its new spot.
Though it requires patience on the gardener's part (doesn't all gardening require patience, though?) layering is a simple, gratifying way of making new plants for your landscape. ITGO