Propagations – air layering

Note: These are my opinions and experiences, I am no expert and I have not been paid or incentivised to share my thoughts and reviews of any sellers, products or people mentioned in this post.

As I mentioned in my post about my propagations of Nov to Dec 2020 I have had some failed attempts with rooting node cuttings of my variegated monstera. The last one I was still trying to root, completely rotted away this weekend so I gave up on it, as I guess I had to.

So my next way of trying to propagate a variegated monstera is using a technique called air layering. RHS has loads of advice on air layering especially for outdoor plants. I’ll detail what I did but I have read of slightly different techniques but mine seems to be working. *crossed fingers*

What is air layering?

Air layering is a way of propagating plants without first cutting them. The idea is that you choose the area that you want to create the new plant from and apply some damp moss, to encourage roots to form in that spot.

Many aroids have aerial roots at the nodes already which not only helps with water propagation (or in any other medium, but also means you get a head start with trying air layering.

How to air layer your plant with aerial roots.

  1. Pick the area you want to create the new plant from. Ideally the new plant has 2 leaves at this point and a couple of aerial roots at the relevant node.
  2. Dampen some sphagnum moss (I use this) and pack it around the aerial.
  3. Using a clear plastic bag – maybe a sandwich mag – tie the plastic around the moss to keep it in place.
  4. puncture the plastic gently in a few places to allow air flow and re-moistening of the moss.
  5. Wait

I spray my moss every 3 days but it depends on your environment and air flow and temperature how quickly it dries out. You want the moss damp but not wet. Wet could encourage root rot so keep an eye on that.

Every 7-10 days I unwrap the moss and have a look at the roots, but due to the clear bag you should be able to see the brown aerial roots have new whiteish shoots. These are the new roots growing.

Once the aerial roots are around 2-3 inches long, you can cut below the roots pot up your new plant.

Tadaa! You have a new plant!

The only real downside of this method I have noticed is that it looks a bit ugly for a while, but chances are you are propagating to make a present, to sell a cutting or replant the cutting to make a bushier plant so it is probably worth the plastic bag look?

Have you tried air layering? What is your preferred method of rooting cuttings?

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