I love the way Lonicera nitida ‘Lemon Beauty’ sets off other plants. I bought one from Cistus in ’05 and stuck it in this berm. It flourished, with many branches bending low to the ground (an open invitation to take a stab at layering). Here’s how it works. Take one of those low-growing branches, and make a small nick on the underside where it will touch the ground. Make sure there is a good bit of branch beyond the cut.

I happen to have these U-pins left over from some long forgotten floral project, but you could as easily craft some from wire coat hangers. Use them to secure the branch to the ground where the nick is. Pile some soil over that spot. I did this with the Lonicera in ’07. By ’09, I had a crop of new shrubs. All that’s required is to sever the branch where it leads from the mother plant to the newly rooted babe, dig up the newbies and use them as you will.


Transplant to new quarters and gloat over saving as much as $20 per new plant. The latest issue of BBC Gardens Illustrated showed a clipped hedge of these plants in a formal garden. It was a striking counterpoint to the darker boxwood hedges. I happen to prefer letting things sprawl as they like. Either way, it is good to have a lot of them to play with. Other plants I have had success with using layering are heaths and heathers, hydrangeas and barberries. Any woody shrub would seem to be a good candidate.

6 thoughts on “layering

  1. They are so bright and cheery, these honeysuckles. Actually, as a change from layering, you can simply stick branches in the soil, and make a whole row of them where you want them. They grow like mustard and cress.
    I am in the process of turning one shrub into a treelet, by cutting away all lower branches. probably a failure.
    Do you have a willow tree handy? To make willow-water with. That might speed up the process.

  2. Very crafty. I’ve thought about propagating my own plants, but never actually followed through. Sounds manageable the way you describe it. Maybe next year.

  3. Loree: Thanks!
    Joco: I’ve heard about the willow thing. Actually, something like that is coming up in my next propagation post.
    Megan: Lots of ways to turn one plant into many. I’m planning to do a few posts about that…only way I will ever be able to come up with “drifts”.

  4. I can vouch for this, Ricki. Years ago wisdom came in the form of British matriarch Margery Fish. In one of her oft witty gardening tomes she wrote about how she created evergreen hedges on the cheap using Lonicera nitida. [The green species. I don’t think the color variants had been developed yet. This was circa 1930s.] Anyway, I undertook the challenge a few years ago and it worked. Her method: in spring, snip off a semi-hardwood nine or so inch cutting, stick it in the ground and stick another one about six inches away, and another… then wait a few weeks and you’ll see baby leaves. Prune as necessary. The only drawback is that they need to be pruned several times throught the spring and summer. I don’t mind this. It’s my therapy. But some might find it annoying. My hedges stay green all year and aren’t the slightest bit thirsty during our dry months. I know hedges aren’t for everyone but I like them in certain areas of my garden.

    Are you a member of Blotanical? Thought about joining?

  5. Grace: I don’t mind pruning either, but have been liking the Lonicera growing every which way.
    I tried to sign up with Blotanical once, but it kept kicking my attempts back at me. I’m pretty sure I can successfully add 4 and 3, but they did not agree and I gave up after a few tries. Maybe it is time to give it another shot.
    Picked up a half price ‘Helena’s Blush’ the other day. Hope it will be as pretty as yours.

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