Air layering certainly has a wider net of advantages and a higher success rate, not to mention the fact that it will work on much harder-to-root species, ultimately expanding the number of plants you can grow. However, water propagation is simpler and more straightforward."
At-home propagation is all the rage right now when it comes to houseplants. After all, it allows you to multiply your plant collection with little-to-no investment, make use of pruned cuttings that would otherwise go to waste and learn about the science of plant growth.
While many plant parents have tried their hand at growth from a seed, soil propagation, or water propagation, there’s a new kid in town that is taking over the world of propagation.
More and more plant parents are discovering the benefits of learning how to air-layer and believe it might just be better than traditional propagation methods.
To understand the key differences between air layering and water propagation, as well as the merits of each, we must first understand how each method works.
Water propagation is a method that involves soaking a plant cutting in water to promote rooting. This can be done with many easy-to-root plants without the need for specialty materials. As long as you have a small glass container- you’re good to go.
You can learn how to water propagate here.
Plants That Can Be Water Propagated
Air layering is a method of propagation where the stem of the plant is scored (cut) and wrapped to promote root growth. This is usually done while it is still attached to the original plant (or mother plant) and is then separated just below the roots for potting.
1. Air Layering might be efficient, but it is a time-consuming process to begin
2. Air-layering techniques are intricate and complex- it’s not unlikely that a propagation newbie but find the process confusing and frustrating.
Plants That Can Be Air-Layered
Air Layering is easiest to do with plants that have aerial roots such as Monstera and Philodendrons, causing some overlap with species that can be water propagated. However, it is air-layering will enable you to propagate some harder-to-root species such as:
Ultimately, it depends on what species you are trying to propagate and how confident you are in your ability to follow the necessary steps for success.
Air layering certainly has a wider net of advantages and a higher success rate, not to mention the fact that it will work on much harder-to-root species, ultimately expanding the number of plants you can grow.
If you are an experienced plant owner who has already dabbled in propagation, it is certainly worth switching over to air layering and seeing how it works out for you.
However, the process is rather complex and is not for everybody. If you’re looking for an easy, beginner-friendly, cut-and-wait style propagation experiment, then water propagation might be more your speed.