Crown of Thorns Propagation: Air Layering Techniques

Crown of Thorns Propagation: Air Layering Techniques

Are you looking to propagate your crown of thorns plant using air layering techniques? In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to successfully propagate your crown of thorns plant through air layering. From selecting the right stems to preparing the rooting medium, we will cover all the essential steps to help you achieve successful propagation results. Keep reading to learn more about this effective propagation method for your crown of thorns plant.

Introduction to Crown of Thorns Propagation

Crown of Thorns propagation is a popular method used to create new plants from existing Crown of Thorns plants. This technique allows gardeners and plant enthusiasts to expand their collection of these beautiful and resilient plants.

What is Crown of Thorns plant?

The Crown of Thorns plant, also known as Euphorbia milii, is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. It is characterized by its thick, fleshy stems and bright, colorful flowers. The plant gets its name from the thorns that grow along the stems, resembling the crown of thorns worn by Jesus.

Benefits of propagating Crown of Thorns

There are several benefits to propagating Crown of Thorns plants. By propagating new plants, you can increase your plant collection without having to purchase new plants. Additionally, propagating Crown of Thorns allows you to share the beauty of these plants with friends and family. Propagating plants also gives you the opportunity to experiment with different techniques and improve your gardening skills.

Overview of Air Layering technique

Air layering is a propagation technique that involves creating a new plant from a branch or stem of an existing plant. This technique is particularly effective for plants like Crown of Thorns that have woody stems. To air layer a Crown of Thorns plant, you will need to make a cut in the stem, apply rooting hormone, and wrap the cut area with moist sphagnum moss and plastic wrap. This method encourages the plant to form roots at the cut site, allowing you to eventually detach the new plant and pot it separately. Air layering is a simple and effective way to propagate Crown of Thorns plants and is often preferred by gardeners for its high success rate.

Preparing for Air Layering

Selecting a healthy Crown of Thorns plant

Before starting the air layering process, it is important to choose a healthy Crown of Thorns plant. Look for a plant that is free from any diseases or pests, has strong and vibrant foliage, and is actively growing. A healthy plant will have a better chance of successfully establishing roots during the air layering process.

Gathering necessary tools and materials

To successfully air layer a Crown of Thorns plant, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • Sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Plastic wrap
  • Twine or twist ties
  • Watering can or spray bottle

Make sure to have all of these items ready before you begin the air layering process to ensure a smooth and successful propagation.

Steps for Air Layering Crown of Thorns

Air layering is a propagation technique that can be used to grow new plants from existing ones. Here are the steps for air layering a crown of thorns plant:

Identifying the right branch for air layering

Choose a healthy, mature branch that is flexible and easy to work with. The branch should have a diameter of at least 1/4 inch and be free from any diseases or damage.

Making the incision and applying rooting hormone

Make a clean, diagonal cut on the chosen branch about 12 inches from the tip. The cut should be about 1-2 inches long and should reach halfway through the branch. Apply a small amount of rooting hormone to the cut to encourage root growth.

Wrapping the incision with moist moss and plastic wrap

Wrap the cut section of the branch with moist sphagnum moss. Make sure the moss is firmly packed around the cut to keep it in place. Then, cover the moss with a piece of plastic wrap and secure it with tape to create a sealed environment for root growth.

By following these steps, you can successfully air layer a crown of thorns plant and propagate new plants for your garden.

Caring for Air Layered Crown of Thorns

After successfully air layering a branch of your Crown of Thorns plant, it is important to continue providing proper care to ensure its continued growth and health. Here are some tips for caring for your air layered Crown of Thorns:

Monitoring the progress of root formation

  • Check the progress of root formation by gently tugging on the air layered branch. If it resists being pulled, this is a good indication that roots have formed.
  • You can also carefully peel back a small section of the moss or plastic wrap to check for the presence of white, healthy roots.
  • Make sure to keep the moss or plastic wrap moist to support root formation.

Transplanting the air layered branch

  • Once roots have formed, carefully remove the air layered branch from the mother plant. Use sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut.
  • Plant the air layered branch in a well-draining potting mix, ensuring that the roots are covered and the plant is stable.
  • Water the newly transplanted branch thoroughly and place it in a location with bright, indirect light.

Maintaining proper care post-transplant

  • Continue to water the newly transplanted branch regularly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.
  • Provide bright, indirect light for optimal growth.
  • Fertilize the plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
  • Monitor for any signs of pests or diseases and treat promptly if necessary.

By following these tips for caring for your air layered Crown of Thorns, you can enjoy a healthy and thriving plant for years to come.


In conclusion, air layering is a highly effective technique for propagating crown of thorns plants. By following the steps outlined in this article, gardeners can successfully create new plants with minimal effort and resources. This method allows for a higher success rate compared to other propagation methods and can be done at any time of the year. With patience and proper care, gardeners can enjoy a collection of beautiful crown of thorns plants in their indoor or outdoor garden spaces. Experiment with air layering techniques to expand your plant collection and enhance the beauty of your surroundings.