How to Propagate African Milk Tree using Air Layering

How to Propagate African Milk Tree using Air Layering

Are you looking to expand your collection of African Milk Trees? Air layering is a popular propagation method that allows you to create new plants with ease. In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of propagating African Milk Trees using air layering. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner looking to try your hand at plant propagation, this guide will help you successfully propagate your African Milk Tree.

What is African Milk Tree

Description of African Milk Tree

The African Milk Tree, also known as Euphorbia trigona, is a striking succulent plant native to Africa. It belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and is characterized by its thick, fleshy stems and branches that resemble a cactus. The plant can grow up to 6 feet tall and is known for its unique appearance with three sides and sharp thorns along the edges. African Milk Tree is a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardens due to its low maintenance requirements and drought tolerance.

Benefits of growing African Milk Tree

  1. Air-purifying properties: African Milk Tree is known to absorb harmful toxins from the air, making it a great addition to any indoor space.
  2. Low maintenance: This succulent plant requires minimal care and can thrive in a variety of environments, making it ideal for busy individuals or beginners.
  3. Unique appearance: The African Milk Tree’s distinctive shape and texture add visual interest to any garden or landscape.
  4. Propagation: African Milk Tree is easy to propagate using methods such as air layering, allowing gardeners to expand their collection or share with friends and family.

Overall, African Milk Tree is a versatile and attractive plant that offers numerous benefits for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Understanding Propagation

Propagation is the process of multiplying plants by creating new plants from existing ones. There are several methods of propagation, including seed propagation, division, cutting, grafting, and air layering. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of plant and desired outcome.

Different methods of propagation

  1. Seed propagation: This is the most common method of propagation and involves growing new plants from seeds. It is a simple and cost-effective method, but it can take longer for the plants to mature.

  2. Division: This method involves dividing a mature plant into smaller sections, each of which can grow into a new plant. It is commonly used for plants with multiple stems or bulbs.

  3. Cutting: Cutting involves taking a part of a plant, such as a stem or leaf, and planting it to grow a new plant. This method is commonly used for plants that root easily, such as succulents.

  4. Grafting: Grafting involves joining two plants together so they grow as one. This method is commonly used to combine the desirable traits of two different plants.

  5. Air layering: Air layering involves creating a new plant by inducing roots to grow on a stem while it is still attached to the parent plant. This method is commonly used for plants that are difficult to propagate by other methods.

Why choose air layering for African Milk Tree

Air layering is a preferred method of propagation for African Milk Tree for several reasons. Firstly, African Milk Tree is a slow-growing plant, and air layering can produce new plants more quickly than other methods. Additionally, African Milk Tree is known for its thick stems and branches, which can make it difficult to propagate using cutting or division. Air layering allows for the development of new roots directly on the stem, ensuring a higher success rate for propagation. Overall, air layering is a reliable and efficient method for propagating African Milk Tree.

Steps to Propagate African Milk Tree using Air Layering

Selecting a healthy branch

When choosing a branch for air layering, make sure it is healthy and free from any diseases or pests. Select a branch that is at least the thickness of a pencil and has plenty of leaves.

Preparing the branch for air layering

  1. Use a sharp knife to make a 1-2 inch diagonal cut on the selected branch.
  2. Remove a small strip of bark from around the cut to expose the cambium layer.
  3. Dust the cut with a rooting hormone to encourage root growth.

Wrapping the branch with moss and plastic

  1. Soak sphagnum moss in water until it is damp but not dripping wet.
  2. Wrap the damp moss around the cut on the branch, making sure to cover the exposed cambium layer.
  3. Cover the moss with a piece of clear plastic wrap and secure it in place with twist ties or rubber bands.
  4. Check the moss regularly to ensure it remains moist and add water as needed.

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate your African Milk Tree using air layering and create new plants for your collection.


In conclusion, air layering is a simple and effective method for propagating African Milk Trees. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully create new plants from your existing ones. This technique is ideal for those looking to expand their collection of African Milk Trees or for those who want to share this unique plant with friends and family. With a little patience and care, you can enjoy watching your new plants thrive and grow. Give air layering a try and see the results for yourself!