How to Propagate Coleus: Air Layering Method

How to Propagate Coleus: Air Layering Method

Are you looking to expand your coleus plant collection? Air layering is a popular propagation method that allows you to create new plants from your existing ones. In this article, we will discuss the step-by-step process of air layering coleus plants, including the materials needed and tips for success. By following these instructions, you can easily propagate your coleus and enjoy a flourishing garden full of these vibrant and colorful plants.

Preparing the Coleus Plant for Air Layering

Before starting the air layering process, it is important to ensure that the Coleus plant is healthy and ready for propagation. This involves selecting a healthy plant, gathering the necessary materials, and identifying a suitable branch for air layering.

Selecting a Healthy Coleus Plant

Choose a Coleus plant that is free from pests and diseases, with vibrant foliage and strong growth. Avoid plants that are wilted, yellowing, or showing signs of stress. Healthy plants are more likely to successfully propagate through air layering.

Gathering the Necessary Materials

You will need the following materials to successfully air layer a Coleus plant:

  • Sharp pruning shears
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Plastic wrap
  • Twine or plant ties
  • Rooting hormone (optional)

Make sure you have all the materials ready before you start the air layering process to avoid any interruptions.

Identifying a Suitable Branch for Air Layering

Choose a branch on the Coleus plant that is healthy, flexible, and about the thickness of a pencil. This branch should have a node where roots will form once air layering is complete. Select a branch that is easy to access and work with, as this will make the process smoother and more successful.

Performing the Air Layering Process

Air layering is a propagation technique that involves creating a new plant from an existing one by encouraging roots to grow while the stem is still attached to the parent plant. This method is commonly used for plants like coleus, which can be difficult to propagate through other means like cuttings. Here’s how you can perform the air layering process:

Making the Incision

  1. Select a healthy stem on the parent plant where you want to create a new plant.
  2. Make a small incision in the stem using a sharp knife or blade. The incision should be about 1-2 inches long and should penetrate through the outer layer of the stem.
  3. Be careful not to damage the stem or make the incision too deep, as this can hinder the rooting process.

Applying Rooting Hormone

  1. Once the incision is made, apply a rooting hormone to the exposed area. Rooting hormone helps stimulate root growth and increases the chances of successful propagation.
  2. Follow the instructions on the rooting hormone package for the appropriate application method and dosage.
  3. Make sure to cover the entire incision with the rooting hormone to maximize its effectiveness.

Wrapping the Incision

  1. After applying the rooting hormone, wrap the incision with a handful of moist sphagnum moss or peat moss.
  2. Secure the moss in place by wrapping it with plastic wrap or a plastic bag, making sure it is tightly sealed around the stem.
  3. The moss will help retain moisture and encourage root growth in the incision area.
  4. Check the moss regularly to ensure it stays moist and provide additional water if needed.

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate coleus using the air layering method. With patience and proper care, you can soon enjoy a new plant that is genetically identical to the parent plant.

Caring for the Air Layered Coleus Plant

After successfully air layering your coleus plant, it is important to provide proper care to ensure its continued growth and health. Here are some tips for caring for your air layered coleus plant:

Monitoring Root Growth

Keep an eye on the roots that are developing in the air layering site. You can gently peel back the moss or plastic wrap to check on the progress of the roots. Make sure they are growing strong and healthy before proceeding to the next step.

Transplanting the Rooted Branch

Once the roots have sufficiently developed, it is time to transplant the rooted branch into a pot with soil. Carefully remove the air layering materials and gently plant the rooted branch, making sure not to damage the delicate roots.

Maintaining Proper Watering and Light Conditions

Coleus plants prefer moist soil, so be sure to water your air layered coleus plant regularly. However, be careful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot. Additionally, coleus plants thrive in bright, indirect light so place your plant in a location where it can receive ample sunlight without being directly exposed to harsh rays.

By following these care tips, you can ensure that your air layered coleus plant continues to thrive and grow beautifully in your home or garden.


In conclusion, air layering is a highly effective method for propagating coleus plants. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, gardeners can easily create new plants from their existing coleus specimens. This technique is ideal for those who want to expand their coleus collection or share their plants with friends and family. With a little patience and care, gardeners can enjoy the beauty of coleus in their gardens for years to come. Experiment with air layering and watch as your coleus plants thrive and multiply.