Air layering is a simple and effective method for propagating lychee trees from cuttings, allowing you to expand your lychee orchard or grow this delicious fruit tree in your own backyard. This guide will walk you through the steps of air layering a lychee tree, providing an easy and reliable way to propagate this tropical favorite at home.

Materials You Will Need

  • Healthy lychee tree branch
  • Sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Sphagnum moss or peat moss
  • Plastic wrap
  • Twine or string
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Potting soil
  • Pot or container

Step-by-Step Guide to Air Layering Lychee Trees

Step 1: Select a Healthy Branch

  1. Choose a Suitable Branch: Select a healthy, medium-sized branch on the lychee tree for air layering. The branch should be flexible and without any signs of disease or damage.

Step 2: Prepare the Branch

  1. Make a Cut: Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, make a 1-2 inch diagonal cut through the bark and cambium layer (the green layer just beneath the bark) of the selected branch. Make the cut about 12-18 inches from the tip of the branch.

Step 3: Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional)

  1. Optional Step: If desired, you can apply a rooting hormone to the exposed area of the cut to encourage root development. This step is not necessary but can help speed up the process.

Step 4: Prepare the Moss and Plastic Wrap

  1. Soak the Moss: Soak sphagnum moss or peat moss in water until it is fully saturated but not dripping.
  2. Wrap the Branch: Wrap the moistened moss around the cut portion of the branch, covering it completely.
  3. Wrap with Plastic: Wrap the moss-covered area with plastic wrap to hold the moisture in and create a humid environment for root development.

Step 5: Secure the Wrappings

  1. Tie with Twine: Secure the plastic wrap and moss in place by tying it tightly with twine or string above and below the moss-covered area. Ensure that the moss remains in contact with the cut portion of the branch.

Step 6: Wait for Roots to Form

  1. Monitor Progress: Over the next several weeks, check the air layer periodically for signs of root development. You may notice roots beginning to emerge from the moss.
  2. Keep Moist: Keep the moss moist by spraying it with water as needed. Do not allow it to dry out.

Step 7: Remove Air Layer

  1. Check for Roots: Once roots have formed and are visible through the plastic wrap, carefully remove the air layering materials.
  2. Cut Below Roots: Use sharp pruning shears to cut the branch below the newly formed roots, ensuring that you leave enough roots attached to the branch.

Step 8: Plant the Rooted Cutting

  1. Prepare Potting Soil: Fill a pot or container with well-draining potting soil.
  2. Plant the Cutting: Plant the rooted cutting in the potting soil, burying the roots and part of the branch.
  3. Water Thoroughly: Water the soil around the cutting thoroughly to settle it and provide moisture to the roots.

Step 9: Provide Care

  1. Place in Indirect Sunlight: Put the pot in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can stress the newly transplanted cutting.
  2. Water Regularly: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water the cutting regularly, especially during dry periods.
  3. Monitor Growth: Monitor the growth of the newly transplanted cutting and provide care as needed. With proper care, it will establish itself and continue to grow into a mature lychee tree.


Air layering is a simple and effective method for propagating lychee trees from cuttings, allowing you to grow this delicious fruit tree at home. By following these steps and providing proper care, you can successfully air layer a lychee tree and enjoy its sweet fruits for years to come. Happy gardening!