Splinting Weak Air-Layered Branches (Rangoon Creeper)

Although it may not be the best propagation technique that works for me, I've managed to propagate a few Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis indica) seedlings through the air-layering technique or what others call marcotting. Air-layering the Rangoon Creeper vine especially on branches on top of a garden arbor is quite challenging. This is because you need to climb up a ladder with the marcotting kit and work from there.

Weakened Branch after Air-Layering

But there is another obstacle to overcome when air-layering the Rangoon Creeper. The branches of the vine can become long and heavy. A heavy branch could droop down from the arbor's top and pull on the newly air-layered portion of the branch. High winds could also blow the heavy vines and quite easily snap that point of the branch that was air-layered.

Shown below is a newly air-layered branch of the Rangoon Creeper vine on top of the arbor.

Because of its weight, the branch pulls the air-layered portion downwards and it even looks broken in the photo above. The air-layer is vulnerable and strong winds could break the branch at that point.

Benefit of Splinting the Weak or Damaged Branch

The process of air-layering or marcotting essentially wounds the plant as shown in my air-layering step-by-step article. Because of the wound, the branch becomes weaker at that point. It is therefore necessary to provide support to the air-layered portion so that: the branch maintains its natural straight shape and position and that the air-layer is kept reasonably immobile to prevent more damage.

Applying a single or a double splint on the weakened branch provides a rigid support on the branch so that its natural straightness is maintained and the point of air-layering does not move unnecessarily. The splinting on the branch is not much different from the splint concept applied to fractured limbs on the human body.

How to Apply Splints to a Weakened Marcotted Branch


  • Bamboo skewers or chopsticks

  • Thin wire or twist ties


  1. If the branch bends or droops at the point where the air-layer or marcot was made, slowly and carefully raise the drooping part so it aligns with the non-drooping part.

  2. Take a bamboo skewer or chopstick and position it parallel to the straightened branch. Ensure the air-layer is somewhere in the midpoint along the length of the bamboo skewer.

  3. Tie the branch roughly two or three inches from one end of the marcot towards the end of skewer. Do the same for the opposite end. Due to the size and shape of the air-layer, you may make the ties a bit loose. Do not tighten the ties too much as doing so may cause girdling especially if left for a long time. For this single splint, I used an old chopstick.

  4. For branches that need a stronger support, employ a double splint. Position two splints on opposite sides of the branch and tie the branch to the splints as in the previous step.

    Adding more ties will keep the branch straight and stable. Here, I used two bamboo skewers for a double splint.

    The double splint is especially helpful if the branch is too heavy or if very strong winds are expected.

The photo below shows how the newly splinted branch looks from below the arbor.


In the first part of this article, I mentioned I had minimal success in propagating the Rangoon Creeper Vine (Quisqualis indica) through air-layering. I found that I was more successful propagating Rangoon Creeper by misting stem cuttings. Also, if you have a mature Rangoon Creeper vine in a pot, you could easily propagate it via root division.

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