Air Layering or Marcotting (Rangoon Creeper)

The Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis indica or Combretum indicum) is also known by the common names: Chinese honeysuckle, Burma Creeper, Scarlet Rangoon and Drunken Sailor. Other names for the plant include Quiscual (in Spanish), Niyog-niyogan (in Filipino), Madhu Malti or Madhumalti (in Hindi), Malati (in Assamese), Akar Dani (in Malay) and Radha Manoharam (in Telugu).

The kind that we have is the double-petaled variety. Compared to the single petal variety, the double has smaller petals on the flower. But the cluster of flowers look so much thicker. It is one of the most beautiful and fragrant vines we had. Naturally, almost immediately, we wanted to propagate or make clones out of it.

Difficult Propagation by Stem Cuttings in Rangoon Creeper

Some local plant sellers suggested propagating this plant through stem cuttings. Some suggested around ten to twelve inches of stem, while others said two nodes in a stem would be enough. They're in unison in saying though that after putting the cuttings into soil, they should not be disturbed. Some suggested light watering only once and another suggested misting or spraying only. Still, another suggested an improvised propagation chamber.

I've performed all the tips, tricks and techniques mentioned above after gathering cuttings. Sadly, none of the cuttings rooted - in other words, zero success rate. In other fora I've read, in some US states, this vine is very easy to root as cuttings. Here, one thing I noticed is that the newly cut stem's leaves wilt easily. With just a bare stick, there is little that will support and sustain rooting. At least that's my theory.

Air Layering or Marcotting the Rangoon Creeper

The propagation technique called air layring or marcotting has yielded considerable success in propagating many of our plants. In fact, I've written a step-by-step tutorial on air layering or marcotting. The process is relatively easy but does need a bit of patience. I've also outlined the techniques for harvesting and repotting air-layered plants.

Shown below are the air layers I made on the vine's branches atop our garden gate arch. Here, I'm spraying the air layers or marcots with water.

Sometimes, the air layers' medium (mostly coco dust) would dry out and it would be very difficult for rooting to take place. Rather than take a ladder, climb it to water the air layers, I just use a hand sprayer and put it on a jet stream setting. I then take aim on the air layers' tied ends. Water flowing from the vine branches eventually find its way and seep into the ends of the air layers.

Mind you, it isn't easy marcotting the vine's branches up on a high ladder. You'd have to carry your air-layering kit as well as the wet medium up to the garden gate arch and set them there.

The photo below shows me marcotting the rangoon creeper on top of the garden arbor. This photo was taken from above. Notice I have my marcotting kit, a bowl of water and the materials on a tray that I set on the arbor.

It's hard on the knees getting up the ladder and even harder doing the air layering steps up there. The branches of the rangoon creeper can break easily when marcotting and so I even had to splint the air-layered branches.

The Rangoon creeper does not respond well with air-layering as a propagation technique. At least that's my experience. I've had very limited success in air layering the vine's branches.

From about thirty air layers that I've attempted on the Rangoon creeper, I've only managed to harvest only one healthy marcot. You can see how healthy the root is with this particular marcot as shown below.

This particular air-layered seedling has established well. The thickness of the root as well as the robustness of the branch and its leaves enabled it to survive and thrive.


I learned that you will have a bigger success rate propagating the Rangoon Creeper by root division. The process is easy, but you would need a mature vine preferably in a pot with many branches at the base. I've tried it and all the divided plants survived and are now thriving.

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