DIY Rooting Hormone
I’ve been asked quite a bit about what I prefer to use as a rooting hormone agent. A rooting hormone agent helps plants, especially cuttings and shoots to adapt quicker to the soil and can also help to repel insects that like to attack new root growth. I haven’t used commercially prepared and packaged rooting hormone agent in decades, and when I did use it, I didn’t like it very much. I didn’t see much difference between the cuttings I used it on and those I didn’t. I went back to my old method of rooting hormone, which I learned from my mom and gram. It’s quite easy to make, it works well, it’s natural and it will also save ya some bucks.
To make rooting hormone soak the yellow-tipped shoots of a weeping willow tree in water. A tea made from the bark of a willow tree is also effective. When using the shoots or bark soak them for 24 hours prior to using.
Gather a handful of chopstick-size willow twigs. Fresh branches work best; avoid deadfall.
Any variety of willow will work since they all contain the natural chemical IBA (indolebutyric acid) – a natural plant growth regulator.
Chop the willow stems into 3-4 inch pieces with clippers or a cleaver. You should have about 2 cups of clippings to make a one gallon batch of willow bark rooting hormone.
Place the chopped willow pieces in a large container and cover with 1 gallon of boiling water.
Allow the prepared willow bark tea to stand overnight. The longer it steeps, the more IBA will be released into the water.
Store the willow bark rooting hormone in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Label the container.
Soak tip cuttings into the willow bark rooting hormone overnight prior to planting in soil. The IBA will infuse into the bark and stems encouraging rooting and inhibiting fungus, bacteria and viral disease.
The rooting hormone that you bought last year is now of no use to you. It loses its potency quite rapidly. So by making your own you are not only giving your seedlings a better source of rooting hormone, you are also saving money and not having to re-supply your commercial rooting hormone every year. White willow tea rooting hormone can be made in big batches and then frozen until later use.
Use Honey as a Rooting Hormone for Cuttings:
Prepare cuttings in the usual manner, however dip the ends of the cuttings in honey instead of rooting powder and you will have a high success rate. The hormones produced by the honey promotes rapid root growth.
To make the honey a rooting hormone agent you will need to take a few very simple steps:
1) boil 2 cups of water
2)add 1 TBS(tablespoon) of honey
3) Let mixture cool then put in an airtight container
4) Store out of light, either sunlight or artificial
5) Dip cutting in solution then plant, no real need to put baggie/plastic over cuttings.
I have used this solution and have had much better results in rooting cuttings than with rooting hormones purchased.
Please note: The shelf life of this solution is approximately 2 weeks. Freeze and thaw for later use.