Have you ever transplanted herbs or seedlings in your garden beds? Do you propagate plants from your garden? If you have, you must have noticed that some of the transplants and/or stem cuttings don’t stay alive after a few days. If you follow the instructions of this how-to post, you will achieve better transplants and a higher rate of survival of your cuttings through preparing and applying your homemade root hormone.
In my first gardening years, I started experimenting with plant propagation and transplants, without much success. My cuttings suddenly looked weak, then they languished, and finally wilted. Watering was no solution because the cuttings didn’t have a root system to absorb water or nutrients. Sooner or later I learned some homemade recipes to prepare rooting hormones.
Homemade Root Hormone Willow Water
Willows are very special from which we can prepare a very good root hormone. New branches and leaves from these trees are packed with rooting hormones (from the auxin family). The Willow Water can be prepared in two simple ways, which only vary in the cooking tools, not in the ingredients. For this homemade root hormone, known as willow water, you will need:
- A few branching tips of a well-identified Weeping Willow (or another tree from the Salix relatives),
- A big jar or container with a lid.
- Enough water to cover the willow branch-tips.
How To Prepare and Use Willow Water Root Hormone
1. Collect some young willow branches with new and growing leaves. These branches are yellowish or have a light brownish appearance.
2. Remove the leaves off the branches (you may compost them).
3. Cut the leftover branches in small stems, of about 1” (2.5 cm) long.
4. Put the branch pieces in the container and cover them with boiling water, just like you would make a very concentrated tea. Let it stand overnight.
5. Strain the willow tea, which now has become the willow water, and keep it in the container until you wish to use it.
6. To use, pour some of the Willow Water in a flask, add water, and put your cuttings in for a few hours (or overnight) so they can absorb the root hormones in it. Plant the cuttings and observe them for new growth signs in the next few days.
Alternative Procedure to Prepare the Willow Water
There’s another way of preparing the Willow Water, but it takes a bit longer. Follow steps 1-3, put the willow pieces in a jar with water, close the lid. Let it soak for at least three days and proceed with steps 5 and 6.
Useful Tips to Preserve Your Willow Water
The Willow Water can be saved in a jar for up to two months if kept in the fridge. Remember to label it appropriately (with the substance name and date of preparation).
You may also find very deep and interesting info about the willow trees (Salix species) and a detailed procedure to prepare the willow water in Deep Green Permaculture.
In case you can’t get the ingredients for your homemade root hormone, or maybe you don’t have the time to prepare it, here is a small list of the best root hormones available for sale. These products are mostly organic extracts that have a strong growth effect on your plants’ roots.
I hope you try the Willow Water to improve the success rate of your cuttings in the garden and that you may also feel more confident in the process of plant propagation. Please tell me all about your experiences and if it works its wonders please share this post with your friends and gardening buddies.