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Are you looking for a completely natural, organic rooting hormone that will increase your success rate for growing cuttings? Great news! You can make your own right at home! The only tricky part is you need access to a willow tree!
How Does It Work?
Why a willow tree you ask? Well, the way that it works is due to two main substances found in the Salix (Willow) species, namely, indolebutyric acid (IBA) and Salicylic acid (SA).
Indolebutyric acid (IBA) is a plant hormone that stimulates root growth. It is present in high concentrations in the growing tips of willow branches. One of the biggest threats to cuttings is infection by bacteria and fungi. This is where the Salicylic acid, (which is chemically similar to Aspirin), comes in. It helps plants to fight off infection, and can, therefore, give your cuttings a better chance of survival.
How to Make the Rooting Hormone or Willow Water
The process for making your organic rooting hormone couldn’t be simpler and takes but 5 easy steps!
Harvest Raw Materials
Collect young first-year twigs of any of willow (Salix spp.) species. You can tell the new growth by the green or yellow bark. Don’t use the older growth that has older grey or brown bark.
Process Raw Materials
Remove all the leaves. The leaves are not used in the process, but don’t waste them! Throw the leaves into your compost, or use as mulch!
Cut the remaining twigs into short pieces – about 1 inch (2.5cm) long.
Infuse Rooting Hormone
Now you have a choice of two different methods to extract the all-natural, organic rooting hormone!
Place the chopped willow twigs in a glass jar that can handle heat. Pour boiling water over the twigs till they are completely covered and leave to stand overnight.
Use filtered water that is chlorine and fluoride free – you don’t want to add any unnecessary chemicals to your natural rooting hormone!
Place the chopped willow twigs in a glass jar and cover with unheated water (unheated). Let it soak for several days.
Store Rooting Hormone
After the required time has elapsed, pour off the liquid, through a strainer, into another clean glass jar. Hey presto! You are now done and have an organic rooting hormone to root your cuttings! You can keep your rooting hormone for up to two months if you put it in glass jar with a tight fitting lid and keep it in the refrigerator.
How To Use Your Organic Rooting Hormone
Using your organic rooting hormone is as easy as making it! There are a few of methods you can use.
Pour some willow water into a small glass jar and place the cuttings in it. Leave the cuttings to soak overnight. Then propagate the cuttings as normal. Leave them to soak overnight so that they take up the rooting hormone. Then prepare them as you would when propagating any other cuttings.
In the second method, you can propagate the cuttings as you usually would, in a propagating medium such as potting soil. Then water the propagating medium with willow water. Water twice in this manner and that should be enough to help the cuttings to root.
I use this method when growing shoots from sweet potatoes. Use a mixture of half willow water to half plain water. Leave the sweet potato or cutting in the mixture for a few days, or until roots are starting to form, then replace the mixture with plain water.
Making a rooting hormone in this way gives you a completely natural all organic method of improving your success in rooting cuttings and growing shoots from tuber type vegetables. You can now safely grow food from cuttings for you and your family to consume and know that they are free from any harmful chemicals.
You may also like our post on Foraging for Purselane as a Wild Edible
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