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How To Use Rooting Hormones

  Using a rooting hormone to propagate plant cuttings
increases the chance that the new plants will thrive.

Taking a cutting from a plant and growing it produces a new plant identical to the parent plant. This is a reliable and inexpensive way to propagate your favorite plants and the best way to grow new difficult-to-propagate plants. Stem cuttings are the most common, but plants can also be grown from root cuttings and leaf cuttings.

When the rooting hormone is used correctly, it causes the cutting to develop roots quickly and be more robust than cuttings that don't receive the rooting hormone. Most homeowners use it primarily on ornamental plants in the landscape and to propagate succulents. It is available at garden supply stores and at online gardening sites.

  What Are Root Hormones

Plants also have hormones and these chemicals are called plant hormones. These are different than the hormones found in animals.

Plant hormones fall into 5 main classes:

  Auxins are produced in terminal buds and suppress the growth of side buds and stimulate root growth. They also affect cell elongation (tropism), apical dominance, and fruit drop or retention.
  Gibberellins affect cell division, flowering, size of fruit and leaves, and they are important in overcoming seed dormancy.
  Cytokinins promote cell division, aging in leaves, and influence cell differentiation
  Abscisic acid is a stress hormone that inhibits other hormones during periods of stress.

As you can see hormones are critical for the growth and development of plants. The hormones that will be discussed in this post are the Auxins, which are responsible for root growth.

  Do-It-Yourself Rooting Hormone

Making your own homemade rooting hormone is easy and we'll show you how to do it using 3 different all-natural ingredients you might even already have on hand!

Cinnamon Rooting Hormone

Take about a tablespoon of pure cinnamon powder and put it onto a paper towel. Wet the plant stems wet (this will make it easier for them to stick to the cinnamon). Roll the damp stem ends in the cinnamon, coating them on both sides. Plant the stems into fresh potting soil.

Aloe Vera Hormone

Take a leaf of aloe vera, and place the leaf on your cutting board. Using the smallest end of the leaf, point it in your direction an cut into your aloe vera from the opposite end. Use a spoon to force out the gel.

Put the gel into a cup, and stir the aloe vera until the chunks start to become more uniform. Dip your stems into the cup. Plant the stems into fresh potting soil.

Honey Rooting Hormone

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add a tablespoon of honey to the water. Stir until your honey becomes integrated with the water. Cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a canning jar or a container with a tight cover. Coat the bottom of your stems with the honey liquid. Plant the stems into fresh potting soil.

  Commercial Rooting Products

The auxins help plants produce roots. It is only natural that someone creates products that can be applied to plants to help them make roots – commercial rooting products. Products like Clonex, a brand name, are called a number of different things, like; rooting gel, rooting compound, cloning gel, rooting solution, rooting powder and rooting medium. These are all essentially the same thing – rooting hormones.

Top Picks!

  Gel Rooting Hormone: HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel
  Liquid: Dip ‘N Grow Liquid Rooting Hormone
  Powder: Miracle Grow FastRoot

  Which Cuttings Can You Use?

Rooting a stem cutting The rooting hormone works on a variety of cuttings, including new growth, woody stems, leaves, and roots to dramatically increase the odds of success with propagation. If the plant is a blooming plant, wait until the blooms fade before taking the cutting. Rooting new plants from parents requires patience and the cuttings are fragile before the root system develops. In general, keep the planting medium moist but not wet and provide light but no direct sun.

  Using Rooting Hormone on a Stem Cutting

  Remove a fresh, healthy stem cutting from a parent plant using a clean knife or shears. Use only cuttings from vigorous and healthy plants, and make sure the growing tip is between 3 inches and 8 inches long. Cut the topmost few inches from the stem. The cut should be made near a node, which is a slightly swollen knob on the stem. Remove any leaves or flowers from the node area.

  Moisten the bottom few inches of the cutting so the rooting hormone will adhere to it.

  Pour a little rooting hormone out of the container and dip or roll the bottom few inches of the cutting in the rooting powder. Do not dip the cutting directly into the rooting hormone container. Don't apply the powder any higher than the planting depth. Shake the excess powder off by lightly tapping the cutting against the edge of the container.

  Plant the cutting in a soilless potting medium. Make a hole in the potting medium with a pencil or similar tool. Make sure the planting hole is wide enough that the rooting hormone is not rubbed off as you sink the cutting into the soil.

  Tamp down the soil around the cutting to remove any air pockets. Water lightly and keep the cutting warm at 60 F or higher. Most plants root better if they are kept out of direct sunlight.

  Working With Leaf Cuttings

Rooting a leaf cutting Some plants, such as many succulents, don't have stems. These plants can be propagated by leaf cuttings. Depending on the leaf structure, apply the rooting hormone to the part of the leaf that was closest to the center of the plant and cover it with a soilless potting mix. Plant the leaf partway in the mix. If the leaf has a short stem, such as found in African violets, dip the stem in rooting hormone and plant it in the potting soil just like you do with stem cuttings, sinking the stem up to the leaf in the mix.

In some cases, it is necessary to cover the backside of the leaves with the rooting hormone and lay them on top of the moist soilless mix and lightly press down until the leaf touches the mix. Keep all rooting plants out of the direct sun until they have developed a robust root system.

  Working With Root Cuttings

Rooting a root cutting Some plants, such as many succulents, don't have stems. These plants can be propagated by leaf Root cuttings are just what they sound like. They are pieces of the root of a parent plant that will eventually produce a new plant. Pull the soil back from the root area of the parent plant. Cut 2-inch pieces of slender roots and recover the root area of the parent plant. Roll the root cuttings in the rooting hormone and plant them shallowly in a rooting medium. Keep the medium moist but not wet. Root cuttings are frequently taken in the fall to give the plant the entire winter to produce a new plant by spring.

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