If you are a gardener who loves to propagate new plants at home or in your backyard, then you need the best rooting hormone to help you grow strong, healthy new plants.
Here are our reviews of different root hormone products currently on the market, our recommendation for the best rooting hormone, tips on how to use rooting hormone and answers to common questions about this product.
Why Should We Use Rooting Hormones?
For anyone unfamiliar with the product, root hormone is a chemical mix of synthetic plant hormones that encourages quick, healthy root growth from cuttings taken from existing plants.
It’s a simple, cost-effective way of growing more of the plants you love. There are a lot of plants that can easily be propagated just by taking a stem or leaf cutting and using it to grow a brand-new plant.
Most perennials are ideal for propagation, but you can also use this method on roses, boxwoods, rosemary, basil, dahlias, camellias, azaleas, honeysuckle, and even some hardwoods like angel’s trumpet and fruit trees.
There are different types of root hormone on the market, with each type suited to the method of propagation you want to use and the type of plant you want to grow.
Types of Plant Rooting Hormones
1. Liquid Rooting Hormone
You can buy a liquid plant rooting hormone either as a concentrate or a ready-to-use solution. If you are new to the process of propagating plants, then it’s best to choose a premixed root hormone, as it makes the process much easier.
The concentrated form needs to be diluted before you can use it. It’s a pretty simple process of measuring out some of the solution and mixing it with the right amount of water, and it’s often more cost-effective if you are planning to propagate lots of plants.
Whenever you are using a liquid rooting hormone, pour the amount you need into a clean container rather than dipping your cutting into the bottle. This helps to prevent the spread of diseases between plants.
When choosing a rooting hormone, look for a product that will work on the type of plant you are propagating. Some work best on soft stemmed plants, while others are powerful enough to work on hardwoods and more challenging species.
2. Powder Plant Rooting Hormone
Root hormone can also come in a powder form, which is preferred by many gardeners as well as commercial growers because it is effective for much longer than liquid varieties.
It’s simple to use too – all you have to do is dip the cutting into the powder, shake off the excess gently and plant it. It’s usually a good idea to dip the stem in the water before dipping it to the powder to ensure that the powder will stick thoroughly.
3. Gel Rooting Hormone
Rooting gel, also called cloning gel is another very popular option, and the best rooting gel can be used easily especially if you are growing plants indoors, because it’s premixed and convenient to use.
It is very effective and has a high success rate because the gel adheres very well to the cutting, giving the plant’s tissues plenty of time to absorb the hormone.
It’s also very easy to use - Just place sufficient gel in a clean container and dip the stem into it, coating it well before planting it in a growing medium.
How To Use A Rooting Hormone
1. Collecting Your Cuttings
The first thing that you need to do is to collect your stem or leaf cuttings. Choose sections of your plant that are healthy, well-nourished and disease-free.
The better your cutting is, the healthier your new plant will be. Use clean, sharp scissors to cut a 3 to 4-inch section at a growth node, then strip it of all but the top leaves.
This article on pothos plants has a very useful section on how to cut and prepare leaf and stem cuttings for propagation, as well as different propagation methods you can use.
2. Pouring Your Rooting Hormone Separately
Prepare your root hormone in a separate, clean container to prevent contamination. Dip one inch of the cutting into the hormone. This area is where the roots will come out.
3. Planting the Rooted Stem
Choose a small pot or container with a drainage hole (clean cardboard egg cartons work well for very small cuttings) and fill it with a growing medium.
Because cuttings are so much smaller than a grown plant, it’s best to use a potting mix for seedlings, as this is fine and well-draining as well as rich in nutrients. Remember to research your plant too to find the right medium – some plants, like watermelon peperomia prefer a mix of perlite and peat.
4. Now Start Waiting for The Plants to Form
Once you have planted your cutting, place it in a warm spot and water regularly, making sure that all excess water drains out. Position it to get dappled or indirect sunlight for the first few weeks so you don’t stress the plant.
When you start to see new leaf growth, you can move it into more sunlight if it is a sun-loving plant.
Best Rooting Hormone Reviews for 2024
Rooting Hormone FAQs
What is the Active Hormone in Rooting Gels and Powder?
Rooting gels, rooting powders, and rooting hormones all use a synthetically produced form of auxins, an enzyme which protects cut stems from infection and supports the development of new roots.
Auxins encourage plants to change the use of their cells and morph from stem to roots.
Do You Need Rooting Hormone to Root Cuttings?
Rooting hormone improves the success rate of cuttings as proven in countless lab tests, but it is definitely possible to root cuttings without it.
Some deciduous trees, like poplars, acers and willow don’t require it, and can be negatively affected by rooting hormone, but almost all other plants will benefit from a small dab of rooting powder or gel.
Can I Make My Own Rooting Hormone?
There are several DIY plant root hormone solutions you can make at home. Here are some examples that help support healthy root growth in cuttings.
- Willow water – This can be used on its own or with another natural rooting product. It contains natural indolebutyric and salicylic acids that are antibacterial and antifungal.
Experts also say willow water helps your cutting grow new roots faster.
- Apple cider vinegar – Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 6 cups of water, and dip your cutting’s root section into the mixture before planting.
Do not exceed this amount of vinegar, as too much can kill your cutting.
What is the best homemade rooting hormone?
Apple cider vinegar contains most of the nutrients and enzymes required to support plant roots. Still, most importantly it provides a layer of antibacterial and antifungal protection while your plants root.
Can I Use Cinnamon as a Rooting Hormone?
This spice is a great rooting hormone substitute. It’s naturally antibacterial and antifungal, and it keeps pests away too - preventing some of the most common issues that kill new cuttings. Simply dip the section you’ll plant into ground cinnamon and plant.
Is Saliva a Good Rooting Hormone?
While it might seem a bit odd, human saliva is an incredibly effective rooting hormone. It contains antibacterial enzymes which protect plants from decay, and is readily available, with many gardeners swearing by its results.
If you’ve got a dog (and a strong stomach) dog saliva is an incredibly effective rooting hormone, as it contains auxins, which are the active hormone in rooting gels.
Is Honey a Rooting Hormone?
Honey is another good alternative to chemical rooting hormone as it has great antibacterial and antifungal properties. Simply boil 2 cups of water, add a tablespoon of organic honey, mix until combined, and let it cool.
Then dip the cutting’s root section into the mixture before planting.
Does Aloe Work as Rooting Hormone?
You can also use an aloe gel as a plant root hormone when propagating plants from cuttings. There are some you can buy at your local garden center, but you can also make it at home if you have access to fresh aloe leaves.
All you have to do is scrape out the gel from inside the aloe leaf, mix it with a tablespoon of water, and rest your plant cutting with the root section in the gel for about a week, keeping it wet. When you should see roots emerging, your cutting is ready to plant.
You can pour the aloe gel/water mix in when you plant the cutting, providing moisture and nutrients.
Can You Grow Cut
tings Without Rooting Hormone?
Yes, you can. The methods mentioned above are great natural alternatives to chemical rooting hormone, but there are other ways to propagate cuttings too. Some plants, like pothos, are naturally easy to propagate, and you can simply place the cutting into clean water or directly into soil.
You can find out more about how to do this in this article. These methods don’t work for every type of plant, however, and chemical hormone solutions give you the best chance of success with more challenging propagation like rooting roses from cuttings, rooting hydrangeas or propagating fruit trees.
If you have limited cuttings or a more challenging plant to propagate, using the best cloning gel, rooting powder or best rooting hormone is recommended.
How Do Natural Rooting Hormones Work?
Most natural alternatives to rooting hormones, like cinnamon, honey or turmeric work by protecting cuttings from infection. They don’t have the active enzymes or hormones which support root development but are still effective at giving a helping hand if you prefer not to use synthetic hormones.
The only practical natural alternatives to rooting hormones are human and canine saliva (we’ll stick to rooting gel for now).
What is the Best Natural Rooting Hormone?
Willow water or willow extract is probably the best rooting hormone that is natural rather than a chemical synthetic product. That’s because it contains very high levels of salicylic acid (SA) and indolebutyric acid (IBA), which encourage growth while protecting against bacteria and fungus.
Here’s a great video on how to use rooting hormone to grow basil.
While there are natural alternatives, the best rooting hormone or cloning gel will guarantee the highest success rate for growing your cuttings, especially if you are rooting roses from cuttings, rooting hydrangeas or fruit trees, or propagating any more challenging plants.
Here are our reviews on the best rooting hormone products on the market, including the best cloning gel and the best hormone rooting powders, so you can make an informed choice.
Make Propagation Easier by Using the Best Rooting Hormones in 2024
If you want your cuttings to grow and thrive, then you need a rooting hormone that is powerful, convenient to use, well-priced and suited to the type of cutting you are growing.
The best rooting hormone not only has all the right hormones to encourage root growth and a track record of success to prove it, it also nourishes and supports the cutting as it develops.
We hope you enjoyed our reviews on the best rooting hormone and tips on how to use rooting powders, cloning gels and rooting liquids for great results – best of luck with your propagation projects!