There is a great deal of information about organic rooting hormones running on the Net but a research report has just been released describing the use of honey and willow as rooting aids.
Three Different Solutions Tested
1) Two tablespoons of honey per pint of water was brought to a boil, then cooled for the rooting trial.
2) 20 to 40 grams of willow leaves (cut up and/or mashed) were boiled in a quart of water and allowed to cool.
3) The control was a commercial growth hormone called Hormodin.
All cuttings were treated with a 30-second dip in different solutions. They were then put on a commercial rooting bench with mist and bottom heat.
Over a 12 week rooting period, the percentage of rooting was consistent across all treatments with 81% of the cuttings taking root. (Both organic rooting hormones did as well as the commercial one)
But of those that didn’t root (the other 19%) in the subsequent 5-6 weeks, soaking in willow water resulted in higher rooting percentages than did the honey and the commercial product.
Bottom Line On These Two Organic Rooting Hormones
Get the willow leaves out – mash ’em up with water in a blender and bring to a boil. Then cool. (Any willow family member should work – from weeping willow trees to smaller pussy willow shrubs.)
Ignore the honey and the commercial stuff unless you can’t find willow leaves and then use the honey.
Either soak the freshly taken cuttings in the water for 30 seconds before putting into a propagation system or if you’re using an old-fashioned water in a jar system – use some of the willow water as your rooting water.
And this assist should work on most plants.
Will This Willow Juice Store For Extended Times?
I have no idea but my best guess would be no. Bacteria might find a way to live in the jar and/or the hormone may not store well. Commercial rooting hormones have a six-month shelf life after you open the package. So if you’ve been using a commercial rooting hormone that’s over six months old, it’s pretty much useless.
Use fresh “juice” every time.
Follow those directions and you’ll be rooting cuttings with the pros.