Rooting Hormone for Houseplants
In case you’ve ever read instructions or watched a video on propagating plants, you have probably encountered rooting hormone. If you want to “start” a new plant from a mature one, this tool is very useful.
To facilitate propagation of cuttings, rooting hormones are applied in two different ways. As well as being an antifungal agent, it facilitates strong root development and protects newly cut stems and leaves from infection.
In plant science and plant care, rooting hormone serves a crucial function, but you must be familiar with what it is, how to use it, and all of the types that are available, so you’ll be able to choose one that works best for your needs. You will be able to use it correctly if you do this.
What Is Rooting Hormone?
Rooting hormones are a commercial product – although you can make your own – that is used when propagating stem or leaf cuttings to promote root growth and protect the cutting from diseases. They are a mix of hormones naturally found in plants, called auxins.
Just like humans, the processes that occur within plants are regulated by hormones. The five primary plant hormones, auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, abscisic acid, and ethylene, work in a myriad of ways within plants.
When cells form, they are undifferentiated, meaning they are very basic and have the ability to differentiate into specialized cells depending on the concentration of hormones. When auxins are present, the trigger a cellular change that promotes roots to grow.
How Do You Use Rooting Hormone?
It is imperative that you use rooting hormone when reproducing new plants from cuttings. This will result in plants which are identical to their parents.
Cuttings of stems and leaves are popular methods for rooting hormones in plants.
Taking cuttings from plant stems is the most common way to propagate new plants. It is particularly effective for herbaceous plants, especially those that grow quickly like herbs and vining plants. Stem cuttings are typically taken by cutting the stem between 10 and 15 centimeters (4 and 5 inches) from the end and removing leaves from the bottom one-third of the stem. Those nodes, or points of the stem above the leaf blade, are where new roots will form.
In this case, an entire leaf is removed from a plant, which can either be used whole or cut into sections to root and propagate a new plant. Leaf cuttings are commonly used for succulents, African violets, snake plants, and peperomia.
The cutting process and the germination process are the same after the cutting is done.
You can dip your cutting in rooting hormone after it has been freshly cut. Make sure you pour some in a small bowl instead of directly dipping the cutting into the container to prevent contamination.
If you are going to plant in potting soil, gently plant the dipping end into a container filled with fresh potting soil. Bury it slightly underneath the soil and water well.
Place in a glass or plastic container tepid or room-temperature water, the dipped end of the cuttings when rooting in water.
You should place the container of soil or water in a warm, indirect area with plenty of light.
When Should You Use Rooting Hormone?
Many experienced gardeners will give you different answers when it comes to using rooting hormone. The opinions on whether or not you should use them vary considerably; some believe you should use them whenever you propagate cuttings; others believe that they are necessary when rooting expensive plants or plants that have difficulties growing roots; some firmly believe they aren’t needed at all.
Although rooting hormone is worth the money if you want to use it, it is not necessary to use it on all plants. If you do decide to use it, it certainly will increase the success rate of your cuttings. Depending on the plants, you may need to use it on ornamental landscape plants, succulents, and slow-rooting plants as well as skip it on plants that root quickly themselves.
Different Types Of Rooting Hormones
You can use a rooting hormone either as a premade product or as a natural solution.
Components in commercial products may vary in difference, but the form is similar. You should weigh the pros and cons of various forms to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Powder Rooting Hormone
Powder products are typically used in commercial growing operations or greenhouses/nurseries, and have a consistency similar to talc or flour.
Pros of using powder:
- Easy to use.
- Long shelf life.
- It doesn’t need refrigeration.
Cons of using powder:
- Less efficient than liquid. The powder doesn’t stick uniformly to the cutting, and the phytohormones are taken into cells more readily when dissolved in water.
Liquid Rooting Hormone
The liquid rooting hormones that homeowners use are commonly available as either concentrated solutions or standard ones. While concentrated solutions must be diluted prior to use, commercially available standard strength solutions are available right out of the bottle.
Pros of using liquid:
- Less mess than powdered types.
- No need to calculate the concentration when working with ready-to-use liquid products.
- Can adjust the concentration of concentrated products to meet the needs of the plant you are rooting.
Cons of using liquid:
- Can’t adjust the strength of the ready-to-use products.
Gel Rooting Hormone
In recent years, homeowners have increasingly turned to the gel formulation of root hormones.
Pros of using gel:
- Convenient to use; doesn’t need diluting.
- Less messy than powders.
- Thick coverage means better adherence to the plant tissue.
Cons of using gel:
- More expensive than other types.
- Shorter shelf life than powders.
- May need to be refrigerated.
Additionally, there are many items found in your home that can also be used as rooting hormones. While their scientific backing isn’t as strong as that of commercial products, there is evidence they work anecdotally.
Adding 1 tablespoon of honey to 2 cups of boiling water and letting cool makes honey a natural antibacterial agent.
You can mix 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a gallon of water. It contains over 30 trace elements that help promote plant growth.
The saliva in saliva can be used in either the spitting or licking method to help strengthen the roots.
Cinnamon is known to kill bacteria and fungus, so dip cut ends of cuttings in cinnamon directly for best results.
The salicylic acid in the aspirin acts as an anti-inflammatory and rooting stimulant and can be added to one gallon of warm water and soaked cuttings for several hours before potting.
Aloe vera gel: Aloe vera gel made from fresh squeezed aloe plants contains salicylic acid, which has pain-killing properties.
How To Choose A Good Rooting Hormone
There are some factors to consider when selecting a good rooting hormone. These parameters will help you to select the most suitable hormone for your needs.
Form – Consider the pros and cons of each type, deciding whether you want a powder that’s shelf-stable or a liquid/gel that works better but doesn’t keep as long.
Are all of your gardening practices organic, or do you choose to incorporate some conventional methods as well?
The price of rooting hormones can vary widely, depending upon their form, if they are organic, etc. How much you can afford to spend depends on your budget. My recommendation? Don’t purchase the cheapest products, but don’t spend money on costly ones either; instead, look for products with middle-of-the-road prices.
Internet reviews are a great way to learn what products are worthy of your money. In today’s world, you have access to numerous reviews online.