Make Your Own Willow Water – A Natural Rooting Hormone
Spring is the time of year to make cuttings and increase the favorite herbs and perennials in my garden. My windowsill is full of cuttings in water or cuttings under mini greenhouses. It’s such a frugal way to make the most of a good purchase. I look for inexpensive plants to purchase and make them the “mother”. I do worry about the chemicals found in powdered rooting hormone and how it might effect my family’s health, though. My answer to this is to make Willow Water, a natural rooting hormone.
Willow Water Plant Science
There are two substances found in the willow tree that enhance root growth, Salicylic acid and Indolebutyric acid. When you make willow water, both these acids leach into the water, and provide beneficial effects for your cuttings. They help your cuttings fight off bacteria, fungi and infections – giving them a better chance to survive. They also help speed up the rooting process.
Making Willow Rooting Hormone is Easy
You will need a handful of willow twigs, cut in early spring. USE THE GREENEST, NEWEST TWIGS YOU CAN GET, these have the highest acidic properties.
- Strip off the leaves (and compost them)
- Cut the remaining twigs into 1 inch pieces
- Put your pieces in a Mason (or glass) jar and add boiling water. I used 1/3 twigs to 2/3 water
- After 24 hours, strain the liquid into another container and compost the 1 inch pieces. I left mine out in the sun for three days and made a strong batch!
Use Your Willow Water
- If you like to take cuttings and grow them in water on the windowsill (like I do) you can add 1/2 regular water and 1/2 willow water to the container. This will help the rooting process along.
- Soak your cutting for several hours in full strength willow rooting hormone and then plant as you normally would. The soak will give them an extra boost.
- Use your willow concoction to water in your new cuttings. Two willow waterings should be enough to give them a good start.
Making and using DIY Willow Water is a frugal and healthy alternative to powdered rooting hormone. Try it today and let us know how your planting is going.