My favorite fragrant rosemary plant needs a good trim. I have several kinds of rosemary, but this particular plant grows upright and gets about 3 feet tall. It smells wonderful and I use it for cooking. Since I think you can never have too much rosemary, I’m going to dehydrate some of it and use the rest to increase my bounty – I’m making rosemary cuttings.
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Rooting hormone helps you grow a new plant from the cuttings of an old plant (in my case, rosemary). This is known as propagation. You can buy rooting hormone from the store or, with the items already in your cupboard, you can make your own! Apple cider vinegar, Aspirin, and even your own spit can aid your plant’s growing process.
I’m concerned about the chemicals found in commercial rooting hormones and how it might affect my family’s health, so I’ve done some research and found 7 ways to make natural homemade rooting hormone. Read on to learn more!
Why I Use Rooting Hormone
I have never been able to achieve a 100% cutting survival rate. Some plants always die – it’s just a fact of life I guess. I do know that when I take the time to use rooting hormone, I have a better success rate with the new starts. Usually in the 75% range. I’ll take that!
Rooting hormone acts as a catalyst for root growth and protects the cuttings from fungus and diseases that may have been introduced during the cutting process.
A Word About Rooting Medium
Rooting medium is the mixture that you will use to grow your new plants. It is NOT garden soil, but much lighter. In fact, it is most likely not soil at all.
You can purchase pre-made rooting medium at any garden center (they’ll call it seed starting mix) or you can use a combination of pre-moistened potting soil, perlite, vermiculite, sand, coconut coir, or sphagnum moss.
The key is to choose something that will retain water and not be too dense for the newly sprouting roots.
Seven Ideas for Rooting Hormone
Increase the Success of Your Cuttings with One of These Natural Rooting Hormones
Regardless of the method you choose, there is one important thing to remember. It’s not sanitary to stick cuttings directly into the original container of rooting hormone. The moisture on the cutting will degrade the remaining hormone in the container.
Pour a small amount of the medium into a jar or paper cup and use that for dipping. It will keep your original rooting hormone fresh and ready to use for next time.
#1 Spit on them! Use your own saliva, which is said to be a natural root enhancer. I’m not sure how it works exactly because mouths are notoriously dirty, but go ahead and give it a try. There isn’t any advance preparation needed.
Some die-hards suggested that you just give the cuttings a lick, however, that’s not practical if you have hundreds of cuttings to make or if that plant is poisonous. I say – get your son to spit in a cup and use that. He’ll love a reason to do it and you will get your cuttings rooted.
#2 Use Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV has over 30 trace elements that are beneficial to plant growth. Go lightly though because vinegar is also a good weed killer. All you need to do is mix 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into 1 gallon of water and dip your cuttings in it then transfer them to the rooting medium.
Related: Here’s our step-by step guide to making ACV at home, without any of the nasty additives: Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar.
#3 Open the kitchen cabinet and grab the jar of cinnamon – Cinnamon kills fungus and bacteria and will help to keep those cuttings free of disease while rooting.
You could double the fun and dip the cuttings in saliva or willow tea and then cinnamon as they go hand in hand. Cinnamon will minimize off damping off in your seed flats as well.
#4 Honey is also naturally anti-bacterial and will benefit your new cuttings. To make a honey rooting hormone, take a few simple steps:
a.) Boil 2 cups of water
b.) Add 1 Tablespoon of honey
c.) Let the mixture cool and place it in a covered container (like a canning jar). Store your honey rooting hormone away from the light. It will last about 2 weeks.
To use: dip the cuttings in the solution then pot them up as usual.
#5 Aspirin crushed into powder and dissolved in water is also said to be an effective rooting hormone. While this might not be technically “natural” is is something you probably have around the house that could be used in a pinch.
Just add one tablet of crushed regular strength aspirin (325 mg) to warm water (1 gal.) and let the cuttings soak for several hours before potting them in the pre-made rooting medium.
#6 Make willow tea, aka willow water. Willow trees are rich in auxin hormone, which helps spur new roots faster.
Willows are the most potent in the spring when the trees begin to leaf out, but you can make this mixture any time. If you’re making willow tea in the spring, use only the stems from new growth.
Check out our DIY Willow Water, a Natural Rooting Hormone for the full directions on the process.
#7 Fresh aloe vera gel. If you have aloe plants growing in your yard, you can use the freshly squeezed aloe vera gel to make your own homemade natural rooting hormone.
One of aloe vera’s active ingredients is an anti-inflammatory component and rooting stimulant, salicylic acid. The same key component is the reason the natural rooting hormones #5 and #6 work.
Just extract the fresh gel from a mature plant’s leaves and mix it with a bit of water in a blender. Soak the cuttings in the mixture and add them to the growing medium. Spray the growing medium and plants with the remaining mix of aloe vera gel and water.
My rosemary cuttings are on the shelf and looking good! Use these 7 simple do it yourself natural rooting hormone tricks to boost the success of your cutting this year.
What is your favorite way to root cuttings? Have you used any of these techniques?
Frequently Asked Questions
What plants do bugs hate?
Well, we’ve talked about keeping fungus and bacteria away, now let’s talk about bugs. Get the following plants to keep critters at bay and maintain a healthy plantation:
- Citronella grass
- Bay leaves
What bugs do marigolds keep away?
Marigolds are some of the most appreciated pest repellants out there, with their scent being able to keep away mosquitoes, cabbage worms, plant lice, nematodes, and much more. On top of that, they also attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs that have an affinity for killing aphids.
What insects does mint attract?
Having mint in your garden is beneficial not only because it attracts beneficial insects but also because it repels the unwanted ones. Mint attracts bees, hoverflies, tachinid flies, and beneficial wasps. In turn, hoverflies and tachinid flies eat aphids and nasty bugs, thus providing further protection. Also, the smell of mint repels cabbage moths, houseflies, squash bugs, aphids, fleas, mosquitoes, ants, and fleas.
Does lavender repel cockroaches?
Yes, lavender repels cockroaches, and not only that but also a slew of other unwanted insects and pests. Moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitoes all shy away from lavender’s smell.
Does cinnamon kill mold in soil?
Cinnamon contains a natural and very effective fungicide that will kill any remaining Fungus. Be sure to allow the top soil to properly dry out before watering again. Once the fungus has cleared up, there is no need to continue applying the ground cinnamon to the soil.
We hope that the information you have found in this article was useful. If you think that there’s something we forgot to mention, please leave us a comment below and let us now. Also, feel free to share this article with others so that they too can take advantage of natural rooting hormone.