You probably know that willow bark was the basis for the common over-the-counter drug, Aspirin™ or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Young willow twigs contain both salicylic acid, which serves as an antifungal, and indolebutyric acid, a hormone which encourages rooting. Commercial rooting hormone contains Indole-3-butyric acid, a concentrated synthetic version of this naturally occurring rooting hormone, as well as a chemical fungicide. But if you are avoiding chemicals in your organic garden, willow is a powerful substitute. Oh, and did I mention it’s free and easy make?
Willow rooting hormone works in two ways. You can soak cuttings that you plan to root in willow water for 24 hours and then plant them in soil. Or you can water already rooted cuttings with prepared willow water to encourage stronger roots.
Advantages of willow rooting hormone
- Willow is free.
- Using willow rooting hormone speeds up the rooting process.
- The antifungal properties of willow improve the success rate of your propagation projects.
- You can make as much rooting hormone as you need from one or two willow shrubs.
- Cutting the willow to make rooting hormone actual stimulates new growth in the willows.
- The willow that you have growing in your own yard has already produced defenses against the most common fungal and bacterial challenges in your environment. When you make rooting hormone from these willows, you are giving your new plants the defense they need against these pathogens, allowing them to put more energy into growth. This will improve your propagation success rate.
- While commercial rooting hormones contain a single fungicide and a single hormone, organically grown willow will have several synergistic constituents that will help with your propagation success.
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