Using Rooting Hormone Powders And Liquids – 4 Tips for Cutting Success

Taking cuttings from healthy, mature plants is a great way to increase your plant collection. How can you be sure that your cuttings will grow roots and take hold?

Rooting hormone powders can help you have more success growing strong, healthy plants from cuttings.

rooting hormone powder ready for a cutting to dipPin

In this article, we will explain the use of rooting hormones and review product options. Read on to learn more.

Can’t a cutting grow roots on its own? Try using a rooting compound.

There are lots of hardy, enthusiastic plants that grow roots readily and easily. Among the best rooters are:

  • Tradescantia
  • Portulaca
  • Fuschia
  • Coleus plants – but I use a rooting powder on them anyway.

With these types of plants, you may not need to use a rooting hormone on the plant cuttings because they produce their own natural rooting hormone making propagation easily without assistance.

There are also plants that naturally grow roots while still attached to the parent plant. Several examples of this are:

  • Various types of ivy
  • Hanging Ficus
  • Phalaenopsis Orchids

These plants spread quickly and grow new roots as they go. When you take a cutting of these types of plants, you should be able to find stems that already have roots started.

If not, new roots will grow quickly when the cuttings are placed in water or light, well-draining soil.

You should also not use rooting hormones on cuttings from very juicy plants such as Saintpaulia or Mother of Thousands or various and sundry succulent plants.

Why Do Some Cuttings Need Rooting Hormones?

When you take a cutting from a plant, it automatically produces its own natural rooting hormones helping it begin developing roots at the base.

When the leaves of the cutting are exposed to light, a chemical known as Indole-3-acetic acid is produced. This is a rooting hormone.

This substance travels from the leaves to the end of the stem.

When enough has accumulated at the base of the cutting, the substance signals the plant’s cells to begin the process of growing roots. Commercial rooting hormones help facilitate this process.

Rooting hormones stimulate root growth in “off” times of the year.

In addition to the type of plant chosen as a cutting, the time of year has a big effect on the success or failure of starting plants from slips.

For most plants, late spring and early summer are natural times for growth, so it is generally better to start your cuttings at this time.

When this is not possible, you can increase your chances of success dramatically by using rooting hormones, even on plants that normally root well on their own.

Which Cuttings Are Hardest To Start?

Plants grown from woody stem cuttings do not grow roots easily. When you take a cutting from a woody plant, such as:

You may find that you have a very long wait until roots form if they ever do.

These types of plants really benefit from the use of rooting hormones in a powder form, liquid, and even a gel form. Interested – Try the Clonex rooting gel at Amazon..

How Do You Use Rooting Hormone?

There are a couple of different ways to use this rooting solution product. You can choose to use a powder or a liquid form.

Typically, rooting products are available in three strengths:

  • #1 – is intended for use on soft, herbaceous cuttings.
  • #2 – is intended for use on semi-hardwood cuttings.
  • #3 – is intended for use on stubborn hardwood cuttings.

How Do You Use Rooting Powder?

Most rooting hormones come as a powder which can simply be lightly dusted onto the end of a cutting.

Many people just dip the cutting into the container of rooting powder, and this is alright as long as your cutting isn’t wet. If it’s wet, it could contaminate the product.

If you are going to apply rooting powder to a cutting, you should put it on the bottom half-inch to full inch of the stem. Be sure all the leaves have been cut off this section.

A commercial rooting powder for plants usually contains a very small amount of the rooting hormone. It may also contain a fungicide. The bulk of the product is an inert substance, such as talcum powder.

When you apply rooting powder, you must be sure not to apply too much as this can be detrimental. If your cutting is damp or if it has a lot of little hairs on it, it will tend to pick up and retain too much powder.

If this happens, give the cutting a gentle tap or shake to remove excess product.

How Do You Use Liquid Rooting Hormone?

You can also use a liquid product which contains the same active ingredients as rooting powder but uses an alcohol-based liquid instead of a dry powder as a carrier.

To use this product, you would choose the appropriate strength to suit your purposes and then just give your cuttings a quick dip to get them off to a good start.

NOTE: Personal Experience

A note from my personal experience. For most of my plant growing career, I’ve used the rootone rooting powder. However, I have used the liquid form in the rooting of Dracaena cane and yucca cane shipped in from Costa Rica.

The results compared to the rooting powder were just as good. The liquid rooting hormone could be sprayed making the application process easier.

When you dip your cuttings in the solution, let them stand in it for about five seconds so that the product will soak into the plant tissues a little bit.

Plant your cuttings right away. If you leave them exposed for too long before planting, they may die of thirst.

What Are The Best Rooting Hormones Are Available?

As far as what is the best rooting hormone on the market? I’ve always used Rootone. You’ll find others on the market which contain the active ingredient – naphthaleneacetic acid or IBA – short for indolebutyric acid.

Rootone is a tried and true rooting hormone powder that has been on the market for decades. [source]

Here are some top sellers at Amazon:

4 Tips for Success With Cuttings

Rooting hormones can really help you get cuttings off to a good start, but they can’t do it alone.

You must also provide an ideal setting to encourage healthy growth and development. Here are four tips to help you have the best luck:

#1 – Although some cuttings need to be dried or “hardened” a bit before planting, never let this period extend too long. If cuttings are left to dry out entirely, they will just die.

Cuttings that need to be hardened a bit (e.g. geraniums and Pelargoniums) should be placed out of direct sunlight on newspaper or paper towels in an area that maintains a steady temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just leave them for a couple of days and then apply rooting hormone and plant.

#2 – Be sure to keep enough leaves on your cutting so that it can perform photosynthesis.

You don’t want it to have to support a lot of big, showy leaves, but keep at least a couple of medium sized leaves in place so that the cutting can benefit from sunlight.

#3 – Your cutting needs more leaves in the wintertime than in the summertime.

#4 – Keep the humidity high around your cuttings. You may wish to cover them with plastic or glass to prevent drying out.

Rooting Hormone Gives Your Green Thumb A Boost

It is easy and affordable to propagate new plants from cuttings. Most of the time you can get good results with just a small section of the plant.

Many plants root in water or in a no-potting soil rooting medium. Some can be started easily in sand or perlite.

Although lots of plants are easy to root, if you want to start plants during an offseason or if you want to ensure your luck with hard to root plants such as citrus trees, you will surely find that rooting hormone is a must-have in your greenhouse and garden. [source]