So you’re interested in propagating plants via cuttings? Once you’ve mastered the basics, the next step is to give your plants the best opportunity to switch from producing green stem cells to manufacturing root cells.
Giving your plant root-stimulating hormones will increase your chance of successful plant rooting and help your plant develop higher quality roots at a faster rate.
While there are many plants that root on their own (often just in a cup of water), these roots are never as strong as those rooted with a hormone.
There are four main ingredients in cloning solutions: gel/water/dry base, vitamins/minerals, the active ingredient, and antibacterial/antifungal elements. The three substances that stimulate root growth include napthalenaecetic acid (NAA), indolebutyric acid (IBA), and 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2, 4 DPA). IBA tends to be the most common in our industry.
Three main forms of rooting hormones are gels, liquids, and powders. Fifth Season Gardening stores tend to stock the first two, as liquid and gel types penetrate plant stems more evenly, stay there longer, and are the most versatile and consistent. Powdered rooting hormones, although a longtime favorite of many, adhere inconsistently to stems, penetrate poorly, spur uneven root growth, and yield a lower survival rate.
As soon as cuttings are taken, the rooting hormones are dispatched to the wound and arrive in full force in about 7 days where they fulfill the plants’ needs until natural hormones take over.
Liquid solutions are best applied after root development has begun (when there are little root “nubs”). Many of these products are available in stores and will promote explosive root growth after the initial development stage.
These liquids include:
- Clonex Solution
- RX Life Solution
- General Hydroponics’ Rapid Start (which utilizes the powers of Willow bark*)
- Olivia’s Solution
- Atami’s Rootbastic
*Willow bark has an all-natural root-inducing substance. The exact substance is currently unknown, but the science community has found that willow water promotes about 20% more root matter than plain water.
- Technaflora’s Rootech – a water-based gel with .55% IBA. Notably, Rootech is water soluble and can still work wonders in hydroponic rooting machines like Oxyclones and EZ Clones.
- Clonex – an alcohol-based gel with .31% IBA.