How does rooting hormone work? – A PUZZLE

If you’ve ever read instructions or watched a video on how to propagate plants, chances are you’ve heard of rooting hormone. It is recommended when “starting” new plants from existing plants and has a very useful purpose.

How does rooting hormone work? Rooting hormone is used in the propagation of cuttings to increase success and it works in two different ways. It helps stimulate root growth and stronger root development and also acts as an antifungal agent to protect the freshly cut stem/leaf from infection.

Rooting hormone serves an important purpose in science and plant care, but it’s important to understand what it is, how and when to use it, all the different types available, and how to choose rooting hormone. rooting adapted to your needs. This will ensure that you use it correctly.


What is rooting hormone?

Root hormones are a commercial product, although you can make your own, used to propagate stem or leaf cuttings to promote root growth and protect the cutting from disease. They are a mixture of hormones naturally present in plants, called auxins.

As in humans, the processes that take place in plants are regulated by hormones. The five primary plant hormones, auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, abscisic acid and ethylene, act in myriad ways on plants.

When the cells are formed, they are undifferentiated, which means they are very basal and have the ability to differentiate into specialized cells based on the concentration of hormones. When auxins are present, they cause a cellular change that promotes root growth.

carrot hormone

How is rooting hormone used?

Rooting hormone is used when propagating new plants from cuttings. This results in seedlings that are identical clones to the parent plant.

The two most popular methods are stem cuttings and leaf cuttings.

stem cuttings

Stem cuttings are the most common method of propagating new plants. They work well for herbaceous plants, especially fast-growing plants such as herbs and vines (eg. brosphilodendronivyetc.).

To cut a stem, remove a 4 to 5 inch (10 to 15 cm) section from the end of the stem and remove the leaves from the bottom third of the stem. New roots will emerge from the nodes, the points on the stem where the leaves attach.

leaf cuttings

Leaf cuttings are often used for plants such as succulents, African violets, snakes and peperomia. In this case, a whole leaf is removed from the plant; can be used whole or cut into sections or strips to root and propagate a new plant.

Once the cuttings are taken, both methods follow the same steps.

  1. When you are done cutting, dip the freshly cut end in rooting hormone. Be sure to pour some into a small bowl instead of plunging the plant material directly into the container to avoid contamination.
  2. as an implant potting soil, carefully place the submerged end of the cutting in a pot of fresh potting soil. Bury it slightly below the surface and water the soil well.
  3. If you root your cuttings in water, place the submerged end of the cutting in a glass or plastic container filled with warm or room temperature water.
  4. Place the container with soil or water in a warm place with bright, indirect light.

When should rooting hormone be used?

Ask a handful of experienced gardeners when to use rooting hormone, and you’re sure to get a handful of answers. Some people think you should always use it when propagating cuttings; some think you should use them to root expensive plants or slow-rooting plants; some people think they are never needed.

In my opinion, rooting hormone is worth it if you want to invest in it; its use will certainly improve your cutting success rates, but it is not necessary to use it on all plants. I would recommend using it on ornamentals, succulents and slow rooting plants and omitting it on plants that root quickly on their own.

Different Types of Rooting Hormones

If you choose to use a rooting hormone, you can buy store-bought products or use natural options.

prefabricated products

Commercially available products contain the same or similar components, but vary in form. Each type has its pros and cons which should be weighed to decide which shape best suits your needs.

root hormone powder

Powdered products have the consistency of tallow or flour and are most often used in commercial agriculture or in the greenhouse/nursery.

Benefits of using powder:

  • Easy to use.
  • Long life expectancy.
  • Does not need refrigeration.

Disadvantages of using powder:

  • Less effective than liquid. The powder does not adhere evenly to the cup and the phytohormones are more easily absorbed by the cells when dissolved in water.

Liquid Rooting Hormone

Liquid rooting hormones are commonly used by homeowners and are available in either concentrated or standard solutions. Concentrated solutions must be diluted before use; Standard strength solutions are ready to use straight from the bottle.

Advantages of using liquid:

  • Useful.
  • Less damage than powdered varieties.
  • When working with ready-to-use liquid products, you do not need to calculate the concentration.
  • You can adjust the concentration of concentrated products according to the needs of the plant you are rooting.

Disadvantages of using liquid:

  • The strength of ready-to-use products cannot be adjusted.
  • Concentrated products must be diluted.
  • Shorter shelf life than powders.
  • May need to be refrigerated.

gelling hormone

The rooting hormone gel formulation has become the most widely used type by homeowners.

Benefits of using the gel:

  • Easy to use; does not need to be diluted.
  • Less messy than powders.
  • Thick coverage means better adhesion to plant tissue.

Disadvantages of using gel:

  • More expensive than other varieties.
  • Shorter shelf life than powders.
  • May need to be refrigerated.

natural options

There are also many items in your home that can be used as rooting hormone. The science behind them isn’t as substantial as commercial products, but there is anecdotal evidence that they work.

  • Honey: Boil 2 cups of water, add 1 tablespoon of honey and let cool. It acts as a natural antibacterial agent.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Mix 3 teaspoons of ACV in 1 gallon of water. It contains more than 30 trace elements beneficial for growth.
  • Saliva: Known as a natural root activator, you can choose to spit on the cuttings or lick them off.
  • Cinnamon: It is known to kill fungi and bacteria. Dip the cut end of the cuttings directly into cinnamon for best results.
  • Aspirin: Crush a regular strength aspirin and add the powder to 1 gallon of warm water. Soak the cuttings for several hours before planting. Salicylic acid has an anti-inflammatory and stimulating effect for the roots.
  • Aloe vera gel – Aloe vera gel freshly extracted from aloe plants works similarly to aspirin as it contains salicylic acid.

How to choose a good rooting hormone?

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a good rooting hormone. These settings will help you choose the best one for your situation.

  1. Form – Consider the pros and cons of each type and decide if you want a powder that has a longer shelf life or a liquid/gel that works better but has a shorter shelf life.
  1. organic or not – Do you follow all organic practices in your garden or do you choose to include conventional practices as well?
  1. Price – Root hormones are available in a wide range of prices depending on the form, if they are organic, etc. How much you can spend will depend on your budget. My recommendation? Avoid the cheapest products, but don’t spend on high-end ones either; look for average price tags instead.
  1. Comments – In the age of internet access, you can use online reviews to get an idea of ​​which products are good and which ones are not worth spending your money on.
clonex root hormone gelMy favorite brand of rooting hormone.

Rooting Hormone FAQ

Should I use rooting hormone for cuttings?

  • No, you do not need to use rooting hormone for cuttings. It does not need to be used on herbaceous plants that root quickly on their own, but it is useful when: cultivated plants slow-rooting succulents and expensive ornamental landscape plants.

How long does it take for a rooting hormone to take effect?

  • The speed of action depends a lot on the underlying plant. Some plants take root in 1-2 weeks, others can take several months. The root hormone speeds up the process and increases the success rate; the rooting process is not fast whether rooting hormone is used or not.

Can too much rooting hormone be used?

  • Yes, you can use too much rooting hormone. It is important to follow the instructions on the package label to ensure that you do not damage the cells from over-application. Just like a drug overdose, high levels of rooting hormone are also dangerous for cuttings.

Does rooting hormone work in water?

  • Yes, rooting hormones work in water. Water helps incorporate the rooting hormone into the plant, increasing its effectiveness. However, rooting cuttings in water is only suitable for certain plants.

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