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There are various types of rooting hormones that you can purchase and they work perfectly. However, they may contain chemicals that can be harmful especially if you use it with plants you will eventually consume. There is a way that you can make your own rooting hormone substitute and be sure that your plants are not getting any unnecessary chemicals.

So, how do you make your own rooting hormone? To make your own rooting hormone, you can use different ingredients, such as:

  • Aloe vera
  • Saliva
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cinnamon
  • Willow water
  • Aspirin
  • Honey

It’s easier than it sounds, and there are many options you can choose from. Let’s get started, and explain how you can make your own rooting hormone.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera rooting hormone

Aloe Vera has many beneficial effects on the human body, which is why it is one of the most favorite plants to use in cosmetics and home remedies.

It soothes, fights inflammation, fungus, and bacteria.

This is because the substances and enzymes that it contains have both fungicide and bactericide characteristics.

Bacteria and fungus are common enemies of all the plants, causing them to rot or get sick and eventually die.

This is even more so the case with stem or leaf cuttings, especially with indoor plants when they do not have proper conditions.

Rooting an indoor plant is no easy task and is often unsuccessful without the help of a rooting hormone.

So, if you have a pot of your own Aloe Vera that is great!

If not, you can buy a healthy Aloe Vera leaf in a supermarket.

Those would be the best options, yet if you have pure aloe gel lying around you can use that too.

So what should you do to make aloe vera rooting hormone?

  1. Cut a healthy leaf off with a clean knife. or pick out a healthy leaf in the supermarket.
  2. Using the knife remove the flat part section of the leaf as thinly as possible.
  3. Use a clean spoon to scrape the gel from the leaf and put it in a clean bowl.
  4. The inside of the Aloe Vera can be chunky, so to make an aloe gel you need to break the chunks (put in a blender if you have a lot of it).
  5. If it is difficult, add about a tablespoon of water to help the gel get softer.
  6. When the gel has a runny consistency it is ready to use.
  7. Take the fresh cuttings and dip the ends in the gel before putting them in the soil.

Related: Aloe Vera Indoor Plant Benefits

2. Saliva

Although people tend to forget this, saliva can have many health benefits to your body.

It is no accident that an animal will lick its wounds- the saliva will help them heal.

In that same way, saliva can help damaged cuttings heal and form roots faster since it contains bactericides and some other enzymes that can help roots form when placed in soil.

Some gardeners think that using saliva as a rooting hormone the best – even better than all the other rooting hormones, artificial or homemade.

Others adopted the “something is better than nothing” approach and will do this if they do not have anything else at hand.

This is a completely free way of making your rooting hormone at home, and here’s what you need to do.

  1. Collect your spit. Use a clean cup, plate, or bowl, and spit, spit, spit. This might take a while but if you produce more spit you can be sure that the cuttings will be properly coated.
  2. Now that you have the spit in a bowl, dip the end of the cuttings in it and place them in the soil.

It is better to dip the cuttings directly in the spit rather than use your fingers to apply it. It provides more coverage, and prevents the bacteria from your hands to be transferred to the stems.

3.  Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar rooting hormone

There are many benefits that apple cider vinegar has on the human body.

One of them is that it has antibacterial properties that can help protect your plants while they are trying to root.

With other rooting hormones, you can play a bit with the quantities, but with apple cider vinegar you should never put more to make it stronger.

The acidity can do more harm than good and prevent rooting, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve.

And here is exactly what you need to do.

  1. Take about 5-6 cups of distilled water and add only a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to it.
  2. It seems like a little but it is just enough.
  3. Dip the cuttings in the mix up to an inch.
  4. Place the cuttings in the soil or other growth medium.

4. Willow water

Willow bark, or better yet, willow tea is a powerful rooting hormone.

It owes this to two chemicals that it contains – indole butyric and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can be found in aspirin as well.

Those acids can fight fungus, bacteria, and other infections and enable your plant to grow even faster.

To make this variety of homemade rooting hormones some conditions need to be met.

You will need access to a willow tree in spring because that is when the new branches form.

Otherwise, you can collect willow bark.

Here is what you need to do in both cases.

  1. Collect about 250 grams of young willow branches (preferably thinner than a pencil) using a clean knife or shears. (Cut at a 45-degree angle to protect the tree from rotting.)
  2. If you go for willow bark, collect about a hundred grams more since there are less important substances in the bark than in the new shoots.
  3. Use only the twigs, leaves should be removed.
  4. Whichever you chose, branches or bark, cut them to a length of about one inch.
  5. Boil about 3.8l (a gallon) of water. Turn off the heat and add willow branches or bark.
  6. Leave the willow parts to soak for about 24 hours. The rooting hormones will extract.
  7. Strain the willow water and put it in clean glass containers. Make sure that no chunk of the willow gets through.
  8. Put a lid on the containers and store for up to two months.
  9. To use the rooting hormone, soak the plant cuttings in it for about two to three hours, and place it into the soil.
  10. If you want, you can use the remaining willow water to water the plants during the first thirty days.

5. Cinnamon

cinnamon rooting hormone

For this rooting hormone, you do not have to go further than your kitchen.

Did you know that you can use cinnamon as a rooting hormone?

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Besides the fact that it has a magical taste reminding of childhood, it keeps the bacteria and fungus away.

This is why you can use it to help your cuttings to form roots.

It goes well with other homemade rooting hormones as well like saliva, willow water, and honey.

To make the homemade rooting hormone cinnamon style, this is what you will need to do.

  1. Take a paper towel, a clean towel, or even a tray and place it on a flat surface.
  2. Pour about a tablespoon of cinnamon powder on it. (If you have a cinnamon stick you can try to make a powder if you have got a super-powerful chopper)
  3. Dip the cuttings in water, willow water, honey-water mix, or just saliva to make the cinnamon powder stick to them, and dab them in the cinnamon on all sides.
  4. Place the coated cuttings in the soil.

Aside from promoting growth, cinnamon will keep the ants and other insects away.

Related: 14 Houseplants That Easily Grow Without Soil

6. Aspirin

One of the oldest medicines that people use is aspirin. You can use it to keep bacteria and fungus away from your plants while they are rooting.

Aspirin contains salicylic acid which will help fight the harmful bacteria. 

Technically, this is not a completely natural variety of a homemade rooting hormone. However, it is very cheap, and many people already have it in their medicine cabinets.

To get this right get your hands on 325mg tablets and make sure that they are not coated.

And here are the steps on how to turn aspirin into a rooting hormone.

  1. Crush the uncoated tablet using a pill crusher (kitchen mortar and pestle or even a spoon and a bowl will do the trick if you do not have a pill crusher) to make a fine powder.
  2. Put the crushed tablet in 1c (about one cup) of distilled water.
  3. If you want you can put a whole tablet in the same amount of water -you will not need to crush it but it will take a while to dissolve.
  4. The next step is to soak the ends of the cuttings (1in or 2.5cm) in the hormone for about two to three hours.

There is another way that you can use aspirin, and that is as a rooting powder.

Just apply the aspirin powder directly to the stems after you have previously dipped them in water to make the powder stick.

7. Honey

Honey rooting hormone

For millions of years, people have known about the benefits of using honey in diet, skincare, and even homemade remedies.

It has well-known antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This is what makes it a great choice to use on plant cuttings to promote root growth.

Now, make sure that you use pure organic honey.

The processed honey you can find in a supermarket is often pasteurized or diluted with sugar water, which removes a lot of antibacterial properties.

It is not difficult to make it, just remember that you cannot just dip the stems into it.

This could work as a rooting hormone, but the sweetness of it could, and possibly would attract insects or ants. They can do more damage than the honey would do good.

So what should you do?

  1. Boil about two cups of tap water (or use distilled or filtered water).
  2. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat so that the water simmers.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of raw, organic honey and stir until it is completely mixed with water.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down completely before coating the cuttings.
  5. Dip the cuttings into the solution and place them into the rooting medium.
  6. Store the excess honey rooting hormone in a closed jar, and keep in a dark place.

It can be used for another two weeks if it is kept properly.

Homemade Rooting Cocktails

Although this technique does not present you with a specific substance you can use as a homemade rooting hormone it does give you an idea of the ways you can experiment and create a rooting hormone mix that works best for you.

As organic honey is one of the strongest natural rooting hormones you can create these cocktails:

  • Willow bark tea and honey
  • Cinnamon and honey
  • Aloe Vera gel and honey

Besides these, you can mix cinnamon with saliva to ensure that cinnamon rooting powder will cling more to the stem, and still use the benefits of saliva as well.

Willow bark also goes well with cinnamon.

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Mix and match and get a sense f what works best for you and your plants.

Related: Health Benefits of Coriander Seeds

Frequently Asked Questions

In the end, here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the DIY rooting hormones that can be made out of the substances you have in your kitchen or could be easily purchased. 

1. Can you grow cuttings without the rooting hormone?

Yes. Plants can grow from cuttings without the rooting hormone.

Some will develop roots in water and some in soil, yet the success rate of that is not so good.

This is why it is recommended to use a rooting hormone.

It will lower the risk of your new plant being attacked by bacteria or fungus that will prevent it from forming roots. Without the roots, the plant will eventually die.

2. Can you water plants with the rooting hormone?

It is not necessary to water the cuttings with rooting hormone. However, you can do it to boost the rooting process and keep the fungus and bacteria away.

Use willow water, apple cider vinegar solution, or a store-bought rooting hormone.

This is especially beneficial if you are dealing with hardwood or semi-hardwood plants.

3. How long it takes for the roots to form?

With or without the rooting hormone, it takes some time for the roots to develop.

It takes usually about three weeks for the roots to become large enough so you can stop worrying if your plant will survive.

4. Does cinnamon kill mold in soil?

Yes. Cinnamon has strong antifungal properties so it can kill the fungus in the soil and prevent it from harming your plant, especially the new plants.

5. What is a rooting hormone made of?

Most of the commercial rooting hormones contain a substance auxin that occurs naturally in pants to enable them to form roots.

Often, though, the auxin is made in a lab.

They can be liquid, powder, or gel and should be used only according to the instructions. Excess usage can be really harmful to the plant.

If you do not want your plant exposed to chemicals, you can try one of our DIY rooting hormones.

Conclusion

Today, we learned how you can make your own rooting hormone, with completely natural ingredients, without using any of the bad chemicals.

By now, you should know enough to do it yourself, and to breathe a life into your new plants.

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