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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rooting hormone

I may have mentioned once upon a time that I started most of my forsythia bushes from clippings.What am I talking about? I got all of them from clippings. That's right. I don't pay for plants which I can clone for free.

How I did it is exactly how I cloned the French Pussy Willow, without rooting hormone. Of course, that needs to be clarified. Rooting hormone was indeed present for rooting to take place, but I didn't actually use it to force the clipping to root. The plant itself did that. Now, before you start thinking my plants went down to the local Agway farm store and bought some rooting hormone for themselves, I'll tell you they didn't have to. Plants have a natural rooting hormone within them. They use this for their survival.

Willows in particular have tons of it. Some plants have less, but are still able to root quite easily. In my experience, most plants from the jungles of South American rain forests tend to have a great deal of this rooting ability, vine especially. Have you ever taken a tiny bit of a houseplant--most of those are the jungle plants of which I speak, you know-- and set it in water, only to have them root within a week or two? Yes, that's all it takes sometimes, when there is a vast amount of naturally occurring rooting hormone within the plant.

Golden pathos, Dumb Canes and Snake plants are some of the easiest to clone quickly and without much bother because of this, but even our northern grown plants have it.

Take Rhododendrons for instance. Some people like to clone these from green cuttings which they dip into store bought rooting hormone and it works fine for them. I don't bother. My Rhodos do it quite literally on their own. I'll tell you how some other time.

My point is some plants need help to get them to root. You can help them either by buying some rooting hormone or making it yourself. This is quite easy to do. No, you don't need a laboratory either. You just need willow branches.

Since willows have so much of this naturally occurring rooting hormone, you can use them to make some. All you need do is fill a jar with several pieces of willow branches. The rooting hormone exudes from the cut pieces and infuses into the water. Once you see the pieces rooting, the hormone is already going into the water. This water then can be used to root other, more difficult plants to root. You can also simply stick a willow branch in water with the other plants, so the other plants can take advantage of the willow's rooting hormones.

Experimenting is the best way to see how certain plants can be clones. I suggest you try it on your own. You learn so much that way!

1 comment:

  1. When I was little my mom would always have jars of plants she was trying to root with the rooting powder stuff. It seems a heck of a lot easier to just stick in a willow branch. Thanks for the valuable hint.


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