To make cuttings, many gardeners use synthetic rooting hormone to promote root set and root growth. But you should know that there is an alternative and equally effective natural method that will allow you to easily make your own rooting hormone yourself using willow branches !
What exactly is willow water ?
It is a decoction made from willow twigs, allowing, like auxin, to facilitate the cuttings of plants and to promote rhizogenesis. As you probably know, willows are very easy to root. A cutting can be taken at any time of the year, once immersed in water, it will produce new roots in just a few days and this without rooting hormone.
This ability is due to a product found naturally in the bark of willows, acetylsalicylic acid which is a derivative of salicylic acid. Indeed, salicylic acid prevents the plant from drying out and allows it to heal by producing new roots.
Willow Water : An economical and ecological solution !
To make your natural rooting hormone, i.e. willow water, you simply need to harvest a few small willow branches, regardless of the variety since all willows have the same properties. This natural rooting hormone can be made by crushing a few willow twigs and soaking them for 24 hours in water. We collect this water and as usual to make your cuttings, soak and plant !
But the best manufacturing recipe is to immerse a few large willow cuttings (regardless of species) in a basin of water for 2 to 3 weeks. We thus obtain plenty of willow cuttings ready to be replanted and above all a liquid remaining in the basin resembling a kind of gel leaving slippery residues on the fingers. The parts of the willow that were underwater also appear to be coated with a clear gel. Well, it’s this somewhat viscous liquid that makes it easier to take cuttings or layer plants. Simply apply this liquid to the base of your cuttings. Moreover, it is this technique that was used before the marketing of synthetic rooting hormone.
The “strength” of the willow water will obviously depend on the salicylic acid concentration of the resulting gel. This itself depends on the number and thickness of the willow cuttings used as well as the volume of water in which they have been immersed. Be careful, however, willow water is not a miracle product (any more than synthetic rooting hormone)! It will facilitate the cuttings on the condition that all these are carried out according to the “rules of the art”.
Willow water is therefore a completely natural, economical rooting aid that is just as effective as commercial rooting hormone. Do not hesitate to leave a comment, in order to provide additional information or to testify to the use of this method of cuttings.
Landscape gardener and geographer, I am passionate about the plant world and its countless curiosities. Founder of the Alsagarden blog and activist for gardening in harmony with Nature, I am also a French gardener, fervent defender of Heritage varieties.