How To Use Rooting Hormones

Milosh Potikj | February 07, 2024 | 8 MIN READ

Understanding how to use a rooting hormone effectively can significantly improve root growth in plant cuttings, leading to a higher success rate in plant propagation.

Whether you're propagating delicate flowers or robust shrubs, the right knowledge about rooting hormone application can be game-changing.

This blog post will guide you through everything from understanding different types of hormones to their proper use on various cuttings. Plus, we have some savvy tips that will sharpen your green thumb even further.

Understanding Rooting Hormones

Rooting hormones act like a safety net for plant cuttings. They carry auxins, special hormones that kickstart root growth when you're trying to propagate new plants from sections of older ones.

This magic dust or liquid signals the cutting to begin growing roots right where they're needed most—at the cut site! It's a bit like telling your cutting, "Hey, grow some roots here!" Just dip your plant's end in the rooting hormone and plant it in soil or another growth medium.

Think of these hormones as a booster shot that helps cuttings turn into strong, healthy plants quicker than they would on their own. However, not all plants need this boost—some are just natural at developing roots quickly without any help.

That’s why it’s good to know which types should get extra support from rooting hormones and which ones are fine going solo.

How To Use Rooting Hormones on Different Cuttings

How To Use Rooting Hormones on Different Cuttings

Diving into the heart of propagation, we find that applying rooting hormones is not a one-size-fits-all task—different types of cuttings respond to varying methods and concentrations.

Tailoring your approach ensures optimal root development for each unique cutting, turning your efforts into thriving plants with a robust foundation.

Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are a popular method for plant propagation. Using rooting hormones can speed up the process and improve success.

  • Choose healthy stems. Look for green, non-woody stems from your desired plant.
  • Make a clean cut. Use sharp scissors or pruners to cut just below a leaf node.
  • Prepare the cutting. Strip off the lower leaves to expose the nodes where roots will grow.
  • Dry the cutting end slightly. Let it air-dry for a few minutes to form a callous.
  • Dip in rooting hormone. Coat the bottom inch of the stem with Root Booster Hormone.
  • Tap off excess powder. Gently shake the cutting to remove loose hormone powder.
  • Insert into the soil. Place the hormone-treated end into a moist rooting mix or growing medium.
  • Provide proper conditions. Keep your cutting in bright, indirect light and maintain moisture.
  • Watch for roots. In several weeks, check for root growth by lightly tugging on the stem.
  • Transplant when ready. Once roots have formed, move your new plant into a pot with regular soil.

Leaf Cuttings

Leaf Cuttings

Leaf cuttings are a popular form of propagation. They can start new plants with the help of rooting hormones.

  • Choose healthy leaves from the parent plant.
  • Make a clean cut to remove the leaf.
  • Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder or gel.
  • Stick the treated end into a pot with moist soil or a water medium.
  • Cover the cutting with plastic to keep humidity high.
  • Keep the pot in indirect sunlight while roots develop.
  • Semi-hardwood leaf cuttings need more time and stronger hormone concentrations.
  • Be patient – rooting may take several weeks.

Root Cuttings

Moving from leaf cuttings, let's explore root cuttings. This method is another way to spark new life in your plants.

  • Choose a healthy parent plant. Look for one with strong, vigorous roots.
  • Cut a section of the root. Aim for pieces about 1 to 3 inches long.
  • Use a clean knife or scissors. Make sure they're sterilized to avoid disease spread.
  • Dust the cut end with the rooting hormone. This step can speed up root growth and improve success rates.
  • Plant your cutting in moist soil. Ensure it's well-draining to prevent rot.
  • Keep the soil temperature warm. Heat encourages the roots to develop faster.
  • Cover the cutting with plastic. This creates a greenhouse effect, keeping humidity high around your cutting.
  • Water gently but consistently. The soil should stay damp but not soggy, as too much water can harm the new roots.
  • Be patient! Root cuttings may take longer to show growth compared to other types of cuttings.

Types of Rooting Hormones

There are several rooting hormones available to help with plant propagation. The two superstar chemicals that kickstart root development in cuttings are Indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and Naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).

They work wonders by encouraging the growth of new roots from a cutting, which is essential for a successful transplant.

You can find these hormones in different forms. Powders and liquids are common, but many gardeners lean towards liquid types. Liquids have an auxin-based formula that works correctly on your plants.

Auxins play a big role in root growth; they tell plant cells to start forming roots. Powder versions need moisture to work well, while liquids come ready with what they need for hormone effectiveness.

Best rooting hormone products in gel form our shop has to offer:

When to Use Rooting Hormones

When to Use Rooting Hormones

Rooting hormones jumpstart the growth of new roots on plant cuttings. They are perfect for use when you take a piece of a favorite plant to grow another one. Use them for softwood cuttings from herbaceous plants that are quick to root.

You'll also find them handy for tougher branch and woody stem cuttings that need extra help with root formation.

Consider rooting hormones as a boost for your propagation efforts, especially during early spring or summer when plants show lots of new growth. Whether you're working with hydrangeas, roses, or any other plant, these hormones can make the difference in getting your cuttings to take root and thrive.

When Not to Use Rooting Hormones

Some plants take root so easily they don't need extra help. If you're working with these types, skip the rooting hormone to avoid unnecessary chemicals. For mature and established plants already in your garden, adding rooting hormones won't do much; they're all set and growing on their own.

Knowing your plant's needs can save you time and money—natural rooting will often work just fine without added stimulation.

Careful attention to propagation conditions matters more than synthetic helpers at times. Cuttings care is critical – ensure they have the right soil, moisture, and light for best growth.

After diving into when not to use them, let's explore how different kinds of cuttings respond to rooting hormones next.

Application Methods for Rooting Hormones

Application Methods for Rooting Hormones

Root hormones help plants grow roots faster and stronger. Let's dive into various application methods that you can use in your gardening.

  • Dipping Method: Cut the base of your stem or leaf cutting, then dip it directly into a powder or liquid rooting hormone. Make sure the cutting has a moist surface so the hormone will stick.
  • Foliar Spray: Mix the rooting hormone with water according to package instructions. Use a spray bottle to apply it to the leaves and stem of the plant for absorption.
  • Powder Application: Pour some rooting hormone powder onto a piece of paper. Roll damp cuttings in the powder until they are lightly coated, then tap off any excess.
  • Liquid Soak: For delicate cuttings, prepare a dilute solution of rooting hormone in water. Soak the cutting's end for a few seconds before planting.

Tips for Effective Use of Rooting Hormones

Tips for Effective Use of Rooting Hormones

Transitioning from the various methods of applying rooting hormones, let's focus on enhancing their effectiveness. Mastering the use of these substances can significantly improve your gardening success. Here are some strategies to help you get the best results:

  • Ensure you only apply the rooting hormone to the part of the cutting that will be buried in the planting medium; this avoids wastage and potential damage to plant tissues.
  • Dip cuttings into powdered hormones, then gently shake off any excess to prevent hormone burn, which can occur from over-application.
  • Achieve an even coating by rolling or dipping cuttings in a rooting hormone solution, tapping them lightly to remove surplus material, ensuring optimal contact with growing media.
  • Group multiple cuttings for a single dip into the rooting hormone to streamline the process and maintain consistency across plants.
  • Utilize rooting hormones for both branch and stem cuttings, as they can bolster root formation, leading to healthier and more resilient plants.
  • After applying rooting hormones, water should be applied sparingly initially, as too much moisture can wash away plant hormones before they take effect.
  • Explore homemade rooting hormone options like honey or cinnamon for an organic approach that also encourages root growth without synthetic chemicals.
  • When considering alternatives to commercial products, do research on how these may interact with your specific plant species for safe application.

Personal Advice

After going through the technicalities and tips, let's talk about how rooting hormones fit into your personal gardening practice. As a home gardener or plant enthusiast, you've likely experienced the trial and error that comes with propagating plants.

It's not just about applying a hormone; it's about knowing your plants and their needs. Think of rooting hormones as a tool—not all cuttings will require them, but for those that do, they can be game-changers.

Take time to observe the reactions of different plant cuttings. Some may respond well to powders, while others might prefer a liquid solution. And if you're into hydroponics, fine-tuning this process becomes even more crucial due to the controlled environment.

Keep track of what works best for each plant species; jot down notes on growth progress—it's these personal observations that refine your horticultural practices over time. Harnessing growth hormones effectively can unlock robust root development and healthier plants in your garden oasis or indoor sanctuary.


Rooting hormones can be your secret weapon for growing strong, healthy plants. Remember to choose the right type for your cuttings and use it correctly.

With these tips, you'll see better root growth and more success in propagation.

Happy planting – let's grow some amazing plants together!


What are rooting hormones used for?

Rooting hormones help cuttings grow roots faster and with more success.

Can I use rooting hormone on any plant?

Yes, you can use rooting hormone on a variety of plants, especially those that are hard to root.

How do I apply rooting hormone to my plant cuttings?

Dip the end of your cutting into the rooting hormone powder or liquid, then plant it in soil.

Is it safe to handle rooting hormones with bare hands?

While some people might not have an issue, it's smart to wear gloves when handling rooting hormones, just in case.

Will my plants die if I don't use rooting hormones?

Not necessarily; plants can still root without them, but using a hormone increases their chances of success.


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