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10 Best Rooting Hormones in 2020

Taking cuttings of your favorite plants is one way to create new plants with all the same characteristics you love in the parent. This allows gardeners to fill their spaces with additional plants on a budget or share their favorites with friends and family.

However, some plant species are easier to grow from cuttings than others. How do you make sure to get the best from each cutting?

Rooting hormone products help speed the process of root development in any cutting, and it gives you your best chances of root growth in species that resist reproduction by cloning.

Dozens of options are available, and the internet is full of contradictory advice. This means it can be difficult to figure out which are the best rooting hormones for your garden.

View The Best Rooting Hormone Below

1. HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel

HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel

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Clonex gel rooting hormone is as easy to use as the powder versions without the need to be overly precious when placing your cuttings into the rooting medium. The gel sticks to the cutting, coating the open surface and helping protect it against infection while it works. The active ingredient is indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), which is a natural rooting hormone, so no synthetics here.

In addition to creating a seal and providing your cutting with the best rooting hormone for most varieties, this gel also contains the minerals and trace elements any young plant needs to support healthy root growth.

Pros:
+ Gel seals cutting to protect against disease
+ Contains nutrients for growth support
+ Does not wear away during planting

Why We Like It – This rooting hormone option coats each cutting with a thick layer of water-based gel to seal it against infection while supplying rooting hormone and nutrients to promote healthy root development.


2. EarthPods Root Starter Fertilizer

EarthPods Root Starter Fertilizer

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Want to feed your plants the very best organic fertilizer but don’t have the space to make your own compost? Does the thought of the smell composting generates turn you off of the idea even if you have the space? These garden safe pods make it possible to give your plants the nutrients and beneficial micro-flora and fauna they need for optimal health without the fuss, or the musk.

Each dose of organic fertilizer comes pre-measured in a dissoluble capsule. Simply push a capsule into the soil near the root of your plant and water. Then, once they are gone, you can recycle the container.

Pros:
+ Organic and eco friendly
+ Fertilize without the measuring, stink, or mess of other methods
+ Complete nutrition for supported plant growth

Why We Like It – It is an organic and eco friendly means of fertilizing your plants without the smell or mess of making your own compost, and it could not be easier to use.


3. Doff Natural Rooting Powder

Doff Natural Rooting Powder

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This is one of the best rooting hormones for gardeners with a wide variety of plants and who want to stick with one rooting powder for them all. Doff’s formula is garden safe for use on edible plants as well as ornamental plants. Plus, it works to encourage root growth for almost any plant type from soft herbs to hardwood trees and shrubs.

The powder formula is easy to use. Simply dip cuttings in water, dip in the powder, and then plant. It may also be used over soil to strengthen transplantings.

Pros:
+ Safe for edible plants as well as ornamentals
+ Easy to use
+ Suitable for herbs to hardwood plants

Why We Like It – If you want the best rooting powder for all of your plants, this is an option to consider. It is easy to use and safe for both edible and ornamental plants of all types.


4. Miracle-Gro Quick Start Planting & Transplant Starting Solution

Miracle-Gro Quick Start Planting & Transplant Starting Solution

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Very few plants thrive in nutrient-poor soil. Most need a good balance of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to be able to grow healthy and strong. This concentrated liquid fertilizer has a 4-12-4 NPK ratio to provide your plants with the nutrients they need to root well, grow strong, and resist diseases.

Regular use promotes root growth and helps prevent transplant shock in addition to helping plant growth and productivity. It is suitable for both ornamental and edible plants, so that means more flowers and more fruit or vegetables from your garden. Each bottle contains 48 ounces to last for months.

Pros:
+ Liquid concentrate means it will go a long way
+ Helps prevent transplant shock
+ 4-12-4 N-P-K ratio

Why We Like It – This concentrated fertilizer can be added to your usual watering routine every seven to fourteen days to ensure your plants have the nutrients they need, and there is enough to last!


5. Dip ‘N Grow Hormone Concentrate Hydroponic Rooting Solution

Dip 'N Grow Hormone Concentrate Hydroponic Rooting Solution

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This is one of the best rooting hormones available for those who are comfortable working from liquid concentrates. Dip ‘n Grow Liquid Rooting Concentrate contains both indole-3-butyric acid and naphthalene acetic acid dissolved in ethyl and isopropyl alcohol. This means it provides both forms of rooting hormone in a sanitizing base.

Disinfect your cuttings and stimulate new root growth all at once when you dip the cutting into the properly diluted liquid growth hormone. Plus, since Dip ‘n Grow is highly concentrated, a little goes a long way.

This rooting hormone works for herbaceous plants and hardwoods. Simply adjust the concentration according to the directions.

Pros:
+ Liquid concentrate means it will go a long way
+ Contains both IBA and NAA for maximum rooting success
+ Self-sanitizing base eliminates cross-contamination

Why We Like It – A concentrated formula of liquid rooting hormones with an ethyl and isopropyl alcohol base sanitizes cuttings and delivers a maximum dose to get them growing fast.


6. Miracle-Gro FastRoot1 Dry Powder Rooting Hormone

Miracle-Gro FastRoot1 Dry Powder Rooting Hormone

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Newer gardeners might be more comfortable with rooting powder because there is no need to dilute it. Simply dip the cutting into the powder, shake off the excess, and plant in a rooting medium. Miracle-Gro Fast Root’s active ingredient is indole-3-butyric acid, the most powerful, shelf-stable rooting hormone. This means you can count on it to work.

This rooting hormone works on most plants from leafy herbs to hardwoods, and is safe for both edible plants and ornamentals.

For best results, use this rooting hormone powder as soon as possible after the cuttings are taken. Tap out a little to use into a clean container, and discard any leftover powder to prevent cross-contamination.

Pros:
+ Easy to use
+ Contains IBA for dependable results
+ Sized to last

Why We Like It – Rooting hormone powder makes the process of rooting cuttings as simple as it can be, and this one is sized to last.


7. Midas Products Rooting Gel for Cuttings

Midas Products Rooting Gel for Cuttings

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You know a company is confident in its products when they offer a money-back guarantee, and this is one of the best rooting hormone gels out there. A concentration of 0.2 percent indole-3-butyric acid is balanced to simulate a wide range of plant species to begin root growth without overwhelming them, and the gel also contains the moisture and nutrients needed for healthy growth.

There is no mixing or dilution needed, so the quick clone gel is easy to use. Simply put a small amount in a separate container, dip each cutting, and plant in rooting medium. Large 4 ounce jars of rooting gel will start a lot of plants!

Pros:
+ Easy to use
+ Contains IBA for dependable results
+ Backed by a money-back guarantee

Why We Like It – Midas quick clone gel is a simple and effective means of rooting all of your cuttings balanced for use in a wide range of plants.


8. Garden Safe Rooting Hormone

Garden Safe Rooting Hormone

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If you want a simple rooting powder and would feel better with one derived from plant-based sources than concocted in a lab, this may be the best rooting powder for you. It has indole-3-butyric acid as its active ingredient, the same hormone plants produce naturally to stimulate root growth. It works best with softer plants and woody ornamentals such as philodendrons, roses, and African violets.

The rooting powder is really easy to use. Place a small amount of the powder in another container, moisten the cutting, stir it into the powder, tap off the excess, and plant. Discard any leftover powder to prevent cross-contamination.

Pros:
+ Easy to use
+ Contains IBA for dependable results
+ Made from plant-based sources

Why We Like It – Take Root is a root powder derived from plant-based sources and works as an easy method for rooting your favorite ornamental plants.


9. Hormex Rooting Hormone Powder

Hormex Rooting Hormone Powder

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When conducting hormone treatments for rooting plants, dosage is critical. Too little, and nothing happens. Too much can cause the cutting to die rather than root, and every species’ needs are different. This is why Hormex offers five different strengths of rooting hormone.

All of their rooting hormone varieties are homogenized for consistent results, meaning each plant receives the same amount of indole-3-butyric acid, the main hormone in shelf-stable rooting powders. Plus, Hormex does not use dyes, preservatives, or alcohol in their rooting hormones. This makes them safe to use for cloning vegetables, gourds, fruiting vines and bushes, and fruit trees in addition to ornamental plants.

Pros:
+ Works with all growing mediums
+ No preservatives, alcohol, or dye
+ Homogenized for consistent results
+ Available in a range of strengths

Why We Like It – Not all plants require the same level of rooting hormones, and getting the correct dosage is critical. Hormex offers rooting powder in five different strength levels.


10. RootBoost Rooting Hormone Powder

RootBoost Rooting Hormone Powder

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This is an ideal powder rooting hormone for gardeners who simply want to root cuttings from their favorite ornamental flowers and shrubs. It has a moderate percentage of the active ingredient, indole-3-butyric acid, the main hormone in shelf-stable rooting powders. This means it is not as effective for cloning difficult to root species, but it also means those new to growing plants from cuttings are less likely to overwhelm their cuttings with too much hormone.

It uses the same dip and plant method as most other powder rooting hormones, which makes it easy and simple to use. Just make sure you discard any unused powder to avoid cross-contamination that could damage your next batch of cuttings.

Pros:
+ Contains IBA
+ Moderate concentration prevents accidental overdosing
+ Large container is enough to start lots of cuttings

Why We Like It – It is a simple, moderate dose powder rooting hormone ideal for novice propagators.


Rooting Hormones Buyer’s Guide

What is a Rooting Hormone?

High school biology classes can often make it sound like humans, and other animals are the only living things that produce hormones to help regulate everything from growth and healing to metabolism and mood. However, hormones are a class of chemicals used by all forms of living organisms to control just about every facet of their growth and function. Rooting hormone products do exactly what they sound like they would do. It is a hormone that causes plants to begin growing roots and then supports root growth.

Gardening

Some species are faster and better able to produce these hormones within cuttings than others. Succulents are a prime example of a group of plants that will quickly and easily sprout new roots from cuttings within a few days to a couple of weeks. Other plants can be slow to produce the hormone within cuttings on their own, leaving them without a means of nutrient and water uptake and leaving them vulnerable to disease in the interim. Synthetically or naturally derived rooting hormones work with these plants to speed and support the rooting process to increase the chances of successful cuttings.

There are a few different chemicals that fall under the umbrella of auxins or rooting hormones. Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) are the naturally occurring variants. IAA is more plentiful in plants, but IBA is what we use for rooting hormone despite plants’ lower levels. IAA is prone to denature or break down quickly when exposed to light, so it does not work well for propagating plants.

IBA is more resistant to breaking down. Additionally, it is a precursor plants use to create IAA, so it works well to encourage rooting.

Alpha-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) is sometimes used as a synthetic rooting hormone because its molecular structure is so close to that of IAA, plants respond to it as if it were IAA.

What are the benefits of using rooting hormone?

Taking a cutting from a mature plant with qualities one prize, rooting it, and then planting the cutting after it has taken root is a tried and true method of plant propagation. It is, in essence, a form of cloning as the new plant will be genetically identical to the original. This ensures uniformity within a cultivar, whereas breeding plants and raising from seed can result in unpredictable results, especially among insect-pollinated species that are unable to self-pollinate, such as apples.

Housework in spring. Young man during transplanting plants into new pot.

Propagating from a cutting instead of seed, especially among insect-pollinated species incapable of self-pollination, has the best return on investment once desired traits are achieved. When it can take seven to ten years to know whether the result is usable or not when taken from seed, propagation through cuttings is not only faster but much less of a gamble.

Rooting hormone improves the odds even more in the gardener’s favor. Many plants root easily in humid environments or within the water. However, these root systems can be much more delicate than those aided by the addition of the rooting hormone. Root development may not occur at all with other species, which are more difficult to get cuttings to root due to a lack of rooting hormone in older tissues.

The process of taking a cutting leaves an open wound on the cutting and the parent plant. A plant’s outer layers help protect it from infection and disease the same way our skin protects us. In addition to stimulating a cutting to grow new roots, the use of rooting hormones helps seal off this opening, thus blocking potential pathogens as new growth closes the opening permanently.

Do rooting hormone products really work?

Yes, rooting hormones do work. However, there are several factors you need to take into consideration when using rooting hormones for your plant cuttings. Think of it as hormone replacement therapy for endocrine disorders in people. Dosage, hormone type, and delivery methods all make a huge difference in the results.

The type of stem your cutting is taken from can make a huge difference in whether or not you even need to use a rooting hormone. Green cuttings, like those from small, tender plants, or taken from the green ends of branches, often have high enough levels of their own rooting hormone to produce new roots when placed in water. Cuttings taken from plants or areas where the branch does not have a quick will be more difficult to root. Ones taken from near the base of the plant, where it is the oldest and toughest, will also produce the hardest cuttings to root.

The use of rooting hormone with this mid-branch to base cuttings will increase your success rate significantly. The same is true for attempts to cut propagate woody species, which are often resistant to new root growth. However, careful dosing is critical. Too little rooting hormone will not produce the desired effect. Too much rooting hormone can backfire and cause the cutting to sicken and die.

Make sure to follow the directions for the types of rooting hormones you choose closely for the best results.

Powder root hormone is a relatively simple form to use. Place some of the powder in a smaller container. Dip your cutting into water and then the hormone powder, shake off the excess powder and gently plant it in the rooting medium. Then, toss any leftover powder from what you took out. Do not put it back into the container as this can introduce pathogens and infect your next batch of cuttings.

Liquid rooting hormones absorb quickly, which is one thing that can make them more difficult to use. Make sure to follow the directions on the packaging of any liquid rooting hormone you plan to use. Whether or not they need to be diluted before use, by how much they should be diluted, and how long each cutting should be submerged will vary, and even just a few moments can make a big difference.

Again, no matter whether yours is a concentrate or a ready-to-use liquid, take out a small container for use. Then dispose of the excess after treating your cuttings. Never dip cuttings directly into the container or pour unused hormone back into the original container, as this can contaminate your rooting hormone.

Gel rooting hormones are the easiest form to use, on the whole. They are used in much the same way as the powders, but you do not need to dip your cutting in water before the gel, as it will adhere on its own. Plus, the gel rooting hormone will cling to the cutting during planting. Again, you want to scoop some into a smaller container to dip your cuttings to prevent contaminating the main container.

Can I use cinnamon as a rooting hormone?

cinnamon

There is a lot of talk online about using ground cinnamon as a substitute for rooting hormone. While cinnamon can certainly help and has several uses in the garden, take claims it is one of the best rooting hormones substitutes out there with a healthy dose of salt.

Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of trees in the Cinnamomum genus. Aside from some members of the Salix genus, very few trees have much, if any, rooting hormone present in their bark. While it can appear to have a beneficial effect in aiding root development, cinnamon does not contain a rooting hormone, so it cannot directly stimulate root formation.

So why do so many swear by cinnamon as a rooting hormone? They do, for the same reason, others claim honey or aspirin have the same effect. They all have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, as well as the ability to inhibit fungal growth. This keeps the cutting from becoming diseased and gives it more time for the plant’s own rooting hormone to take effect, but it will not encourage new growth from a cutting which has little or no rooting hormone of its own.

How can I make a rooting hormone at home?

Gardening and Planting at Home

The best rooting hormones made at home and guaranteed to be garden safe require a member of the Salix genus, otherwise known as willow trees. Willows have higher, easier to extract, levels of the rooting hormones, known as auxins, than most other species. You will want to use freshly cut branches for the best results, so this is only an option for those who have access to a willow tree.

Start by gathering your trimmings. While the rooting hormone is present in the bark, you will be better served to snip a few green twigs and branches from the tree. Strip them of any leaves and break them into small 1″ to 3″ pieces to maximize the amount of auxin you can extract from each piece. The smaller your pieces, the better.

Bring about a half-gallon of water up to a rolling boil. Remove it from the heat and add your pieces of willow. Soak them thoroughly and allow them to steep in the water for a day or two. Strain out the solids once it has fully steeped.

Your finished willow water rooting hormone should look like a weak tea. While it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple of months, use immediately for best results.

Homemade willow water is not as potent as commercial types of rooting hormone. You will need to allow your cuttings to soak in the willow water rooting hormone overnight before placing them in the rooting medium.

Combine the use of willow water as a liquid rooting hormone with a quick dip in either cinnamon powder or honey before adding to rooting medium for added protection against bacterial, microbial, or fungal infection.

What is the best kind of rooting hormone?

Rooting hormones are available in a few different types. Which one will the best rooting hormones for your use depend a great deal on your skill level and the types of plants you are trying to root.

Rooting hormone powders are one of the most prevalent types, and they are one of the easier ones to use. With their lack of water, powders tend to be more shelf-stable, which means a single container may last you for several years if you avoid cross-contaminating the jar. However, there is still room for error, especially with both easily rooted species and those which are harder to root. Too little rooting hormone and no fresh roots will develop. Too much will make the plant sick, making it more likely to die than sprout roots.

Rooting powders carry different concentrations of rooting hormones. Study up on the plants you wish to clone, and find a powder with the concentration of IBA or NAA best for those plants.

Liquid rooting hormone is a potent option to use rooting multiple cuttings. However, the majority of liquid rooting hormones come in a concentrated form which must be diluted. Solutions such as Dip n’ Grow liquid rooting hormone can be adjusted to suit the needs of several different species, but this can be a tricky process. This is why liquid rooting hormone is generally considered an option best suited to experienced gardeners.

Gel rooting hormones are the simplest option and best suited rooting hormone for novices. A rooting gel has the added benefit of sealing the open surface of your cuttings, which helps protect them from microbes and fungal infection. Additionally, rooting gel hormones usually contain additional nutrients and minerals within the gel itself to feed the developing roots.

Finally, the gel rooting hormone is sticky and thick. It clings to cutting in a way powder and liquid rooting hormone do not. This means the rooting gel is far less likely to scrape away while the cutting is being planted than rooting powder, and it has more staying power than liquid hormones. This gives the cuttings time to absorb the needed rooting hormone without being overwhelmed all at once, making a gel far less likely to overdose a plant on rooting hormone than either liquid or powder.

Rooting Hormones are the Secret to Cutting Success

How often have you attempted to grow your favorite plants from a cutting, or received cuttings from a friend, only to have them wither and die? It is something that has happened to every gardener, more times than we care to admit for some of us.

There are a lot of variables that go into whether a cutting will be successful or not. Some species are simply natural rooting species, which have no problem growing new roots all on their own. Other species are reluctant to try, but there is one thing they all have in common. They must have a certain level of rooting hormones present for new roots to grow.

Whichever among the types of rooting hormones you choose, whether it is a powder, liquid rooting hormone, or quick clone gel, rooting hormone is the secret to cutting success.

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