Forget about using chemical hormones to root your plant starts. Instead, with this recipe, you can make your own NATURAL rooting hormone using branches from the willow genus.
Willow trees can be found in marshy areas or near running water, like creeks and streams. The chemical properties noted for increasing strike rate – rooting growth – are, indolebutyric acid (IBA) and Salicylic acid (SA). The salicylic acid is also beneficial in reducing infections in cut plant materials.
- Collect a handful of willow twigs (all Salix species produce natural rooting hormone). The more willow cuttings you have and the longer they soak in the water will yield a stronger willow water brew.
- Cut branches from any of the Salix genus into 2-4 inch pieces and place in a large bowl or bucket.
- There are many different methods for making the tea or infusion.
To Boil: Transfer willow cuttings to a large kettle or pot and fill with water so that all cuttings are covered with water. Put on low heat for 2 hours, covered, until water turns dark brown. Let mixture sit and cool for 12 hours, covered.
Strain out sticks and pour tea into a sealable glass jar or plastic container and store in fridge for up to 2 months. Mixture may be frozen for up to a year.
Or, the infuse the willow with a slow soak method: Soak the willow cuttings in water for up to two months. Strain off cuttings using a sieve or strainer and store in glass jars as noted above.
5. Use the willow tea to soak cuttings in. Place cuttings in a vase or jar and let them soak up liquid for 12-24 hours. You can also water newly started cuttings or transplants to give them a boost.
Remember to label your willow tea jars and note the date when it was made.