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January 18, 2012

Willow Tea as a Rooting Hormone

- by Debra Anchors


Weeping Willow
Willow Tea is an easy to make rooting hormone used to propagate plant cuttings. And, best of all, it’s free. Willow bark contains natural plant growth hormones; namely, indolebutyric acid and salicylic acid.  






How to make Willow Tea:

  1. Collect young twigs/stems of any of willow species with green or yellow bark (Salix spp.).
  2. Remove all leaves.
  3. Cut the twigs into short pieces, about 1" (2.5cm) long, and place them in a heatproof container.
  4. Cover the cut stems with boiling water, just as you would when brewing tea.  Allow the willow and water to steep overnight.
  5. Separate the liquid from the twigs by pouring the tea through a strainer or sieve. Your willow tea is now ready to use for rooting cuttings. 
Willow tea can be kept for up to two months if you keep it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.  It’s a good idea to label the jar so you remember what it is. Also, write down the date it was brewed and the expiration date (two months from the date it was prepared).

To use willow tea as a rooting compound, pour some into a small jar and place the cuttings you would like to root into the tea as you would flowers in a vase. Leave the cuttings to soak overnight – or for several hours – long enough to absorb the rooting hormone. Once absorbed, prepare the stems as you would when propagating any other cutting.


Once planted in your chosen medium, water your cuttings with willow tea to give them an even better start and further enhance their rooting.


Aspirin as a rooting hormone?

Recently, I have been reading articles and forums on the topic of using aspirin as a rooting hormone.  I will test these reports with my own cuttings, but for the cost of two extra strength aspirin, what would I have to lose but a little bit of time? 

The comments on the forums I have been perusing instruct us to:


“Crush two extra strength aspirin in a half-liter of distilled water and let sit with occasional agitation overnight. Now dip your stems in the aspirin water instead of rooting hormone before putting them in the medium and you will have excellent results.”


What do you think? Will you try using aspirin as a rooting hormone?


Enjoy this video produced by Whiteflower Farm



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22 comments:

  1. Interesting post - will have to give it a try

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    1. Hello Elaine - thanks for visiting!

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  2. You obviously have very green fingers indeed. I enjoyed your tips especially for the willow tea. At first I thought it might me for me to drink!! Actually I have a lot of wild willow around my place so I will check this out. Thanks:~))

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    1. I am so honored that you would think so. Like most, I garden through trial and error - what works, what doesn't. I was very happy to hear of this method for rooting cuttings and thought I would share the information with my gardening friends. I visit your blog and know from your pictures and articles that I am not alone in my love of gardening and the nature surrounding us.

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  3. Have heard about both methods but haven't tried either. Interesting to see how the aspirin will work! Will watch the video later-off to get a pedicure.

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    1. Thank you for popping in, Bev. I'll bet the pedicure was wonderful!

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  4. aloha,

    great suggestions, i have also heard but never tried either, how is the aspirin method working for you so far? btw, i love your spring garden inspirations below, fun and quirky ideas.....just like i like them :)

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    1. Aloha, Noel. I haven't tried the aspirin yet but will when I next have cuttings to propagate.

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  5. I don't have willows here, but I use the Aspirin all the time... and Cinnamon, lots and lots of Cinnamon :-)

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    1. Thank you for letting us know that you have tried the aspirin with success - that is good to know! I haven't heard of using cinnamon - would you please share the instructions for that?

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    2. Instructions are simple,just a light dusting of cinnamon powder. Cinnamon is a natural fungicide. I use it on Orchid roots when re-potting and also on plant injuries, cuts, etc.

      :-)

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    3. That's great information! Thank you.

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  6. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing it. I now know where to go should I run out and for future stashes of rooting hormone.

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  7. I have heard of the willow idea before but never knew the details. I wonder if you could use it just to make plants you are repotting grow roots faster.

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    1. In my opinion, Carolyn, yes. Water your transplants with willow tea to give them an even better start and promote rooting.

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  8. Hello, Debra. Thanks for sharing this kind of post. Perhaps it's because of the acid content in the aspirin that helps the plant to grow. I might as well try it on my plants. :-)

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    1. Welcome, hardinars. If you try aspirin as your rooting hormone, I'll be interested to know your results. Thank you for stopping by!

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  9. I often leave cuttings in the Willow water until they send out roots...good percentage of success.

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  10. This year, when I planted tomatoes, I added two aspirins, a fish head and crushed eggshells to each pot. Then, I heard about willow tree. Willow tree was actually the chemical inspiration for aspirin... the Indians used to use willow like we use aspirin. I did read somewhere that actually you should just take one aspirin and dissolve it in 5 gallons of water... and that too much aspirin will hurt the plants. Mine are all still growing so I have to see what happens. To make the willow tea, I blended leaves and young stalks in my NutriBullet... I would guess that this will still work... after all, willow trees don't need hot water to activate the root hormone, right? Any comments?

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  11. Thansk for stopping by! Thanks for rootingtips. Have a nice weekend!

    Satu

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  12. Hi :D Well I heard of Everything now. That is a good idea and make Plants have aches & pain to. Aspirin & willow tea & sun shine, earth ,garden fairies I am sure plants love it all Super plants on aspirin hormones. WOW Sincerely,Kula May :D Paw Waves

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