DIY Root Tone  


Propagating plants through cuttings when possible rather than using seeds can save time and produce more predictable results.  However; commercially produced root tone can be expensive, and some products are also unhealthy.  To save money, and stay healthy, you can make your own root tone at home.  Here are two methods that are so simple, healthy, and cheap you will never buy commercial root tone again.

The first method is to make a solution rich in IBA from willow cuttings.  IBA is a hormone found in high concentration in new growth on willow trees that promotes root growth.

If you have a willow trees in your area, even if they are dormant because of the cold, simply remove a few of the green tender branches of new growth with a pair of snips.

Process these branches down to the smallest pieces you can, preferably into a pulp using a food processor or blender if you have one that can handle the job, but cutting them into the smallest pieces you can manage with snips will also work to a lesser extent.

Soak the pulp in water in a quart jar for 24 hours, shaking it every few hours to help mix it, but otherwise leaving the lid off.

After it has soaked for a full day, strain off the pulp, close, and store in a dark place, preferably your refrigerator.  Get it out when you are making new starts and dip the cuttings into the solution like you would with other root tone.

The second method is even simpler, but does cost a little money.

Simply pour some honey into a small container and dip the cuttings into the honey.  Yeah, that’s it.  I don’t find that it promotes root growth as much as the IBA solution, but it does protect the cuttings and increase the rate of success versus not using a root tone.  It’s also incredibly simple.


So don’t waste your money or expose yourself to chemical products that have disheartening warning labels on them, make your own root tone and expand your garden cheaply and safely.

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4 thoughts on “DIY Root Tone  

  1. I want to clone my tomato plant before frost kills it this fall. It will need to be inside for our very long winter. (At least 8 months.) Do you think it’s possible to keep it going that long and is possible to start clones off the clone if it gets too big?

    1. Yes Robin. You can clone a clone. I have a pepper plant in my kitchen that I’ve kept going for 4 years now. First, I grew a new one from the seeds of the first, then I accidentally broke a piece off that one and decided to root another. I had several successful rootings from that broken piece and have kept that original plant going till the present. Now I have some new pepper fruits on the plant, so I know it works.

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