Is there a household substitute for Roottone?

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Help! I got some cuttings and ran out of there a household substitute? I don't need it to be ultra-strong as these are easy plants to do from cuttings.


Shenandoah Valley, VA

Do you have a willow tree? Cut some of the branches and soak them in water for a few days. You can use the willow water as a substitute for rooting powder.

You might be able to use aspirin too since it also contains acetylsalicylic acid.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

You can use willow branches or aspirin, but the question is, has a university done a study to prove that it works as a root growth hormone?
Since most plants root quite well with NO "rooting hormone," someone could use baking soda or sugar and claim it caused them to root.

Cincinnati, OH

Wintergreens (Chimaphila, Pyrola, etc.) and Aspercreme are similar.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Well, I used pulverized aspirin and some old vitamin B. LOL! I left the bowl out and the ants were all over it. Guess there is a lot of sugar in the vitamin B pills I bought!

Meanwhile, thanks and I appreciate all the responses. James might have the ticket in that the hydrangeas I had might have rooted all on their own without anything, but I like to tweak stuff to help the odds :)

I need to get a twisty, curly willow. ..always wanted one of them and if it even *might" help root cuttings, then what's the harm?


Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Suzy, there's no harm in adding willow leaves to cuttings, or using corn meal, or aspirin, or taking Vitamin C to "cure" colds (unless it gives you kidney stones) or not walking under ladders. I just like to use proven methods of doing things. I don't want to sound bossy- but I think skepticism about a lot of tips that make the rounds is not a bad thing, but a healthy thing.

Shenandoah Valley, VA

James, you might do well to have a healthy dose of scepticism about studies as well.

Just to cite one example, the studies that supposedly proved there were links between taking certain anti-depressants and suicide, which was sort of like concluding that eyeglasses cause nearsightedness or crutches cause broken legs.

Union City, CA(Zone 9b)

H202 - 1/2 cup of 3 % H202 [ hydrogen peroxide ] in a gallon of water - do a seach here on daves .
If rooting in water - stick a toothpick in bottom of cutting to raise off of the bottom of container .

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Rooting hormone is a plant hormone. What are the chances that a "household" or "kitchen" product that would have that specific hormone that would promote the production of roots on a cutting? About the same as bicycling to the moon.

Cincinnati, OH

There are many plant hormones. Willow and Wintergreens (Gaultheria, Pyrola, Chimaphila) have long been used for headaches, muscle pains and rooting unrelated plants. Daminoazide (B-Nine, formerly the infamous Alar) functions similar to salicylates.
H2O2 may not be a hormone, but it stops the Protists (algae) that would eat the would be roots. Did you ever enjoyed a 'malted milk' or Hershey's Whoppers? Sprouting barley is rich in cytokinins. Malt is ground barley sprouts. The first cytokinin used in the infancy of Tissue Culture was coconut water. The hormones have been isolated and artificially produced. Now there is a growing trend of adding coconut water to the scientific stuff.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

UUallace: When you say that 'There are many plant hormones," are you replying to a specific message in this thread? I don't find any that state that plant hormones don't exist.
The human body produces a variety of hormones, but thyroid hormone doesn't cause men to grow facial hair, and testosterone doesn't regulate the production of milk in women who bear children. Each hormone has its unique effect on the body. I am trying to figure out what your point is. Do you mean that any old plant hormone will promote root growth?

Union City, CA(Zone 9b)

2 or 3 days ago , I read about putting the leaves of the plant you want to root in a blender , use chop mode and add to water .
I thought I bookmarked but couldn't find .
While I was looking , It occurred to me it might have been an article on seed starting . Bad memory - something about the leaves breakdown and produce Chemicals that help plant roots or seeds and tries to stop other things from growing .
Maybe someone else remember what I am talking about and where to find it .

Pittsburgh, PA

Ive read that a wormwood brew will start cutings too as its the chemical that the rootones etc have ...not sure of its true or not as my vargiated wormwood didnt survive to try it...jean

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

I hate to jump in here but couldn't resist...only because I was told some surprising information once...

I temped for a Dr. years ago, and while making get-acquainted-chitty-chat conversation, I naturally brought up my love of plants.

His eyes got bright and he ventured to tell me his "secret" for keeping his plants so healthy. (I had complimented his very healthy plants in the reception area and office, and even some of the patient rooms).

He said his father had been an OBgyn and had taught him a trick. When the birth control pills/packet samples went out of date, instead of chunking them in the trash, he'd drop them into his watering container. Usually about one pill per gallon. (kinda like superthrive)

That Dr.(the son I was temping for) said he still gets old packets from his father, and uses them every month, or so, on his plants.

I was both excited about this new tip, and also a bit sceptical. I thought he might also be pulling my leg, to see if I was gullible, lol...
... so I tried it with some very old pills I happen to have in a drawer. It worked surprisingly well.

Not exactly "household item" in EVERY household, but certainly one in many. It wasn't suggested in a "rooting" way, but certainly along the same lines, since you can use superthrive both as a booster and a rooting hormone...

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

What a hoot! I have to admit there aren't any old ones around here, but maybe I can ask around. Uh, well, maybe not. hahahaha

Thanks to all for the informative discussion -- scientific or old wive's tales -- who's to say where the modern medicines, hormones, and cures got their starts?


Cincinnati, OH

I thought birth control pills would prevent "rooting" of the embryo.

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

This site says sex hormone found in willow flowers:,hormone,+cattle&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4

and in Genesis 30:37-43, you can read about Joshua making a type of willow water (only he used "rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree...". to increase his cattle.

Gen 30: 37
And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree: and pilled(footnote says Pilled is: peeled a peeling, meaning he made white stripes in the rods by laying the white wood bare)

Gen 30: 38
And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutter in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.

Gen 30: 39
And the flocks concceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted

Gen 30: 40
And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban: and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.

Gen 30: 41
And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.

Gen 30: 42
But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's and the stronger Jacob's.

Gen 30: 43
And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

I find it very interested that human hormones can be used on plants, and plant hormones have been used on cattle, both for increased vigor and reproduction.

Kitchener, ON(Zone 5b)

Yes, there is university documented and peer reviewed publications showing that asprin induces adventitious root formation. It is also widely accepted that willow bark contains salicylic acid, and salicyclic acid has also been shown to induce adventitious root formation. Most rooting hormone you buy in a jar contains Gibberellins which are better at causing plants to form roots, but asprin and willow bark are so much cheaper. If you have a cutting from a really really tricky plant I wouldn't count on asprin or willow bark, but it is probably sufficient 80% of the time.

H2O2 -- while not commonly listed as a plant hormone, recent evidence shows that it does act as a messenger in many plant responses -- therefore by definition H2O2 is a plant hormone. Plants sprayed with H2O2 are more resistant to temperature extremes and infection by some pathogens. H2O2 is also involved in allowing roots to uptake certain nutrients. I don't know of any studies showing that H2O2 promotes root growth, but if you see it happening in your cuttings then its probably true. Very few university laboratories are looking at H2O2 at the moment, but the numbers are slowly increasing. Wait a few years and there will probably be a study proving what gardeners have known for years!

The steroid hormones (estrogen, progesterone) in the birth control might be similar enough to plant brassinosteroids to cause a response. The plants may also use the steroid hormones as a precursor to make the brassinosteroids. I find this fastinating! I have never heard of anything like it! Thanks for sharing your story seedpicker!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I don't know if H2O2 would promote rooting, but at the very least, it will tend to kill of any bacteria/fungi/etc that may have been present on the cutting, so it'll increase it's chances of surviving until it has a chance to root.

Bessemer City, NC(Zone 7b)

Fascinating stuff here.

Great connection you made there seedpicker ! Really makes a person think about the possible help in animal (human?0 fertility if acetylsalicylic acid.

Doesn't the H2O2 provide more oxygen to newly formed roots, like the 'bubbler' set-up only passive?


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