Successful gardening requires quite a bit of skill and knowledge. Anyone can plant something, but making sure it grows and thrives despite unfavorable weather or poor soil is a different ball game. Those who are more experienced know about the process of propagation, where you use the cuttings of a plant to grow roots. In theory, it’s really that simple; however, it’s often much harder than it sounds.
In an ideal situation, we would only rely on the soil, water, and sun for our gardening. These three are decisive factors when it comes to plants, and they can be sufficient provided there are enough of them. But sometimes, you have to deal with poor soil quality, lack of irrigation, or some other threat to your greenery. One solution comes in the form of rooting hormones, substances that will turn your cuttings into fully-developed plants. Find out more on https://gpnmag.com/article/grower-101-rooting-hormones/.
How Does It Work?
People who’re new to rooting hormones might be overwhelmed at first by all the information about the use, types, timing, the overall approach, etc. No need for that: the process is very straightforward. One important thing to remember is that presence is much more important than type. Meaning, as long as you use a rooting hormone in the first place, what kind you’ll use matters less.
Now, a few words about the procedure. Obviously, you need cuttings to make it work. If you’ve already done some propagation, you value the importance of using sterilized knives for snipping leaves to protect the plant from getting infected or damaged. Typically, you snip at the bottom to get your leaves. Next, you need to follow a few careful steps.
How you’ll combine the hormones and the cuttings depends on the type (later, we’ll deal with the different options in more detail.) Basically, if it’s a liquid hormone, you pour it into a new container (dilute it if it’s concentrated) and put the cuttings inside. Apart from liquids, there are also gel and powder hormones; in the latter case, you need to wet the leaves and put them in the powder. Finally, you plant the cuttings and cover them. Until they’ve grown roots, you need to provide enough sunlight and moisture; otherwise, they’ll wither away.
Choosing Your Type
As we mentioned previously, you can find rooting hormones in liquid, gel, or powder form. If you’re wondering if one is superior to the others, the answer is: no. Other than the different application methods, they’re all used to help cuttings grow roots more quickly.
Liquids and Gels
If you prefer to use a solution for your cuttings, you’ll go with one of these two. Liquid hormones are probably the most available; they can be standard or concentrated. As you might assume, you can use ordinary liquids straight away after opening, but if you use the concentrated version, dilution is a must.
As for the formula, it’s a matter of experimentation before you achieve your desired solution strength. Different plants require different levels, so it’s best to work it out in practice.
Gardeners with very little time to devote to their hobby should try gels, the easiest setup by a long shot.
You only need to dip the cuttings in the gel container, and there you have it. The stickiness of the gel allows it to combine effortlessly with the leaves, and there’s no additional wetting involved. However, should you be careful not to coat the entire plant base – it won’t receive enough oxygen if you do.
More seasoned gardeners prefer powdered hormones over the other two for several reasons. For one, plants stimulated with powder tend to grow roots faster. Speed is not an issue if you’re taking care of a few plants around the house, but a large-scale garden is something else entirely. Also, these hormones last longer than liquids, which usually go bad after a while.
In terms of application, powder is dry; hence, you need to moisturize the cuttings well. Only then can the hormone attach to them. Advocates of powder hormones praise their ability to stimulate root developments. In the end, you should try and see which solution suits you best. Once again, it’s important to use a hormone – the method is an individual preference.
Advantages of Using Hormones
You don’t have to have a wealth of gardening experience to know how valuable the root system is. A plant with weak roots is susceptible to all kinds of issues, such as root and stem rot, poor growth, early leaf drop, etc. You’ll achieve nothing with overwatering or too much fertilization if the roots are weak. Rooting hormones make them much stronger, and it’s best to apply them when the plant is still a stem.
Hormones help the growth of plants, though not all of them. If you’re planning to boost the cuttings in this way, you should always research beforehand and find out whether your plants will react positively to hormones. It’s quite a bummer to spend weeks using these methods and notice no improvement in the end. In general, you can propagate both edibles and ornamental plants with hormones, but there are exceptions, as always.
Many times, the collection of plants is ruined due to unevenness. Perhaps you hoped that your new bamboo palm would reach the desired height, but it failed to do so. No worries: the rooting hormone can remedy this issue. In other words, it creates uniformity and gives your garden a much greater visual appeal.
Another helpful tip: hormone use requires that you keep a distance between the planted stems. It’s no problem while the roots are still small, but once they start growing, they will try to overpower each other; if this continues for some time, the plants might wither and eventually die. So, spatial planning is definitely a thing to consider.
As you can see, there’s a heap of benefits when using hormones. If they are compatible with your plants, they’re worth checking out. And who knows, your positive experience might help others achieve the same results!