Q. I am looking for an organic rooting hormone. Can I make something at home? Can you tell me more about "willow tea"?
Willow water is an organic rooting compound that will be effective for some plants.The hormones in willow naturally promote rooting and were harnessed by native Americans.
How to make your own willow water:
Easily root azaleas, lilacs, summersweets (Clethra) and roses by gathering about two cups of pencil-thin, willow branches cut in 1 inch to 3 inch lengths. Steep these twigs in a half-gallon of boiling water overnight. If refrigerated, this liquid, kept in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, will remain effective up to two months. (Label jar so you won’t confuse it with your homemade moonshine.)
Overnight, soak cuttings you wish to root. Or water soil into which you have planted your cuttings with the willow water. Two applications should be sufficient. Make a fresh batch for each use. Some cuttings root directly in a jar of willow water. You can also use lukewarm water and let twigs soak for 24 to 48 hours.
Bluestem Nursery has an interesting summary of the powers and science of willow water, from which we gathered our recipe.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service