Willow Water = Rooting Hormone??!!?

Alora Harris

I ran into a problem last week. I had cuttings from a beautiful rose bush, but I couldn't afford the rooting hormone from the store! :( 

So I did some digging around online to see if I had anything in my yard I could use; as it turns out, I did!

I have a huge Golden Willow in my front yard, pictured below, and one thing I've noticed about this tree is if you cut the youngest starts off and put them in a bucket of water, they will grow.

So I looked it up, and it turns out that you can successfully and affordably make your very own rooting hormone from the very same branches. It's easy, simple, and costs nothing. Continue reading for two different ways to make your own rooting solution.


Make Your Own Rooting Solution

Both of these methods require two ingredients: New Willow branches and water, though the equipment varies.

Yearling Willow starts

#1 Bucket Way

For this method you will need:

(1) Five gallon bucket


New Willow branches


This way is simple, but it takes two weeks for the rooting solution to be ready. If you don't have that kind of patience, skip to the next method.

  1. Gather your new/yearling Willow branches, strip off all the leaves as these are not used. 
  2. Cut branches into small bits, and place in the bucket
  3. Fill to desired amount
  4. Cover and let sit for 7-14 days
  5. Strain out branches and save willow water, this is your rooting solution.
Store unused solution in the fridge in an airtight glass jar for up to 2 months.


#2 The Fast Way


For this method you will need:

(1) Large kettle or bowl 


(1) Mason jar or Glass jar for storage

Handful of new willow branches, stripped (view below)

Boiling water


  1.  Gather new branches from any willow tree. Be sure to remove all the leaves, as only the stems are used to create your rooting hormone.
  2. Cut branches into 1/2 - 1" sections and place in bowl.
  3. Pour boiling hot water over the branches, as much as you'd like to make, cover and let sit overnight.
  4. Strain out the twigs, save the willow water as this is your rooting solution.
  5. Refrigerate what you don't use. 
After the solution has sat overnight, it is ready to use. This solution will hold in the refrigerator for UP TO 2 months.



You can read more here to find out how and why it works.

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