Naturally, all plants contain hormones, however, sometimes they need a little helping hand to start growing. Hormones are available naturally and synthetically in rooting hormone products to help plants grow stronger, quicker, and healthier.
The main hormone, a plant possesses is the growth hormone auxin. Rooting hormone products contain either natural or synthetic auxins and they can be used during the propagation of plants to grow new roots on cuttings.
Plants do propagate by themselves, however, using a rooting hormone can help by increasing the chance that they propagate successfully and speeding up the time that it would usually take them to propagate.
The three types of rooting hormone that are commonly available in stores are Indole Acetic Acid (IAA), Indole Butyric Acid (IBA), and Naphthalene Acetic Acid (NAA). Using these synthetic hormones increases the chance of plants taking root. However, it is essential to note they are not essential for growth. Some gardeners swear by them and may use them if their plants do not propagate successfully by themselves; however, others will not use them at all.
If you are gifted with a green thumb or just getting into gardening we will help you choose the best rooting hormone for your garden.
Rooting Hormone Features
Gel, Liquid or Powder?
Rooting hormones come in three different forms – gel, liquid, and powder. All three can be slightly different in their application, however, they all do the same job. They are also available in tablet form. However, there is not as many in tablet form compared to the other three (gel, liquid, and powder).
Whilst liquid rooting hormone is probably the most common, it is generally recommended that you use gel or powder. Because they are easier to apply precisely and liquid versions can cause damage if you accidentally use too much of it.
Tablet types are actually be considered easier to use than gel or powder. This is because you just place it in the hole before you put the plant in, rather than putting it directly onto the plant/cuttings.
Rooting hormones come in a variety of different concentrations. Some products come already diluted and ready to use whereas other types may need diluting. You can find both types readily available on the market.
Natural or Synthetic?
The rooting hormone Indole Acetic Acid (IAA) is the auxin that naturally occurs in plants. Whereas Indole Butyric Acid (IBA) and Naphthalene Acetic Acid (NAA) are synthetic auxins. Both natural and synthetic and can work equally as well as each other. A lot of gardeners who use their yard for growing culinary plants and food may opt for a natural option as they do not want to be eating chemicals. However, this is a matter of personal choice and preference.
Top 10 Best Rooting Hormones
1. Miracle-Gro 3784101 Quick Start Planting Tablets
Tablet form – ‘dig and drop’
100% natural plant nutrition
Guaranteed planting success
Using rooting hormone has never been easier than with Miracle-Gro’s Quick Start Planting Tablets, which is exactly why it is taking top place on our list. What makes this product stand out on a crowded market, is the fact that it comes in tablet form. Therefore, different from your typical liquid, gel, or powder rooting products. Instead of placing the product on the cuttings/plant, you simply drop it into the ground before you put your plant in, cover with soil and water – minimal effort for amazing results.
Guaranteeing good results, Miracle Gro claims that their tablets provide everything that is needed for the first 30 days of root growth, giving your plants the best possible chance of successful growth. In addition to this, all the nutrition that the tablets provide is 100% natural, meaning no nasty or toxic chemicals, perfect if you are looking to grow plants for a culinary purpose, such as tomatoes.
For us, this product has all the features we would want in a root hormone/stimulator. Easy to use, guaranteeing good growth, and 100% natural. A gardener’s dream.
2. Hormex Rooting Hormone Powder #3
Free of alcohol, dye, and preservatives
Promotes healthy growth
The runner up in our list is Hormex’s Rooting Hormone Powder #3. Promoting fast, healthy, and strong growth, this product can be used with a variety of different grow mediums (soil, moss, pellets, etc). Therefore, it is one of the most popular choices on the market at the moment.
Hormex have been in the plant business for over 60 years and they cater to pretty much every plant based need you would have. Their rooting hormone comes in both liquid and powder variations as well as a variety of different concentrations and sizes. Rooting Hormone Powder #3 is a powder formation for easy to moderately easy to root plants.
Hormex have also came up with a rooting powder strength guide so you can easily see which strength of their powder would be best for you and your plant. However, this also means that if you were planting a few different types of plant, this powder may not be the best strength for all of them, you would have to purchase multiple, which is a big downside to this product. Despite this, if all the plants you are wanting to use this product with require the same strength or if you don’t mind purchasing multiple strengths then this rooting hormone powder could be the perfect investment for you and your yard.
3. Garden Safe Rooting Hormone 93194
Garden safe prides itself on providing simple products and ‘letting nature do the rest’. This ethos has earned them a trustworthy name as well as trustworthy, efficient, and affordable products. At such a low price the Garden Safe Rooting Hormone 93194 is a great value for money choice.
The main ingredient that helps promote healthy growth in this product is the synthetic auxin Indole Butyric Acid (IBA), which is similar to the auxin that naturally occurs in plants (Indole Acetic Acid). The fact that this product is a powder makes it simple and easy to use, all that is required is to moisten the cutting, dip it in the powder, plant, and let the product do its magic.
This rooting hormone product is suitable for everyone, those who are used to propagating and those who have never even thought about it before. Adding that to the fact that it is affordable is why we have given it one of our top spots on the list.
4. Hormex Vitamin B1 Rooting Hormone Concentrate
Prevents Plant Shock
Grows all varieties of plants
Taking 4th place on our list is Hormex’s Vitamin B1 Rooting Hormone Concentrate. What stands out to us the most is the product’s claims of preventing plant shock. This occurs when plants/cutting react badly rooting hormones/stimulators. Hormex eliminates any chance of this happening, taking away all stresses from the plant (and your own stresses about the plant!) and encouraging it to grow to its full potential.
The concentrate makes up to 48 gallons for diluted hormone, providing extremely good value for money. The concentrate also comes in a variety of sizes, meaning you can choose the best size suitable for you and your plants.
However, whilst it boasts a wide range of impressive features, the fact that it is a liquid concentrate could be off-putting for gardeners. This is because you have to carefully dilute it before you are able to use it on your cuttings – an extra step that you don’t need to take with a pre-diluted version, gel, or powder rooting stimulator. Hence why it takes 4th place in comparison to its powder version in 2nd.
5. Bonide 412 Root N’ Grow Stimulator
Stimulates early root formation
Stronger root development
Bonides have been established since 1926 in providing solutions to lawn, weed and pest problems. Their solid reputation speaks for itself and so do the results that their products provide. This is exactly why their Root N’ Grow Stimulator takes 5th place on our list.
This product is based upon a 4-10-3 formation – each number representing one of three primary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium). Root N’ Grow Stimulator contains 4% nitrogen, 10% phosphate, and 3% potassium. It also contains the synthetic auxin Indole Butyric Acid. This combination works together to stimulate quicker, healthier, and stronger plant root growth.
Root N’ Grow is a concentrate product, meaning it needs to be diluted before use. This can take more time than using an already diluted version, however, you may prefer this if you like to have exact control over the product you are using and its concentration as you can mix it to your desired strength.
6. Bonide BND925 – Bontone II Rooting Powder
Works on bulbs and seeds, not just cuttings
Promotes quick development
Ideal for transplants
Taking 6th place in our rankings in Bonide BND925 – Bontone II Rooting Powder, Hormone Root Fertilizer 1.25oz. A standout feature of this product is that it is not exclusive to just cuttings. Most rooting hormone products can only be successfully used to promote growth on plant cuttings. However, Bonide BND925- Bontone II Rooting Powder can be used on seeds and bulbs as well to encourage growth. You can also use it when transplanting your plants into pots or different areas of your yard/garden.
Having the ability to use the product for a variety of different things could cut your costs down as you only have to buy one product whereas if you purchased a rooting hormone product that only propagated cuttings and you wanted to use it for bulbs/seeds, you would have to buy two different products. This one product solves multiple problems.
Despite all this products’ multi-purpose benefits, it comes in at $8.00 for 1.25oz, this small quantity means you run the risk of running out mid-propagation or you may need to stock up on a few bottles at once.
7. Doff Natural Rooting Powder
Encourages strong and healthy growth
Can be used on edible and ornamental cuttings
Can be used all year round
Unlike a lot of other rooting hormone products, Doff’s Natural Rooting Powder contains all-natural ingredients and therefore can be used on edible as well as ornamental cuttings. It contains seaweed rather than chemicals to help increase propagation. This means it is perfect for use on edible plants as you can guarantee that there are no additional chemicals or toxins.
This product can also be used on soft, semi-hard, and hardwood plants. Whereas some rooting hormone products specialize just in one type of these plants, Doff Natural Rooting Powder can cater to all of them, making it a good choice if you just want to purchase one type of rooting hormone and not multiple. Saving your plants and your pockets!
The price is low, which is not a bad price when you consider all of the benefits of this product – natural, healthy, and can be used on a wide variety of plant types.
8. Hormodin #1 Rooting Hormone (IBA 1%)
Hormodin – root inducing substance
Easy to use
Active Ingredient – Indole-3-Butyric Acid
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Hormodin #1 Rooting Hormone helps stimulate
and simplify the rooting of cuttings. Hormodin comes in a variety of different strengths – 1, 2 and 3. Hormodin #1 is best used for propagating soft herbaceous plants, roses, carnations, and some shrubs. If you are seeking a hormone that is good for propagating any other types of plants than the ones listed then Hormodin #1 is not the best choice for you, it is recommended you take a look at Hormodin #2 and #3 instead, which can be found in some homeware stores and online on Amazon.
Being a powder formula, Hormodin is easy and simple to use and state simply to ‘dip it – tap it – stick it’. Hormodin, like most other rooting hormone products, is best used on fresh cuttings to give maximum results. Hormodin is also used by professionals, as well as being put into a lot of other different rooting hormone products.
Whilst Hormodin #1’s results are exactly as they promote, it is rather expensive compared to some of the other options at $35.92, which is why it is far down our list.
9. Dip N Grow DG00201 Liquid Hormone Concentrate
Eliminates cross contamination
Contains two auxins
A lot of the rooting hormone products that we have looked at have only contained one hormone, predominantly Indole Butyric Acid. However, Dip N Grow DG00201 Liquid Hormone Concentrate Rooting Solution contains both Indole Butyric Acid and Naphthalene Acetic Acid. Both are synthetic auxins that help promote plant propagation and growth.
Dip N Grow is a liquid concentrate, meaning it needs to be diluted before use. Another drawback is that it contains alcohol, whilst this makes the rooting hormone product self-sanitizing and eliminates cross-contamination, alcohol can be very drying and harsh to your plants/cuttings as it can make it difficult for them to absorb water. In time, this can restrict and hinder a plant’s growth, which is clearly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve by using a rooting hormone. So, this is something to bear in mind.
Whilst it does contain two types of auxin, it also contains harmful ingredients and there are much better rooting hormone products available on the market, which is why we have placed this product in 9th place on our list.
10. Gardentech Rootboost Rooting Hormone
Promotes rapid growth
Early root growth
Last but certainly not least, is Gardentech’s Rootboost Rooting Hormone. Containing Hormodin, this product stimulates growth and gives your cuttings a ‘boost’ to help promote healthy but vigorous growth. Available in a variety of different sizes, you can choose a size best for you and your plant’s needs.
This product is a powder formula and is therefore easy and simple to use. However, we have placed this product as the bottom of our list, as whilst it is a good product and it does what it claims to, it doesn’t boast a lot of the features that other rooting hormone products do that we have ranked higher and deem as a better quality product. Features such as natural ingredients and being able to be used for a wide variety of different plants.
Rooting Hormone Buyers Guide
When it comes to choosing a rooting hormone, there are many factors that may influence your decision. What is best for you and your garden may not be the best for another DIYer. So, which is the best type of rooting hormone for you?
Gel root hormone is arguably easier to use than the other types as due to its consistency it sticks better to the cuttings. Both gel and powder types can be better if you are slightly clumsy as if you put too much on you can wipe it off, whereas this would be harder to do with liquid.
Liquid rooting hormone is sold in two different variants. One being a standard-strength type that can be used straight from the bottle. The other being concentrated rooting hormone which needs to be diluted before use. Whilst it is more effort and time to use the diluted version, it is also cheaper than the standard-strength version. This makes it a more suitable choice if you are not wanting to splurge on the expensive brands. You also more often than not get more product for your money.
A lot of gardeners are favourable to rooting hormone powder as it lasts longer than liquid and gel. If stored correctly, it has a long shelf life and can be used for multiple growing seasons. Meaning you get more value for your money. Powder is also extremely easy and straightforward to use compared to liquid.
Using root hormone tablets is a lot less common than using gel, liquid, or powder. They also are not as widely available. Despite this, they could be considered easier to use, due to the fact you just pop one in the hole before putting your plant/cuttings in. They are often soluble and work by dissolving by soaking up moisture from the earth/soil. So on the other hand, they may require more maintenance as it is possible you would need to water your plant more often.
Type of plant
There are three main categories of plant – soft, semi-hard and hardwood plants. As you will have seen in the reviews above, some rooting hormone products can be used on all three types of plants whereas others can only be used on one type. For example, Hormex have different products all at different strengths for different types of plants whereas Doffs Natural Rooting Powder can be used on all three types of plants. This is something to keep in mind when you are looking at purchasing rooting hormone as if you wish you use it on all three types of plants you may need to purchase a variety of different strengths.
Free of harmful ingredients
There are certain ingredients in some rooting hormone products that could be harmful to your plants/cuttings and actually stop them from growing rather than helping them. For example, alcohol, dye, and preservatives are included in some products, these can harm your plant by drying them out and then in turn, stop growth.
There are also certain ingredients that could be harmful to yourself. If you are planning on using a rooting hormone on plants that you are wishing to consume, we would recommend that you make that it explicitly states on the bottle that it can be used on edible plants
How to Use Rooting Hormone
We are going to take you through a step by step of one of the most common ways to use root hormone and how to use the most common types of root hormone – powder, gel, and liquid.
1. Make sure to use and prepare fresh cuttings. After cutting, wash them before use.
2. This step varies depending on which type of root hormone you are using.
How to use Powder Rooting Hormone
For powder, pour the powder into a tray or dish before dipping it in the base of the cutting. You may need to wet the cutting little beforehand for the powder to stick. To remove any excess powder, tap or shake it lightly. Make sure to do this like too much root hormone can actually damage the cutting and stop growth, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
How To Use Gel Rooting Hormone
For gel, simply pour the gel into a powder or tray, and then dip the base of the cutting in. The gel will stick to the cutting so there is no need to dampen it beforehand.
How To Use Liquid Rooting Hormone
Using liquid rooting hormone is slightly different to using gel and powder. If it is already diluted and ready to use straight away, then you can dip the cutting straight into the bottle.
However, if you use the concentrated form then you will need to dilute it before you can apply it to your cuttings. The concentration you need to dilute it to will be specified on the bottle. Dipping the cuttings into the liquid gives you more control than pouring the liquid onto the cuttings. If you get too much liquid rooting hormone on your cuttings it is harder to remove than gel and powder.
You should apply it immediately before you place the plant into a hole.
Placing the cutting
3. Place the cutting into a premade hole and make sure to cover the base. It is best to make the hole before you put the hormone onto the cutting. Otherwise, you run the risk of accidentally brushing off some of the hormones when pushing the cutting into the soil.
4. After you have placed the cutting or plant into the hole, cover and fill the hole with soil and then lightly water.
5. Now, let the rooting hormone and nature do their magic. After a certain amount of time, you should start to see growth coming through the soil. With some plants, it can take as quickly as 1-2 weeks whereas others can take several months. Make sure to research how long, on average, the plants you are using take to propagate. this will give you a rough idea of when to expect it.
Where Can You Buy Rooting Hormone?
All types of rooting hormone are generally available at homeware, DIY, and garden supply stores. They may also be available to purchase online.
Do You Need to Use Rooting Hormone?
Not at all. Rooting hormones are not necessary. It all comes down to personal preference. Plants do propagate naturally; however, the root of your plant/cuttings will usually grow faster and stronger when using it. This is a major advantage for those who would usually having problems with their plant/cuttings taking root.
Are there any types of organic root hormone?
Organic root hormones are important if you are wishing to use growth hormones on plants that you are growing for culinary purposes and you are particularly worried about what you are using on them. Some good examples that you can use are honey, cinnamon, aspirin, and apple cider vinegar.
Is one type of rooting hormone better than another? (i.e. gel, liquid, powder, etc)
Simply, no. It is all a matter of personal preference and what works best for you and your plants/cuttings. What works for one type of plant may not work for another. Also which type of rooting hormone works the best for you, may not work at all for someone else. It is very much trial and error and figuring out which type you prefer most.
What time of year can I use rooting hormone?
You can use rooting hormone all year round if you wish to do so. Just make sure that the type that you are using can be used to do so. If you are planning on using it all year round, powder version would probably be best for you as it has a longer shelf life than the other types.
Does Rooting Hormone have an expiration date?
It depends on the type of root hormone, typically powdered products will last longer than gel and liquid, lasting up to 18-24 months. The Forest Service advises that you throw away any hormone products that are over two years old. However, a lot of people continue to use the same product for years after they first purchased it, but it may not be as effective after a certain period of time.