I have two beautiful lavenders by my front door which I have decided to take some cuttings from. To give them the best start in life I decided to make a rooting hormone for cuttings from willow.
It is so simple, and an incredibly sustainable, organic, permaculture, environment friendly way to encourage cuttings to root. All willow varieties (Salix spp.) contain indolebutyric acid (IBA) a naturally occurring chemical which is a plant growth regulator. What this means is that when a fresh cutting comes into contact with it roots will be encouraged to grow.
As I said the process to make the extract is very simple:
1. Collect some fresh willow twigs, and cut into lengths of 5-10cm.
2. Place in a pan and cover with boiling water. Use 1/2 a measuring cup of twigs per litre of water.
3. Leave the twigs to infuse over night and then strain the mixture.
4. Bottle the liquid up being sure to label clearly with contents and date made.
5. Store in the fridge for up to two months.
To use: soak your cuttings overnight in a glass of the mixture, and then watch with pleasure as your cuttings take, and grow fabulous roots! It is the IBA which is the active ingredient absorbed by the cut stem or leaf; cleverly it not only encourages root growth but also inhibits fungal bacterial and viral disease. A very useful mixture to have at the ready in the fridge door.
For more great sustainable, permaculture, organic, ideas for how to make the most of plants growing in your neighbourhood grab a copy of 20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses.