Willow Rooting Solution

Native Americans recognized that willow branches would readily root if stuck directly into the ground. They soon realized that these remarkable qualities could be used for propagating other plants by making a ‘rooting solution’ from pieces of willow branch.

The active ingredients in willow, the ones that make it so useful to gardeners, are indolebutyric acid (IBA) and salicylic acid (SA). Indolebutyric acid is a naturally occurring plant hormone which stimulates root production and growth. You may recognize the name salicylic acid from the more common chemical name acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) which is used in pain relieving medication. Plants use salicylic acid to help signal their internal defenses to fight off infection and fungi.

Both of these chemicals are extremely useful to rooting plant clippings.

To make Willow Rooting Solution you will need:

  • 1-2 willow branches with fresh growing tips
  • 1 - 2 cups of filtered water
  • A Jar or Container

Where to start:

  1. Start by cutting fresh, young growing tips from a willow tree into 2" sections.  
  2. The sections should be placed in a jar or container and covered completely with fresh distilled water.
  3. In two weeks time the solution will be ready for use.

Using Willow Rooting Solution:

New plant clippings can simply be dipped into the solution or it can be used as a drench for soil in which new clipping will be placed.

Use for:

Any plant that does not readily root on its own.

Special Notes:

  • Use only the green growing tips of willow branches, best to find them in the spring.
  • Be sure to use plant material that is yellow or green in color. Avoid dark brown or grey material.