Best Rooting Hormone To Propagate Plant Cuttings: Liquid, Gel or Powder?

Rooting hormone is becoming a must-have when you propagate plants.

With its ability to not only speed up root growth but turn near-death plant cuttings into healthy new plants.

A rooting hormone (also called rooting powder or root starter) is a tool that all propagators should have in their arsenal.

If you have been on the fence about using rooting hormone or just can’t decide what form of rooting hormone to use (liquid, powder, or gel), we are here to help.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to choose the best rooting hormone to increase the success of your cuttings.

If you want more information on houseplants, go back to our Houseplants page.

Here how to choose the best rooting hormones (liquid, powder or Gel) for Increasing plant propagation success

What Is Rooting Hormone?

Rooting hormone is a synthesized substance that can be applied to stems or leaf cuttings to encourage plant reproduction.

Root growth hormones are an amazing way to jumpstart root growth and promote healthy root systems from your plant cuttings.

They are added to your cutting before planting and kickstart the chemicals that are responsible for root growth like auxin.

When your cuttings need some extra help, or you just want to speed up the process, root growth hormones are the safe bet.

What Is Rooting Hormone Used For?

Rooting hormones improve the likelihood that your cuttings will take hold by helping the cuttings form roots.

In addition, the root will typically develop rapidly and be more robust than it was if rooting hormones were not employed.

Many plants root on their own, but root hormone makes it much easier to grow “difficult” plants.

If your cuttings are off a sick, frail, or dying plant, you’ll need something to get them strong enough to grow roots.

The rooting hormone adds a boost to the cuttings so they can become healthy plants. 

It is also a great way to speed up the process of root growth for those of us who are impatient and don’t want to wait around hoping the roots will start growing soon.

The key thing to remember is that the rooting hormone will never decrease your likelihood of root growth, but add to it, so there is no reason not to try it out.

Best Rooting Hormone for Plants 2023

Gel-Based Rooting Hormone: Best for Beginners

Rooting hormone gel is quickly becoming the most popular type of root stimulator for plants because of its convenience when using it.

This is because there is no need to time the dipping of your cutting or shaking off excess powder. Simply dip and plant with no worries.

How to Use Use Rooting Hormone Gel? 

Rooting hormone gel is by far the easiest to use because it requires no diluting or shaking off excess powder.

Simply dip and plant.

Dosages are easier to measure and require less accuracy than the other two mediums, so gel rooting hormones are definitely ideal for beginners

Best Gel Rooting Hormone for Beginners

Root hormone gels are becoming everyone’s new favorite option because of how easy they are to use.

A simple dip and plant are hard to beat anyway, but this gel rooting hormone goes above and beyond.

Clonex has a vast array of minerals and nutrients to help your cutting sprout healthy and strong roots that will form the basis for a perfect new plant.

Plus it is alcohol-free. For someone who has never tried rooting hormone before this is an ideal first-timer product.

Powder Rooting Hormone

The most common form of root hormone is rooting powder as it can easily be applied to cuttings without risking using too much.

How to Use Powder Rooting Hormones

It is important to only dip the cuttings in the powder when it is dry because wet cutting can pick up too much of the rooting hormone and allow the spread of contamination from one cutting to another.

Dip the end of the cutting into the powder and then gently tap the cutting to release any excess powder for too high a dose.

When in doubt, simply tap or shake the cutting gently to release any access powder.

You want a thin layer around the end of your cutting, and then you are free to plant the cutting.

Using Rooting Hormone

Liquid Rooting Hormones

While the liquid version of the rooting hormone has the same active ingredients as the powdered version, it does include an alcohol base instead of talc. 

This requires a quick dip of the cutting, but it can be slightly more difficult to gauge if you’ve used too much so always make sure the cutting is dry.

How to Use Liquid Rooting Hormones

Pour out a tiny bit of the liquid rooting hormone into a dish to control the amount of exposure.

While this is not the case for all liquid rooting formulas, some require dilution with water, so the hormone isn’t too concentrated and kills your cuttings.

The liquid rooting hormone can differ depending on the brand, so it is always important to check the label before use.

The time that you dip the cuttings is also different because some cuttings need to be dipped for five seconds to get enough rooting hormone while others require only a second or two to get the job done.[1]

Dip the cutting in for about five seconds and then plant it immediately after or your cutting will die of thirst from the rooting hormone exposure.

Planting the cutting should always come quickly after the dipping, so the cutting doesn’t die of dehydration. 

Our Choice for Liquid Rooting Hormones

A personal favorite because of the self-sanitizing feature, this liquid rooting hormone comes with a ton of features that make it well worth trying out.

The liquid is a concentrate, which might be a deterrent in other situations, but this product comes with its own containers for diluting, so it is hassle-free.

Liquid rooting hormone includes auxin, which is a naturally occurring chemical in plants that controls and promotes root growth.

Because the hormone is naturally occurring in plants it just promotes what is already in the plant cutting and speeds up the process.

While alcohol is not my favorite ingredient in products like this use it in a way that wins me over.

The ethyl and isopropyl alcohol used in this product provide a sterilization aspect that eliminates cross-contamination and takes some of the stress off you.

Which Rooting Hormones Do Professionals Use?

For those professionals out there that need that extra rooting booster, this product is by far the best one we have used.

Gel rooting hormones are excellent because it allows for the root growth hormones we love and can be used on smaller-scale houseplants in your hydroponics vegetable gardens.

We typically see results within five to ten days. You can have a strong and healthy root for any and every type of plant you want, making it ideal for not only the hobby gardener but professional farmers and florists as well. For professional growers, this is a must-have!

Things to Consider When Using Rooting Hormone

For more information on how to use rooting hormones to propagate your plant cuttings, read our related post on: how to use rooting hormones

Proper Dosage 

One of the most important parts of properly using root hormones is finding the right dosage.

Not using enough rooting hormone can mean the hormone won’t work and too much of the hormone can make the cuttings dehydrate and die. 

How Do You Use Rooting Hormone?

So before you just start dipping the cuttings randomly, it is important that you figure out what the proper dosage is so you can get the best results. 

Use Separate Containers

It is also important to avoid contamination so your cuttings don’t become diseased and die.

By putting some rooting powder into a separate smaller container instead of dipping the cuttings directly into the original container.

You don’t risk contaminating the whole container and having to throw it away. 

After dipping cuttings from the same plant into the small dish of the rooting hormone solution, you should throw the rest away and rinse the dish out before using it on more cuttings.

Read the Directions Carefully

This goes without saying but most beginners rush and think they know what to do. They’ll just dip and plant.

However, depending on the type of rooting hormone and the type of plant you are propagating, you should really read the instructions first.

It is always good to make sure you understand what you should be doing and avoid when using rooting hormones indiscriminately.

Why is my plant not rooting?

Your plant is not rooting because either the leaf or stem cutting was not viable, to begin with. Either the leaves or stem is broken, too small, or the plant was not designed to thrive on its own and create a new plant for whatever reason. Other reasons could be that you have a poor soil type or the growing medium has inadequate drainage.

What stimulates root growth in plant cuttings?

Auxins are chemicals that signal and stimulate the plants to sprout new roots. Rooting hormones that you can buy, come in powder, liquid, or gel form, and contain organic auxins or synthetic substances that can be applied to cuttings during the process of propagation to help them grow roots faster.

Can Aloe Vera be used as a rooting hormone?

Yes, Aloe vera can be used as a natural rooting hormone. Due to its antibacterial and antifungal qualities, aloe vera is an effective natural hormone for rooting cuttings. These features protect the cuttings from diseases. This permits the cuttings’ inherent rooting hormones to encourage root development.

Can you use honey to propagate plants?

Yes, honey can be used to propagate plants. Honey functions effectively as an organic rooting hormone because of its antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Honey protects cuttings from infections and lets the cutting’s own rooting hormones drive root growth.

Our Top Pick For Rooting Hormone

Our pick for the best rooting hormone is this gel rooting hormone.

We really like this rooting hormone gel because of the versatile nature of the product.

With its ability to work on just about every plant of every size and shape it makes quick work of rooting trees as well as vegetables and flowers. 

This product utilizes brewed tea like in organic farming to promote healthy root growth and is perfect for large-scale propagation needs like farming or floristry.

No matter how big or small your propagating project is, we recommend this gel rooting hormone.

No matter which of these products you choose, I know you will be happy with them.

All types of rooting hormone offer significant benefits while still delivering the rooting hormone boost you want to grow roots fast and strong. 

There is nothing to lose and only quick root growth to gain so try it today and see why we love these products so much. Happy growing!


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