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How to Make a Rooting Tonic

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

Make a rooting tonic to help plants grow by soaking cut willow branches in water or by using regular honey. Make plants take root more quickly by using a rooting tonic that releases specific chemicals that help plants grow with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.


Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen. And in this segment, we're going to talk about how to make a rooting tonic. So you can start new plants very easily, just from taking a start, or taking a piece of another plant, and then dipping it into a rooting tonic, and then into soil. And there's many different materials that can be used for rooting tonic. You can buy Root Tone, or over the counter varieties, and they're not very cheap. Or you can make your own. There's lots of different materials that can be used for rooting tonic. And one of the most popular these days, is actually made from willow. So if you take willow bark, and just cut the branches into little pieces about the size of chop sticks, and then cut them down into about three in pieces and soak them overnight in water, you can take that water and dip any type of plant into it, and it will root even better. Because there's a growth regulator that's in willow. So if you cut that branch, it will grow roots, and immediately grow again. So it puts off a chemical called IBA, and then that will actually help any other plant root too. It's quite amazing. And you can store the water in the refrigerator, for even months, or freeze it, and use it as needed. And it will have that little growth regulator in it. And if you just dip your start into it, before you root it or before you put it into soil, it'll find it will grow much better. But I've found a method that works easier than anything else, and it's really simple. So honey is probably the best root tonic or root tone that you can possibly use. Because it has all types of minerals in it, and it has a consistency. And sugar that helps the plant grow. So by just dipping some honey, or putting some honey into a shot glass, and then taking a start of a plant and picking any type. And then dipping it right into the honey, and then putting that right into the soil just as it is, I have found it gives it nutrients, it helps it to adjust to the change, and it will grow right away. And it's the best root tonic you can use.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.