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Rooting powder for cuttings: benefits, tips and instructions for use and more!

You may ask, “What are the pros and cons of using a rooting hormone?” Most people don’t know the answer to that question! The short answer is that you can use rooting powder for cuttings quite easily and it has many advantages. In fact, it’s a simple method that anyone, regardless of ability or age, can use to get more enjoyment out of gardening.

What is rooting hormone

Rooting powder for cuttings - benefits, tips and instructions for use.

Rooting hormones are chemical solutions that can be applied to the cut end of a stem or branch to encourage root development. They are used primarily by gardeners propagating their own plants, but are also used in agriculture and horticulture. We can divide rooting hormones into two broad categories: synthetic and organic.

Synthetic preparations are usually chemicals derived from plants that have been modified to remain active for a longer period of time. This makes them more economical because they work longer. Synthetic rooting agents include indolebutyric acid (IBA), naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), IAA, zeatin, thidiazuron (TDZ), and chlormequat chloride.

Organic preparations are obtained from plant extracts. These rooting hormones usually stimulate rooting over a shorter period of time and do not need to be applied as frequently as synthetic preparations, which has an overall higher economic benefit. These include indolebutyric acid (IBA) and benzyladenine (BA).

What are the advantages and disadvantages

The rooting hormone shortens the time needed for the roots to grow


  • Rooting hormone shortens the time it takes for roots to grow, so your new plant will experience less stress.
  • One application lasts for up to 3 months.
  • It is easier to grow plants from cuttings.


Rooting powders for cuttings can be harmful if inhaled or ingested by people. So be careful not to lean over the preparations when adding them to your soil mix.

How to use rooting powder for cuttings.

How to use rooting powder for cuttings

Use a clean knife or scissors to remove a fresh, healthy stem section from a mother plant. The mother plant must be vigorous and healthy, and make sure the shoot tip is between three and eight inches long. Cut off the top few inches of the stem. Cut near a node, which is a slightly swollen lump on the stem. Remove all leaves and flowers from the area of the node.

Put some rooting hormone in a clean container and dip (or roll) the lower inches of the cutting in it. Do not dip the cutting directly into the original container of compound. Do not apply the rooting hormone higher than the final planting depth of the cutting. Shake off the excess powder by gently tapping the cutting against the edge of the container.

Use a clean knife to remove a fresh stem section from a mother plant

You can also apply the preparation to the moistened cut surface of a cutting with a brush/sponge until it is covered by a fine layer of the powder. Make sure there is no excess preparation on the leaves or they will burn off. For rooting larger plants, such as shrubs and vines, use a powder containing higher concentrations of auxin.

Plant the cutting in a soilless potting soil. Poke a hole in the potting soil with a pencil or similar tool. Make sure the planting hole is wide enough so that the preparation is not rubbed off when you stick the cutting into the soil.

Put some rooting hormone in a clean container and submerge the cutting in it

Tamp down the soil around the cutting to remove air pockets. Spray the cutting lightly with water (a spray bottle works well), and keep it warm. The root system develops best when the cutting is out of direct sunlight.

During the rooting period, it is usually not necessary to water the plants as often as they would need during the rooting phase under normal conditions. Do not overwater rooting plants or leave them dry for too long, as this can sometimes have a negative effect on rooting and may even cause the plantlets to die completely!

Rooting hormones are chemical solutions applied to the cut end of a stem

Once the roots are well established, slowly acclimate to outdoor conditions by slowly tapering off treatment with the compound over a few days and treating the plants with water only. Grasp seedlings or larger cuttings by the base and gently pull them out of the rooting pad, do not pull cuttings by the leaves! When rooting in soil, you must always carefully dig up the new plants. Rooting powder for cuttings can be applied indoors to rooting modules/rockwool cubes to make the roots easier to see.

Be sure to remove any dead leaves or leaf litter before rooting the cutting so that the preparation does not get stuck under these leaves and block water and gas exchange. While some preparations do not require high humidity, most types of rooting hormones benefit from high humidity during application. Spray rooting medium with a fine stream of water before applying for best results. If you are using natural preparations, spray them with the rooting hormone solution, not water.

How long does it take for the preparation to work?

The compound will allow new roots to form, so you can transplant the plant into the ground

If you’ve been wondering, “How long does it take for rooting hormone to work?” – then you are in luck. It speeds up the propagation process from weeks or months to just a week, depending on the product used. The compound allows new roots to form, so you can transplant the plant into the ground without damaging it further. Rooting hormones come in many forms, but all reduce transplant shock and increase rooting rates.

Antifungal vs. rooting hormone.

Antifungals promote rooting, but do not cause roots to actually form

These two terms are often misunderstood in discussions about rooting cuttings. There are two processes involved in rooting cuttings. The most important is to get the cutting to take root, and this can only happen if the plant contains sufficient rooting hormones. This can be a natural preparation, or it can be added by the gardener.

The second process is to keep the cutting free of fungal infection so that roots can form. If cuttings become infected before roots form, the cutting may deteriorate to the point where roots no longer form. In this way, antifungals can encourage rooting, but they do not cause roots to actually form. If you keep the cuttings relatively clean, fungal infection is usually not a problem, and for this reason most commercial rooting hormones do not contain fungicides.

The preparation enables the formation of new roots so that the plant can be transplanted into the ground