Free rooting hormone is as close as the nearest willow tree. Simply place a few pieces of willow branches in water, allow a few days for the salicylic acid to leach into the water and voila! free rooting hormone. Water your transplants with this willow water to promote robust root systems or increase rooting potential for cuttings. Yes, it is that easy!
Cut branches of willow into 2 or 3 inch pieces. You can use weeping willow, curly willow or pussy willow, as any Salix (willow) has Salicylic acid, a naturally occurring rooting hormone.
Soak the willow pieces in water for several days allowing the salicylic acid to leach into the water. I soak the willow pieces right in my watering can, so every time I water, it is with willow water. After a couple weeks, take out the spent willow pieces and replace with fresh willow pieces.
Willow water can be used to stimulate rooting in transplants, used for houseplants, in the vegetable, flower or herb gardens, and even container plantings. Strong, robust root systems help plants take up nutrients, search deeply for water and add strength in case of wind storms.
For more fascinating information about willow and its uses, please see http://www.bluestem.ca/willow.