How to Make Willow Water to Help Root Growth


Gardeners who propagate plants through cuttings know how difficult it can be to get the new plants to root. Instead of expensive store-bought chemicals, many use willow water to facilitate root growth on cuttings from their favorite plants. Willow water is all natural and easy to make.

Things You'll Need

  • Willow tree
  • Garden shears or scissors
  • Pot of boiling water
  • Sieve or colander
  • Plant cuttings

Create Willow Water to Grow New Plant Roots

  • Gather willow branches directly from the tree by clipping them off with a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears. Each twig should be less than half an inch in diameter. You may use fallen branches if they are very fresh.

  • Strip all the leaves off the willow branches and discard them. Cut each branch into small pieces a couple of inches long. The shorter the pieces, the more auxin (the hormone that encourages root growth) will leach out of the wood to help stimulate root growth on your plant clippings.

  • Boil a pot of water on the stove. The amount should be enough to thoroughly cover all of the willow branch cuttings. Pour the water over the willow branch cuttings and allow this to sit overnight. This gives enough time for the maximum amount of rooting hormone to get into the water.

  • Position the colander or sieve over another pot in the sink and pour the willow water and willow sticks through it. Discard the willow branches or use them in your compost bin outside. Save the willow water in an air-tight bottle or jar.

  • Dip plant cuttings into the willow water and let them soak there for a couple of hours for maximum effectiveness. Do not put the leaves in the willow water, just the stem bottoms. After soaking, take them out and stick them in planting pots of soil. Care for them according to the water and light requirements of that particular type of plant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Willow water can also be used to pour over seedlings to encourage a strong root system.

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  • Photo Credit CraigPJ at
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