Friday, April 23, 2010

How to Propagate Cuttings with Honey

If you read enough gardening material on the Net, you will find that a lot of plants are propagated by cuttings.  Some cuttings are easy to root like herbs.  For example, Basil and Mint cuttings will easily root in a glass of water.  Other plants are more challenging.  For example, my flowering plants (petunias, mums and hydrangeas) will supposedly need a little extra.  In most cases, I find that other gardeners dip cuttings in a rooting hormone before sticking them into little pots with sterile medium (I always see peat, perlite and vermiculite). 

But some of us don't want to spend for a rooting hormone because we're gardeners with a tight budget.  I've read that you can just boil parts of a willow tree (any variety) and that will have the same components as a rooting mix.  But then again, have you ever seen a willow tree in Manila?  So I continued searching and found that the next most frequently mentioned rooting hormone alternative is HONEY.

Naturally, I had to see for myself.  Following instructions, I used 1 tablespoon (well 2 or 3 in fact) of honey and added that to boiled water (don't boil the honey).  I let it cool for few hours and then I used it like I would a rooting hormone (if I knew how it was done).  I prepared cuttings (removed all but two leaves) for my petunia, my mums and my hydrangea and then dipped each one in the honey-water mix.  There are two schools of thought.  You can soak the cuttings in the mix overnight or just dip.  I went for the instant gratification option naturally and just dipped.  Then I planted them in my organic mix in little pots.

Will they survive?  Let's wait a week more.  The cuttings have been there for a week now.  They look struggling but still green.  Ah patience, nervous wreck is thy name.  Hahaha...did I use that right?

Anyway, here are the token pictures so that you'll know that I wasn't just pulling your leg (black plastic pots from left to right: petunia, petunia, mums, hydrangea)

Finally, to answer your thought bubble, yes there were ants around the plants in the succeeding days, but I don't think they were eating the cuttings so it's no big deal.


  1. How did your experiment using honey go? I am about to do the same. I have an old woody lavender that has been with me for many years, including several house moves... and although it needs replacing, I just haven't the heart to get rid of it without trying to take some cutting from it first. As I am impatient, I am going with the honey method as a rooting stimulant as I don't have any willow to hand. Just wondered how you got on??? :-)

  2. Honey makes perfect sense as an alternative to rooting hormone. Thank you for the post!


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