Making a Willow Rooting Tea

Willow Rooting Tea is a simple concoction that can be made in your home kitchen to speed up and promote good rooting during propagation of all types of plants.  Willow (Salix spp.) contains Indolebutyric acid and Salicylic acid, two hormones that naturally promote rooting. By making a tea with willow, these compounds are leached into the water with which cuttings can be sprayed, watered, or immersed.

Here’s How:

Take cuttings from any species of willow (weeping willow, pussy willow, white willow..there are hundreds). Small branches or whips are the easiest to handle.

Remove all leaves.

Using pruners, cut the cuttings into small 1-2 inch pieces.

For every one cup of willow cuttings you will need one quart of water, and will end up with around 1 quart of willow tea.  If you are just propagating a few things 1 quart should be enough. For larger jobs you may consider making gallons at a time.

There are several options for actually making the tea, all of which work fine:

1.Place all the willow cuttings and the water in a large pot on the stove and boil it, covered, for 20 minutes. Let the tea stand for 24 hours.

2. Place all the willow cuttings in a glass jar(s), boil enough water to fill the jars, pour the water in the jars, and let the cuttings steep for 2 days to 2 weeks.

3. Place the willow cuttings in a container such as a plastic bucket, cover with water and let stand for 2 weeks or more.

Strain the willow twigs from the liquid and store the tea in a refrigerated or very cool space if possible.

Water new cuttings between two and four times with the willow tea to ensure good rooting in soil.  If you are rooting your plants in water, you can place them in a jar or vase of willow tea to ensure good root development.

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