3 minute read

Rooting powder: What is it and how to use it?

As PLNTSparents you probably already had the pleasure of experimenting with propagation. Some cuttings develop roots way quicker than others and are easy to propagate. But some of them need a little push to do that. This little “push” is the rooting hormone.

Rooting powder is commonly used by many PLNTSparents to recreate that little push the plant needs. But with so many products available, it can be hard to keep track of what products are a real plant necessity and which ones aren't. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about rooting powder!

What does rooting powder do?

Rooting powder increases the chances of your cuttings rooting. The roots will also develop faster and stronger than when you don’t add additional hormones to your growing cuttings. While many plants root naturally, applying a rooting hormone makes propagating 'difficult' plants significantly easier.

What is rooting powder made of?

All plants naturally possess hormones, including the growth hormone auxin. This hormone is produced in immature parts of the plant, where growth is necessary. Synthetic auxins are used in hormone-rooting powders and gels to replicate natural growth conditions in plants, and encourage roots to grow. Rooting powders often also contain cytokinins (another plant growth hormone), fungicides, and other chemicals, which reduce the risk of the plants succumbing to fungal infections.

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How to use rooting powder?

Rooting powder can be used on a range of cuttings, including new growth, woody stems, leaves, and roots, to improve the chances of effective propagation. Wait until the plant has finished flowering before taking a cutting. To induce root branching, apply rooting powder to a stump of an established plant. However, giving too much rooting powder to a young or existing plant might harm the root system. Rooting new plants from their parents takes time, and the cuttings are delicate before the root system develops. Keep your chosen substrate moist but not damp, and offer light but not direct sunlight.

Types of rooting hormones

Rooting hormones come in 3 different forms: liquid, gel, and powder. The powder is the most common, reliable and inexpensive option. We will tell you how you can use rooting powder within the 2 most popular and most successful ways of propagating your plants.

Stem cutting

  1. Cut a fresh, healthy stem cutting from a parent plant with a clean knife or shears. The parent must be strong and healthy, and the developing tip should be between three and eight inches long. Remove the top couple of inches of the stem.Cut the stem at a node, which is a slightly enlarged knob. Remove any flowers or leaves from the node area.

  2. Wet the cutting's bottom a few inches so the rooting hormone can stick to it.

  3. Dip (or roll) the bottom several inches of the cutting into some rooting hormone in another clean vessel. Do not dip the cutting in the original rooting powder container. Apply the rooting hormone no deeper than the cutting's ultimate planting depth. Shake off any excess powder by gently tapping the cutting against the container's edge.

  4. Put the cutting in a substrate that does not have any dirt. With a pencil or similar object, poke a hole in your chosen substrate. Make sure the planting hole is large enough so that the rooting hormone does not rub off on the cutting when you sink it into the soil.

  5. Compact the soil surrounding the cutting to get rid of any air pockets. Water the cutting lightly (a spray bottle works great) and keep it warm. When the cutting is not put in direct sunlight, root systems develop the best.

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Leaf cuttings

Many plants, like succulents, lack stems. So, leaf cuttings can be used to grow them. Apply the rooting powder to the area of the leaf closest to the center of the plant, depending on its structure. Then cover it with a soilless potting mix, and insert the leaf halfway into the mixture.

Keep all rooting plants out of the direct sun until they have developed a robust root system.

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There are also other ways to propagate your plants in which you can use rooting powder. If you are interested in other types of cuttings, you can read our PLNTSdoctor, Cutting and growing.

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We hope that this blog answers all the questions that you had about rooting powder. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Instagram.

Oh, and we would love to see any experiments you are doing with your cuttings this growing season. Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #PLNTS. :)


PLNTS instantly make Renée happy as she's always on the hunt for cool plant trends. Inspiring our community with interior tips, surprising DIY's and fun lists is what she does best!

March 30, 2023
Hi, I'm Emma, your guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your guide!