How to Make Willow Water: A Natural Rooting Hormone for Plants

Willow water is a natural plant growth hormone, highly effective for rooting plants. This simple, DIY solution has been used for centuries due to its potent root-stimulating compounds. Let’s delve into how to make and use this powerful elixir.

water web

Ingredients and Tools:

  1. Fresh willow branches or twigs
  2. Pruning shears
  3. A large, heat-proof container
  4. Boiling water


  1. Collect Willow: Use pruning shears to gather about two cups of willow, preferably new growth as it has higher concentrations of rooting and healing compounds.
  2. Prepare Willow Pieces: Cut the willow into one-inch lengths. Smaller pieces increase the surface area, allowing more beneficial compounds to leach into the water.
  3. Steeping: Place the willow cuttings in your container. Pour 6 cups of boiling water over them, ensuring they are fully submerged. Stir well.
  4. Wait and Strain: Allow the mixture to steep for 24 to 48 hours. Then strain the willow water using a colander or sieve into another container. The resulting liquid should resemble weak tea.
  5. Storage: Store the willow water in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to two months but is most effective when used fresh.

Using Willow Water:

  1. For Cuttings: Soak your cuttings in willow water before planting. This initial soak can significantly increase the success rate of root development.
  2. Watering Plants: Water the potting medium with willow water before and after planting the cuttings. It’s recommended to water the cuttings with willow water twice more before switching to regular water.
  3. General Use: Willow water can be used for watering newly planted shrubs, trees, and seedlings. Some plants can even be rooted directly in willow water.

Benefits of Willow Water:

  • Root Growth: Willow water contains auxins, natural hormones that promote robust root growth, vital for young plants and cuttings.
  • Disease and Pest Resistance: The presence of salicylic acid in willow water acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, helping plants fight off diseases and pests.
  • Nutrient Absorption: Strong roots resulting from willow water application aid in more efficient nutrient and water absorption, leading to healthier plant growth.
bottle with willow water

Willow water is a time-tested, natural solution for promoting plant growth and health. Easy to make and apply, it’s an invaluable tool for gardeners seeking an organic approach to plant care. Whether you’re propagating cuttings or nurturing young plants, incorporating willow water into your gardening regimen can yield significant benefits. So, why not harness the power of this natural elixir and witness the transformative effects on your plants?

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