Why & How to make Willow Water
Willow bark contains a natural plant growth hormone called, auxin hormone. You can use this hormone to stimulate root growth on propagation cuttings by making a home-brewed solution called, ‘Willow Water’.
First, you collect first-year twigs from any willow species (Salix spp.); these twigs will have green or yellow bark. Older willow growth has brown or grey bark, so don’t use those. The willow leaves are not used, so remove all the leaves from your twigs and toss them into your compost. Take these willow twigs and cut them into 1-inch to 3-inch long pieces. You will need approximately 2-cups of twigs to make ½ gallon of willow water.
Extracting growth hormone from willow twigs:
Method A – Place the 1-inch willow twigs in a container and cover with ½ gallon of boiling water, let them steep for at least 24 hours, then strain the liquid into another container to remove twigs.
Method B– Place the 1-inch willow twigs in a container and cover with tap water. Let twigs soak 48 hours, and after 2 days strain to remove the twigs.
The willow water is now ready to use.
How To Use:
First method: Pour some willow water into a small jar, and then place the cuttings you want to root into the willow water like flowers in a vase, soak the ends overnight. After soaking, plant the cuttings in a propagation medium. Planting medium suggestion is ½ vermiculite and ½ Coir (coconut fiber) or peat moss. Please note: coir is a sustainable planting medium, while peat moss is not.
Second method: Plant the cuttings you want to root in a propagation medium, then use willow water to water these cuttings. Watering the cuttings with willow water twice should be enough to help them root.
How To Store Willow Water:
Store willow water in a jar with a tight fitting lid and keep refrigerated. Label the jar with Contents, Brew Date, and Expiration Date. Willow water keeps for up to two months if refrigerated, but freshly made willow water is more potent, therefore the longer it is stored the less effective it becomes.
Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas
Deep Green Permaculture https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/home-made-plant-rooting-hormone-willow-water/