If you’ve tried to clone (house)plants before, you’ve probably noticed that frustratingly enough, cuttings don’t always take. Did you know there’s a way to increase the chances of success significantly? A rooting hormone can stimulate cuttings to root, making propagation a breeze.

In this article, we’ll figure out what is the best rooting hormone by comparing ten popular brands of rooting hormone powder, liquid rooting hormone, and cloning gel.

For ease of navigation, you can find a table of contents below. Click on any of the names to jump to the respective review and see what we think of its properties, pros, cons, and ease of use.

Table of contents:

  1. Clonex Rooting Gel Review
  2. Bontone Rooting Powder Review
  3. TakeRoot Rooting Hormone Review
  4. Miracle-Gro FastRoot Review
  5. Hormex Rooting Powder Review
  6. Hormodin 3 Review
  7. Dip ‘N Grow Liquid Review
  8. Hormex B1 Rooting Hormone Review
  9. Quick Clone Gel Review
  10. General Hydroponics Rapid Start Review
  11. What is a rooting hormone?
  12. Types of rooting hormones
  13. How to use rooting hormones

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, and if you decide to buy through any of the links found here, we receive a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only suggest products we tested ourselves or products found on our wishlist, nothing else. Thank you for your support!

The Best Rooting Hormone (Gel/Powder/Liquid)

Rooting Gek Review

HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel

The Best Rooting Gel

hormex rooting powder

Hormex Rooting Powder #1, 3, 8, 16

The Best Rooting Powder

hormex liquid rooting hormone

Hormex B1 Rooting Hormone Concentrate

The Best Rooting Liquid

1. Clonex Rooting Gel

Rooting Gek Review

HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel

Check price
PROs
  • Easy to use;
  • Reported to last a long time;
  • Has been around since 1988 with great reviews.
CONs
  • Must be poured into a separate container to use;
  • Should ideally be stored in a refrigerator.

As its name suggests, the Clonex Rooting Gel is neither a liquid nor a powder, but instead, a gel formulated to stick to the cutting’s stem. One of the most popular rooting hormones out there and often used in professional settings, this gel has proven its worth.

To use it you’ll have to dip the cutting into the gel far enough to seal the cut, after which you can pot it up in your desired potting medium. The cutting will root in one or two weeks if the growing conditions are favorable, and the strong formula will provide nourishment in the root development stages.

You won’t need a lot of product for each cutting, which means a single 3.4 fl. oz. / 100 ml bottle will last you ages.

Type:

Gel

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-butyric acid 0.31%

Volume:

3.4 fl. oz. / 100 ml

Difficulty to use:

Easy

2. Bontone Rooting Powder

bontone rooting powder review

Bonide (BND925) - Bontone II Rooting Powder

Check price
PROs
  • Affordable;
  • Convenient quantity for the casual gardener.
CONs
  • Not water-soluble;
  • Lower concentration of active ingredients.

Bontone Rooting Powder is a powder-based rooting hormone based on Indole-3-butyric acid, which tells plant cells they need to grow roots.

At a 0.1% concentration of the active ingredient, it’s definitely not one of the stronger rooting hormones on this list, which means it probably won’t be of too much help for hardwood cuttings and other plants that are difficult to root. For soft cuttings like your general houseplant, though, it should work absolutely fine.

Its price and relatively small quantity make Bontone rooting powder a good option for the casual gardener since it’s more affordable than a lot of the more concentrated options that come in greater volumes.

Type:

Powder

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-butyric acid 0.1%

Volume:

1.25 oz. / 35 gr

Difficulty to use:

Easy

3. Garden Safe Rooting Hormone

garden save rooting hormone

Garden Safe Rooting Hormone (93194)

Check price
PROs
  • Easy to use;
  • Good price for its quantity.
CONs
  • Low concentration of the active ingredient.

Like the previously mentioned Bontone product, the Take Root Rooting Hormone by Garden Safe is another powder with a 0.1% concentration of the active ingredient that stimulates plant cuttings to root. As such, it’s not the strongest rooting hormone on the market, but it should work fine for most easy propagations.

It’s also easy to use: just place some of the Garden Safe rooting hormone in a bottle cap or shot glass, dip the (moistened) cutting stem and plant it in moist soil.

An affordable option which at 2 oz. / 56 grams per container should last the casual gardener or houseplant enthusiast quite a while.

Type:

Powder

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-butyric acid 0.1%

Volume:

2 oz. / 56 gr

Difficulty to use:

Easy

4. Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder

fast root rooting hormone from miracle gro

Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder Rooting Hormone

Check price
PROs
  • Well-known, reliable brand;
  • Affordable and perfect for the casual gardener.
CONs
  • Low concentration, won’t work for more difficult cuttings.

Produced by one of the most well-known manufacturers of gardening products, Miracle-Gro Fast Root is a 0.1% strength powdered rooting hormone containing indole-3-butyric acid as the active ingredient. Again, not the highest concentration out there by a long shot, but since overuse of the active ingredient can actually impede root growth this product should be perfect for those looking to root common (indoor) plants.

The standard plastic container is filled with 1.25 oz. / 35 gr of product and is affordable enough for casual use.

Works for both soil and water propagation!

Type:

Powder

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-butyric acid 0.1%

Volume:

1.25 oz / 35 gr

Difficulty to use:

Easy

5. Hormex Rooting Powder

hormex rooting powder

Hormex Rooting Powder #1, 3, 8, 16

Check price
PROs
  • Different strengths available;
  • Hormex emphasizes their product is free of ‘bad stuff’, making it safe for plants meant for consumption.
CONs
  • The small amount of product.

If you want to use rooting powder, but are unsure whether the previously mentioned products will be strong enough to help root your cuttings, consider Hormex Rooting Powder. This product is available in five different concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid: 0.1%, 0.3%, 0.8%, 1.6%, and finally 3% for the most stubborn cuttings.

So, how do you know what strength to buy for your intended use? Well, to make things easy, Hormex provides a list for each strength that contains the plants you should use it for. Other than the extra step of determining the ideal concentration for your cuttings, using Hormex Rooting Powder is no different from using any other rooting powders.

Type:

Powder

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-butyric acid

Volume:

0.75 oz. / 21 gr

Difficulty to use:

Moderate

6. Hormodin 3

hormodin 3 rooting compound

Hormodin 3 Rooting Compound

Check price
PROs
  • Lasts you 17.500 cuttings!
  • Suitable even for more difficult cuttings.
CONs
  • Smaller containers are not available.

Serious about rooting your plants? The Hormodin 3 rooting powder is an excellent choice for those looking to clone a large number of cuttings since it comes in a much larger quantity than most other products.

With an active ingredient concentration of 0.8%, Hormodin 3 is stronger than the majority of the other rooting compounds listed so far. This makes it suitable for hardwood as well as dormant cuttings. Use is identical to that of other rooting powders: just dip a moistened cutting into some powder and plant it in moist soil.

Don’t put any used powder back into the container, as this can cause contamination in rare cases.

Type:

Powder

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-butyric acid 0.8%

Volume:

0.5 lb / 225 gr

Difficulty to use:

Easy

7. Dip ‘N Grow Liquid Rooting Hormone

Dip N grow rooting hormone

Dip 'N Grow Liquid Rooting Hormone

Check price
PROs
  • Contains two rooting compounds;
  • Can be mixed to desired strength.
CONs
  • Probably a bit too complicated for the casual gardener;
  • 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid is hazardous to humans and animals in high concentrations;
  • The excess mixture cannot be reused.

The Dip ‘n Grow Liquid Rooting Concentrate is a bit different from the products discussed so far, as you’ll have to dilute it in water. As such, it comes with a container of liquid as well as a little measuring cup to mix in. More water is added for softwood cuttings, less for stubborn hardwood plants that are more difficult to root.

All in all, you’ll definitely have success using Dip ‘n Grow to stimulate plant roots, as it’s one of the most powerful solutions out there. The question is just whether you want to go through the trouble of mixing your own.

Additionally, it can be a little wasteful since excess solution should be thrown out after a few hours, which is unfortunate as this product is a bit pricier than some others on this list.

Type:

Liquid

Active ingredients:

1-Naphthaleneacetic acid & Indole-3-butyric acid

Volume:

2 fl. oz. / 60 ml

Difficulty to use:

Hard

8. Hormex B1 Rooting Hormone Concentrate

hormex liquid rooting hormone

Hormex Vitamin B1 Rooting Hormone Concentrate

Check price
PROs
  • Can be used to stimulate plant growth even after propagating;
  • Makes a large quantity of rooting liquid;
  • Can be diluted based on desired strength.
CONs
  • Must be mixed manually.

Another Hormex product makes the best rooting hormone list; this one is a liquid concentrate rather than a powder. Like the previously mentioned Dip ‘n Grow rooting hormone, you need to dilute this product yourself.

The Hormex Liquid Concentrate is the perfect option for those that need lots of roots on lots of plants: even the smallest 4 fl. oz. / 118 ml container can produce up to 24 gallons / 91 liters of rooting liquid according to the manufacturer.

One might wonder who’d ever need 91 liters of rooting liquid, but Hormex’ aim with this product is to provide something that can also be used to stimulate root growth on existing plants. It can be dosed with waterings on plants that lack a proper root system and as part of regular maintenance like a sort of fertilizer.

Alternatively, you can also dip cuttings straight into the liquid for easy initial cloning.

Type:

Liquid

Active ingredients:

1-Naphthaleneacetic acid

Volume:

4 fl. oz. to 1 gallon / 118 ml to 3.8 l

Difficulty to use:

Moderate

9. Quick Clone Gel

quick clone gel

Quick Clone Gel

Check price
PROs
  • Does not require manual mixing;
  • Strong enough to root most common plants.
CONs
  • Occasionally reported to lose consistency.

Quick Clone Gel is a rooting gel that contains two active rooting stimulants at .605% and .112% respectively.

Interestingly, as the manufacturer describes, it is made by brewing various plant elements into a sort of tea that contains high levels of indole-3-acetic acid, a rooting hormone that naturally occurs in plants and is thus not synthetic.

Additionally, it contains various vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids to promote plant growth further.

Quick Clone Gel works just like other cloning gels: just place a small amount in a separate container like a bottle cap or shot glass, dip the cutting, and plant it.

Type:

Gel

Active ingredients:

1-Naphthaleneacetic acid 0.605% & Indole-3-butyric acid 0.112%

Volume:

2.54 fl. oz. / 75 ml or 8.45 fl. oz. / 250 ml

Difficulty to use:

Easy

10. General Hydrophonics Rapid Start

rapid start rooting enhancer

General Hydroponics 726850 Plant Nutrient

Check price
PROs
  • Can be mixed to desired strength;
  • Good amount of product.
CONs
  • Inconvenient bottle design;
  • Not organic;
  • Slightly more expensive than competitors.

General Hydroponics Rapid Start is another concentrated liquid rooting hormone meant to be manually mixed to the desired strength at home. Like the Hormex liquid concentrate, it’s recommended to use this product from the moment of cloning through the entire growing cycle of the plant to stimulate healthy root growth.

General Hydroponics recommends adding 1 teaspoon of Rapid Start per 5 gallons of water to promote root growth in regular hydroponics set-ups, although many users report that using just half of that amount already yields the desired result.

Type:

Liquid

Active ingredients:

Indole-3-Butyric Acid

Volume:

4.23 fl. oz. / 125 ml

Difficulty to use:

Medium

What is a rooting hormone?

You might be wondering if a rooting hormone is something that would improve your plant propagation success rate.

Well, it is! We think that every gardener, no matter how casual, should have at least a small container lying around. Also, a single bottle will last you ages and help prevent disappointment and expensive losses.

So, how do these products work?

Explaining the whole thing would become a bit lengthy, but it basically works like this. When cut, a plant naturally forms callus cells over the wound. It also produces hormones referred to as auxins, which tell callus cells to turn themselves into root cells and start the rooting process so the cutting can survive.

We can synthetically produce auxins and apply them to a cutting, which gives it a very strong signal to start rooting.

The most commonly available auxins are Indole-3-butyric and 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid. These are strongly diluted, usually using alcohol in liquid products and talc in powdered products, to prevent overdosing (which causes worse rooting results).

And voilà! All you need to do to have your cuttings benefit from some extra rooting hormones is dip them in these products and pot them up.

Types of rooting hormones

1. Liquid

Liquid rooting hormones are handy for use in hydroponics and to stimulate root growth throughout your plants’ growth cycles since most of them are meant to be diluted and used during regular watering. This doesn’t mean you can’t use them for cloning cuttings, though.

With most products, for initial rooting, a cutting can be dipped straight into the liquid and potted up. Just don’t dip it straight into the container, so you avoid contaminating the whole batch if something goes wrong!

Liquid rooting hormones are a popular choice for those that manage a large number of plants. They come in large containers, and the fact that they can be used after initial rooting helps give your plants an extra growth boost. Being able to customize the strength of your rooting product comes in handy, but do keep in mind that rooting liquids can have a shorter shelf life and may need to be refrigerated.

2. Gel

Rooting gels are a reliable choice that’s popular among professional growers. A little of this stuff goes a long way since you only need to add a little bit where the clone was cut. It adheres strongly to the cutting, helping it soak up as much of the rooting hormone as possible. Many brands are fortified with extra nutrients to help out emerging roots.

Rooting gel isn’t the cheapest option out there (that’s powder) nor can you mix your own solutions. Additionally, it has to be refrigerated, and improper storage can cause it to lose its texture or split.

So, why do so many (hobbyist) gardeners still use it, then? Ease of use! Rooting gel is just super handy and comes with the bonus of not washing off as quickly as powder.

3. Powder

Both commercial and hobbyist gardeners have long used rooting powders to start their clones. Compared to gels and liquids, powder has the advantage that it doesn’t have to be stored in a refrigerator and will last pretty much indefinitely.

Most rooting powders contain a lower concentration of active ingredients, so if you’re looking to root something more challenging like hardwood, the standard 0.1% might not cut it.

Luckily, as mentioned in the list, there are a few good options out there that contain higher concentrations.

How to use rooting hormones

Rooting hormone products, whether liquid, gel-based, or powder-based, are very easy to use. Sure, you might need to dilute your liquid rooting hormone yourself or determine the right product for your cuttings based on hormone concentration. But in the end, it all comes down to snip and dip!

For successful basic plant cloning:

  1. Snip off a cutting, preferably one with a couple of leaves so it can photosynthesize, which significantly speeds up the process. Always cut with a clean blade and avoid damaging the main stem.
  2. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone, which should be prepared in a separate little container like a shot glass.
    Doesn’t matter what type you’re using: in the end, all you have to do is dip the cut.
  3. Pot up the cutting in whatever medium you prefer; it’s handy to have the pot ready. Make a hole in the medium first and then carefully place the clone in there to prevent the rooting hormone from getting rubbed off the cut. Even just rooting in water works!

There are endless medium types and preferred cultivation methods, ranging from simply putting the cutting on a bright but not sunny windowsill to extremely expensive propagators with automatic misting, grow lights and fans. Whatever you prefer to use, you’ll know your cutting has rooted when you feel resistance when tugging it gently.

Conclusion

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to rooting hormones, so we’ve listed our favorite product for each type.

Our favorite rooting gel is Clonex by HydroDynamics, while our favorite rooting powder is Hormex Rooting Powder. Hormex B1 liquid concentrate came out on top in the liquids.

Using a rooting hormone can significantly improve your chances of propagation success, whether you just got a succulent cutting from a friend or need to clone dozens of tomato plants. It’s a staple in any gardener’s arsenal, so get to testing to find out which type works best for you!

About the Author - Marijke Puts

Hi! I’m Marijke, although I go by Mari.I’m a houseplant fanatic writer turned plant blogger with the launch of my houseplant-centered website Houseplant Central. Not surprising, since I grew up in a home that probably contained 50+ houseplants at all times! When I moved into my own first apartment I quickly realized something was missing, which marks the moment my personal obsession with greenery began.

SEND AN E-MAIL TO THE AUTHOR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *