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Best Rooting Hormone: A Comprehensive Guide for Gardeners

If you love gardening and caring for houseplants, you probably know that buying lots of beautiful plants can get pretty expensive.

But did you know there’s a way you can create new plants out of the ones you already have?

A lot of different types of plants can be propagated to create clones that will grow into their own plants by using cuttings. To help these cuttings along and give them the best chance, you can use rooting hormone to encourage them to grow strong, healthy roots.

This can be super helpful if you’ve tried propagating without much luck so far or if you’re completely new to it.

If you’ve never used or even heard of rooting hormones, don’t worry! Read this guide to find a product that works for you to grow new plants.

best rooting hormone

Our Top Picks for Rooting Hormone

Best Overall:
Midas IBA Rooting Gel Hormone

Budget Option:
Hormex Rooting Powder #1

Best Soil Based Rooting Hormone:
Down to Earth Bio Live Fertilizer

Best Overall

Midas IBA Rooting Gel Hormone

Rooting Gel for Cuttings – IBA Rooting Hormone - Cloning Gel for Strong Clones - Key to Plant Cloning - Midas Products Rooting Gel Hormone for Cuttings 4oz - for Professional and Home Based Growers (1 Pack)

This is a great rooting hormone product to get your cuttings going whether you’re a professional or just a casual plant collector. This product is scientifically proven to work and is highly concentrated for faster growth.

It’s super easy to use on just about any type of cutting. All you have to do is fully coat the cut end in the gel. Just be sure not to dip the cutting directly into the full container. Instead, you can use a cotton swab, a small brush, or put a glove on and use your hands to get the gel liberally applied.

Once you have a thorough coat, immediately put the cutting into whatever you’re using to grow your new plant in.

Different plants will produce roots at different speeds, so be sure to monitor your cuttings closely. This rooting hormone gel will help your cuttings create strong, robust root systems for healthy plants.


  • Very easy to use and apply
  • Strong formula works quickly to stimulate strong root growth


  • Gel is very sticky, so you may want to wear gloves
  • Can’t dip cuttings directly into the container

Best Budget Root Hormone

Hormex Rooting Powder #1

Hormex Rooting Powder #1 - for Easy to Root Plants - 0.1 IBA Rooting Hormone for Plant Cuttings - Fast & Effective - Free of Alcohol, Dye, Gel & Preservatives for Healthier Roots, 21g

This rooting hormone is great for all kinds of plants, including for your veggie garden.

It works well even on plants that are more difficult to propagate, so consider giving it a try if you’ve had trouble successfully propagating in the past.

Hormex rooting hormone can be used in all kinds of growing mediums and soils, and it’s quick and easy to apply. Just take your new cutting, wet the cut end with water, and dip it about an inch down into the powder.

This is a strong product that will get new roots growing fast. Even better, it’s an inexpensive option while still being very effective.

This is a great product for beginners to start with before making a bigger investment down the road. If you’re all in on plant propagation, this is also an ideal rooting hormone product to use without breaking the bank.


  • Great price point for new growers or higher volume
  • Simple to use for great results


  • Powder form isn’t well suited to cuttings grown in water or hydroponic systems

Best Soil Based Rooting Hormone

Down to Earth Bio Live Fertilizer

Down to Earth Organic Bio-Live Fertilizer Mix 5-4-2, 5 lb

For a rooting hormone with extra punch, try this fertilizer mix loaded with natural ingredients to help plants grow quality roots.

It includes beneficial microorganisms that will create a healthy ecosystem in the soil, allowing plants to take full advantage of nutrients and moisture in the soil.

This encourages the development of large root systems which will ultimately lead to fuller, more productive plants.

It can be used for a wide variety of plants, whether in your home or in your garden. You can add it to potting medium or soil weeks ahead of time to allow for the microorganisms to get fully established. This leads to long-term root, plant, and soil health for continued benefits.

This product would also work great once your cutting has roots started and is ready to be transplanted. Young plants always do best when the shock of transplanting is lessened as much as possible. This makes it a great multi-purpose rooting hormone option that has other uses in your home and garden.


  • The fertilizer format has added benefits for plants with lots of other uses
  • It comes in recycled and compostable packaging that you can put to work in the garden


  • Not pure rooting hormone, can’t be applied directly to fresh cuttings

Best Rooting Hormone Buyer’s Guide

Plant propagation with rooting powder. Plant with bare roots. Home plant in pot with garden accessories.

How to Choose a Rooting Hormone

The type of rooting hormone you choose is entirely up to your own personal preferences and setup.

The main differences will be in the form it takes, which are usually liquid, powder, or gel. Some are also more like fertilizers that focus specifically on root growth. Take a look at the application instructions to determine if a certain form seems better or easier to you.

You might prefer a clean, easy product like a powder rooting hormone that you can just dip right into. Gel might make more sense, but you’ll need to apply it more carefully without making a sticky mess.

If you want to stick with organics for your plants, make sure you find an organic rooting hormone so your entire growing practice is organic. This is important for anyone growing and selling plants under the organic label, and it’s also just a good way to ensure you’re all organic from start to finish.

How you plan to care for your cuttings can influence which rooting hormone is best too. For example, some are made to be used for hydroponic setups, while others won’t work once submerged in water.

If you’re completely new to rooting hormone, it’s always a good idea to start with an inexpensive, more basic option. This will allow you to give it a try without spending a lot of money, and you’ll have a chance to get comfortable using it.

Rooting Hormone Frequently Asked Questions

Indoleacetic acid is an auxin, a growth hormone that promotes differential cell elongation and functions as a plant growth regulator.

What is rooting hormone?

Rooting hormone is exactly what it sounds like, a product that helps stimulate plant cuttings to start growing roots of their own.

It uses hormones to signal to the plant that it needs to put energy toward creating a new root system, which is exactly what the plant will do naturally when it needs to grow more roots.

Rooting hormone comes in several different forms, including liquid, gel, and powder, and is usually applied to the cut end where new roots will emerge.

Do I need to use rooting hormone for cuttings?

Rooting hormone isn’t necessary and you can propagate plants without it, but it gives you a major head start. It can also help ensure your success in propagating your plants if you’ve had trouble with it in previous attempts.

The trickiest part of propagation is always getting a cutting to become self sustaining, and rooting hormone is a great way to help that happen. The better the root system, the healthier the plant will ultimately be.

Fresh new cuttings can be vulnerable to disease or pests because the inside of the stem is cut and exposed, so the sooner they get going, the better.

Not only does rooting hormone help create quality roots, but it can also accelerate the process quite a bit. This gets young plants out of this delicate stage as efficiently as possible.

Are there any downsides to using rooting hormone?

Nope! As long as you get a rooting hormone that’s well suited to the plants you’re propagating, you shouldn’t have to worry about any negative effects.

Rooting hormone can be used for houseplants, flowers, vegetable plants, and just about anything else you want to grow.

It’s a great way to give a new plant a solid foundation right from the beginning for bigger and better results later on.

Is rooting hormone natural and safe?

Many rooting hormone products are completely natural.

Synthetic products exist, but if you’re looking for something natural you’ll have no problem finding it. A lot of rooting hormones and stimulants use fungi and microbes that are beneficial to cuttings.

The hormone itself is something plants naturally use to signal what type of growth is needed and when, so the actual process is completely safe.

As with any product, even natural ones, you should always carefully and closely follow the application instructions and use rooting hormone in the way it is intended to be used. Try to keep your space clean for both your and your plants’ benefit.

Is rooting hormone the same thing as fertilizer?

Not exactly, though some fertilizers include root stimulators or other materials to encourage root growth.

Root hormone itself is a separate and specific product that uses targeted hormones to help cuttings send out new roots. It’s best to use rooting hormone for cuttings specifically, as they won’t have any roots to start with.

Regular fertilizer can come later, when you have a plant ready to go into soil that will require further nutrients. Fertilizer is typically a product that you mix into soil, which will make all the necessary nutrients readily available for the plant’s root system to absorb.

What plants can I use rooting hormone with?

Most plants that are capable of propagation by taking cuttings benefit from using a rooting hormone.

Whether you love taking care of houseplants or you grow a well producing vegetable garden, you can use rooting hormone. If you have a particular plant you really love and want more of the exact same thing, adding a rooting hormone to your propagation process can help make all the difference.

See if Rooting Hormone Works for You

Start dreaming of a home and garden dripping with lush greenery that you accomplished without emptying your wallet.

Rooting hormone can help you achieve that dream and allow you to propagate all your favorite houseplants and outdoor plants. There are so many different plants you can clone, from common houseplants to all kinds of edible and decorative outdoor plants as well.

Rooting hormone is just one piece of the puzzle. There’s so much more you should know about taking cuttings and nurturing them until they become strong, beautiful plants on their own. Learn more about building your plant collection with propagation techniques!