Do You Need Rooting Hormone? Just Chew It. How Clone On The Cheap.
clone without rooting hormone

My first ever successful clone

This was without any rooting hormone whatsoever. It also was rooted outdoors under a semi included greenhouse with no dome! Skip to “How Come I’ve Never Heard Of This Before?” for more info.

Is it necessary to add Root Growth Hormone when cutting your clones?

FIRST it should be noted that this advice may not apply to all species. Some root less readily than others.

You should consider trying the free and savvy method only on a small portion of any size-able crop before risking your entire investment on a new method.

Also, for this to work you must NOT tug on the shoot to test it, ever! Even after a couple of weeks a dying plant has been known to do the “Phoenix” and rise from the ashes once again. My first attempt rooted in about a week and a half un-covered and outdoors in moderate fall weather (the plant in the very first picture of this article).

You do not need root growth hormone to successfully clone plant cuttings as the plant already has the hormones in the leaf tips. When all conditions are met, the cutting will grow root and establish itself. Using human saliva will not make the process faster, but it along with especially the chewing action may encourage better or more root growth. It seems to definitely help speed up the process as well as keep the cuttings healthier during the process. Read on and try it for yourself!

IBA rooting hormone chemical bonding structure

Commercial Rooting products

You can purchase growth hormones that contain indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and or alpha-naphtalen acetic acid (NAA) to stimulate root growth. The hormones are usually in a gel or powder form. The directions are user friendly: dip the end of the cutting into the hormone and place in soil to an appropriate depth. Don’t get me wrong — IBA in these growth hormones are proven to stimulate root growth; however you do have to be somewhat careful with the application (and preparation) or it could inhibit root growth and/or give it a disease that it can’t fight. A new cutting doesn’t have the proper circulation of water and nutrients (no roots to do the job yet).
wasting money on rooting hormone

Unnecesary Operational Cost?

Purchasing rooting products over and over will of course add up over time if you want to keep propagating lots of cuttings. While IBA costs money; free methods exist and are viable. There are suggested alternatives to rooting hormones and believe it or not folks, one of them is human saliva – even better – from a sheep (no kidding)! Now to find out if it’s plausible…
skeptical old guy

How Come I've Never Heard Of This Before?

For some reason it’s simply assumed that cannabis needs rooting hormone in order to successfully take cuttings — and this is another common case of a falsehood commonly accepted as fact.

I first heard about this tech from my roommate who was in a pinch one year after accidentally killing the bulk of his crop. Using intuition from previous grows he concluded that the plant should be able to regenerate without rooting hormone, so he simply took cuttings and chewed the very ends of their stem to the point where the fiber started to break into separate strands, but not enough to mush it up. He then stuck them in small, uncovered planters (I think he said plastic cups w/ drain holes) and left them uncovered.

These were not his plants and he urgently needed a solution to his caretaking mistake. When the owner returned, the quote I remember hearing was:

“What the fuck did you do?”

All of the cuttings had started to perk back up towards the light the yellow de-faded to green — to everyone’s amazement!

This really comes down to species, since many plants will root if they happen to flop over and have any contact between the soil and their trunk or even other stems. Ficus have even been known to do “air-rooting” where they grow roots through dry air off of their trunks towards the soil.

Do You Need Rooting Hormone? Just Chew It.  How Clone On The Cheap.

Saliva Of the lambs

In 2014, there was a research that used sheep saliva to test effects on plant growth. The study showed that sheep saliva is most effective in promoting growth of leaf biomass, and buds when compared with water or salivary (isolated, possibly synthesized?) components. It seems the entourage effect is not exclusive to terps (: — just kidding.


If you’re interested in the specifics, salivary components studied were: epidermal growth factors (EGF), thiamine, and the combination of the two. While it did not prove that the saliva affects root growth, it proves that animal saliva can help plant growth in various ways. The theory is that animal saliva can breakdown fructans into simple sugars for easy usage to promote growth. Human and sheep saliva have some minor differences, but they contain the same enzymes, hence, they may have a similar effect on plants. The study did not look at the saliva’s effect on roots.
Homer Simpson stoned as fuck

Does Human Saliva Do Anything For Rooting?

Human saliva does not contain the necessary hormones to help stimulate growth of plant roots, but it does contain enzymes that make certain processes easier. The enzymes can breakdown complex sugars like fructans into glucose and fructose, which the plant can use to grow new roots. Human saliva also contains vitamins and minerals that the plants can also use as a source to stimulate growth. Adding human saliva can still help the roots to grow roots from your clone, but it will be because of the trace minerals and enzymes. Similar to sheep saliva, plant can use the components inside the saliva to help it to survive.
oldest scroll

proven Documentation of the effects of "auxins" on roots

It was in 1928 that a Dutch botanist isolated the first auxin, which is indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). Auxins have been known to stimulate plant growth since 1928. According to World Scientific:

“Pioneer studies in the 19th – early 20th century leading to the discovery of auxin are introduced first. In 1928, Dutch botanist Fritz W. Went finally isolated auxin diffused out from the tip of oat coleoptiles in the gelatin block. Following Went’s success, auxin, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) was then isolated first from human urine, then from fungi, and finally from higher plants. Discovery of auxin is thus the result of the work of many botanists and organic chemists from various countries. Biosynthesis, metabolism and physiological actions of auxin are also briefly described.”

After that IBA (in most products you find toady) and NAA (a purely synthetic chemical never generated organically) were also harnessed to factilitate and augment the rooting process. According to Wikipedia: “The hormone NAA does not occur naturally, and, like all auxins, is toxic to plants at high concentrations”

It’s our understanding of plant auxins that allows us to clone plants so easily via different propagation methods today. One may duplicate a very similar or exact match of a mix of plants for a very long period of time. Different propgaation methods may include budding and grafting depending on the species.


Money tree: Or The tree of many kinds

With cloning, you can have many plants similar, if not identical to the plant that you want to clone in a short space of time. Plant propogation helps makes production more realiable since you can expect similar results as the mother plant. Normally the genetics degrade somewhat over time, however — and it takes a skilled grower to stave this off past noticeable levels after 3-5 generations. It is for that reason that seeds or refdigerated cell cultures which can be regenerated later are preferred for long-term genetic preservation.

Fun fact: different species of fruit trees and vegetables have been proven able to be grafted into one single plant! This begs the question which other plants this may work with? See this video for an example of 40 citrus on one tree:

The Basics of Cloning a plant

To clone a plant, you cut off a part of the main or stock plant and place the cutting in a medium to encourage root growth. The most common medium is water, but you can also place the cutting in soil. Some encourage the use of root growth hormones that contain auxins IBA or NAA to help the roots grow faster. But for such plants as cannabis (or especially tomatoes) there is no need to do so. Roots grow readily from the cut point and have for thousands of years. You can take a cutting from any part of the plant (the results will vary), but normally they are at least a few nodes below the youngest node. Go for some thing healthy that has enough leaves to photosynthesize food, but not too many to sap out moisture before rooting. You can reduce the leaf number but cutting off the leave tips but avoid cutting leaves in half to reduce water loss.

the leaves store resereve hormones

For a plant to grow roots, you need the leaves to create food and to also stimulate rooting. When you propagate via cuttings, leaves become the main source of rooting co-factors and endogenous auxin. When you remove a cutting from the stock plant, too little leaves will slow down or stop leaf growth, while too many will create a burden to the plant and it will die. A study has shown the the optimal amount of leaves on a cutting are two or three to have a successful root growth. Three- leave cutting has better root quality due to more carbohydrates, while any more will cause stress to the cutting and no rooting success. The most important factors are ideal temperature, an adequate amount of leaves and enough sunlight. Growth hormones and human saliva are great helpers, but they don’t seem to be essential in with many species.


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