The 2 Best Rooting Hormones: Cloning Herbs To Another Level

If you want an unlimited supply of fresh and chemical-free herbs from the comfort of your home, cloning is the way to go (for how to do it, read this article). However, you have to know that, for some herbs, cloning might not be easy at all, wasting your time if you do not know the reason. Those herbs might not have enough of those hormones needed to develop roots, fundamental for their successful cloning. However, this issue can be easily overcome by providing them with those rooting hormones they need. This is a safe and effective way to boost the success of cloning, even for the most difficult herbs.

Hence, what is the best rooting hormone in the market? My favorite rooting hormone is Clonex Rooting Gel. You can check the current price here on Amazon.

When you have put in the hard work of fostering your plants, there is nothing more disappointing then carefully preparing the cuttings for cloning only to see them wilt and die. The Clonex Rooting Gel minimizes the risk in the cloning process. Let me show you how.

Why Should You Buy It?

I have spent many years trialing a range of rooting hormones. The Clonex Rooting Gel has, by far, had the best success rates of any of the products I have tried.

The results are actually quite astounding. With other products I get, on average, about ½ to ⅔ of my cuttings grow roots. But with the Clonex Rooting Gel, I would say most of them (if I have to put a number I would say 95%) of clones develop into healthy plants. It is so successful that I always end up with too many plants and give several away to friends and neighbors. Definitely, they are as delighted with the results of the Clonex Rooting Gel as I am!

This purple gel works by sealing the cutting to prevent air embolisms (a phenomenon in which air tends to expand inside the plant vessels) that cause wilting. The active ingredient in Clonex Rooting Gel is Indole Butyric Acid (also known as IBA), which is a plant hormone responsible for root initiation and growth. The application of this hormone onto the cutting encourages the development of roots at the site.

Great Product, But You Need To Know How To Use it

It is essential to know that not everyone gets the same results as I have. While 8 out of 10 of gardeners surveyed recommend this product, 1 in 10 have had no success and think it is a waste of money.

However, as some gardeners admit, this is very likely due to their poor cutting as there are different techniques for each type of cutting (for more read this post). This indeed can have a large impact on the success of the gel.

Indeed, a poor cutting (either the wrong location or the wrong cutting tools) can affect the success of it. Check out the best pruning shears for a clean and effective cutting here. The fact that Clonex helps with the development of roots does not mean that you can ignore the temperature and moisture requirements of your herbs (more info here). Indeed, these factors also impact the effectiveness of Clonex.

Some gardeners have had problems with Clonex turning slimy and becoming unusable. However, this likely to be again a mistake of the gardener. Indeed, they have dipped the cutting directly into the Clonex bottle contaminating the whole product.

You cannot do that! You have to take out the gel you need in a separate container where dip the stem otherwise, moisture and bacteria might end up in the whole container. Heat is also another enemy. If you want your Clonex to last for long, it should be stored in the fridge and then will last for more than a year.

Several people have tried Clonex with woody herbs such as rosemary and thyme with a good rate of success. However, for more hardy cutting, this purple gel might not be enough, and so you might need something stronger (with a higher concentration of the rooting hormone). This vendor, sell a similar product (that has the same name) in three different strength levels:

  • Clonex Green: 1.5 g/L IBA – herbaceous and softwood cuttings
  • Clonex Purple: 3.0 g/L IBA – semi-hardwood cuttings (the equivalent of the one I discussed so far)
  • Clonex Red: 8.0g/L IBA – hardwood cuttings
How to clone plants using Clonex and Root Riot
A detailed video showing how to use Clonex (purple, but the same applies to the others)

Higher IBA gels are more suitable for those more difficult herbs to clone. As a general rule of thumb, the harder it is the stem (or more close to wood), the harder it is for the rooting to happen. Hence, for all cuttings, except hardwood (quite unusual for common indoor herbs), the Clonex Rooting Gel discussed so war is way enough.

A Low-Cost Alternative

Like everything in life, gardening included, quality comes at a cost. So, a good product as the Clonex comes at a premium price compared to other rooting hormones in the market.

However, is there out there a cheaper alternative? Yes, this is the Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder Rooting Hormone, which retails for about one-third of the price (you can check it out here on Amazon).

How to Grow Roots Faster in Cuttings Using Miracle-Gro® FastRoot® Dry Powder Rooting Hormone
Video showing how to use the Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder Rooting Hormone

One reason for the lower price is that it has a lower concentration of the active ingredient. The Clonex has three times (from 0.1 to 0.4%) the IBA than Miracle-Gro FastRoot. However, for most of the common indoor herbs (basil, mint, and all softwood), the 0.1% IBA is sufficient to stimulate root formation. Again, for more information, refer to this Cloning Herbs Guide.

The majority of gardeners who have tried the Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder rate this product very highly, but report a slightly lower success rate (as compared to Clonex). The added advantage though, apart from the price, is that this powder has a longer shelf life and does not require refrigeration. However, I personally prefer the gel solution as it looks safer to me due to the absence of inhalation compared to the powder counterpart.

Final Thoughts

Here you have found my two favorite picks for rooting hormones. Needless to say, I am happy to pay the extra amount for Clonex Rooting Gel (check it here in Amazon) to lower the risk and improve the success of my cloning projects. Indeed, the success that I have had with Clonex makes it great value for money compensating for the extra price. Indeed, as you use such a small amount, it is easy to get a hundred (or more) clones per bottle. My bottle has lasted well over a year in the fridge, but I have heard from other gardeners that their bottle of Clonex has been refrigerated for 4 years and is still going strong.

On the inexpensive side, we have the Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder (check here in Amazon). As long as you take the proper precautions, the disadvantages of this lower-cost alternative (in terms of cloning success) are only slight. This product should mainly be used with “easy” herbs (due to the lower concentration of the growth hormone active ingredient in the product) and potential inhalation issues.

Your Indoor Herbs