Raw honey straight out of the bee is about as natural as it gets. In addition to its to culinary attributes, pure honey has anti-fungal and antiseptic qualities and also contains enzymes which serve gardeners well as a rooting agent for propagating cuttings.
The natural sugars the bees gathered from flowers and processed by the little bee contains 15 – 18 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon, most of these carbohydrates come from the sugars. The same natural sugars also provide an added energizing boost that helps to nourish the plants that are being rooted.
So in effect, the benefits of honey as a rooting agent are three-fold – enzymes to stimulate new root growth, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties to curtail infection, and nutrients via its natural sugar content. A win win combination of properties / qualities.
There are a number of formulas and recipes for using honey as a rooting agent, all will work to varying degrees. Many call for you to dilute the honey with hot water, which aside from dilution and possibly sterilization serves very little to enhance or preserve the mixture.
Raw honey is best, store bought honey which is processed, pasteurized , homogenized, anesthetized and blended with other preservatives and so forth might work, but certainly not as well. The label on the honey jar will state either “Raw” honey or “natural” honey.
How to do it?
The basic raw honey is the best, and raw honey with a little bit of cinnamon as well. Cinnamon powder applied to the stem when planting a cutting will stimulate root growth. Cinnamaldehyde is a compound in cinnamon that produces its unique flavor. It also works well as a fungicide, a deterrent for many pests and is useful for propagating root and stem cuttings.
Roll the moist ends of plant cuttings in cinnamon and it will encourage the growth of shoots and roots. At the same time it will keep the cutting disease free. Once you’ve dusted the ends with cinnamon dip it in the honey.
See also: DIY Willow tree water – rooting hormone
This process will work well with soil mediums, but the soil should be kept moist. For water based mediums, or for rooting in water wait 2 -3 minutes after dipping the cutting in the Honey – Cinnamon mix to allow integration with the plant fibers before inserting your cutting in the water. This process has proven effective in basically any medium including those more commonly associated with hydroponics.