Everything You Need to Know About Plant Hormones

Have you developed an interest in plant propagation? This process involves taking a cutting from the mother plant, planting it in soil, and waiting for roots to form.

Nevertheless, it takes time for root formation to take place, which is why aspiring gardeners started using rooting hormones to induce the production. These can be purchased as powder, gel, or liquid and used even in the propagation of succulents.

Some of the best rooting hormones are similar to natural plant hormones. 

Here is everything you need to know about both natural and artificial hormones.

The main plant hormones

There are five prominent types of hormones found in plants, auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, ethylene, and abscisic acid. They either function separately or in coordination with each other to induce the growth of crops. Let’s take auxin as an example. This hormone is found in the stem of plants, and it makes them bend in the direction of light. Unless crops produce auxin, they will wither in no time. 

In addition, auxin plays a tremendous role in the process of cell growth and expansion, which is why it is mostly produced in the stem, especially at the top of the stem. It moves only in a single direction from the top of the stem to the roots. Consequently, auxin concentration is the highest at the stem top and lowest near the roots. 

Since we already established that auxin is responsible for the bendiness of plants, let us see how this hormone makes cells longer. It only moves to the shaded stem side, where it induces the cells to grow in length. In the meantime, the cells found on the sunny side remain the same size, which forces the stem to bend only to one side, facing the sun. 

Another plant hormone worthy of attention is cytokinin, which plays an important role in cell division and the production of new organs, such as the roots. It is produced in the roots and travels along with water in an upward direction. More importantly, cytokinins have the power to postpone the aging process of crops, known as senescence. Learn more about the characteristics of the process of senescence.  

Moreover, cytokinins are included in the process of repair by collaborating with auxin in helping plants repair themselves after getting wounded.  These hormones work together to induce different processes, depending on their concentration. 

For instance, when the concentration of both auxin and cytokinin is identical, the process of cell division takes place. If the concentration of auxin is higher, the root formation is induced. When the concentration of cytokinin is greater than auxin, the formation of shoots takes place. 

Ethylene is an incredibly interesting plant hormone in charge of rotting and ripening. It takes the form of gas, which makes it unique. Ethylene can be produced almost everywhere in the plant and gets diffused through the tissue. Once this hormone leaves the crop, it travels through the atmosphere and affects other crops. 

Gibberellin has many similarities to auxin, but it still has some properties that make it unique. It is believed that gibberellin assists the development of crops in many stages. Nevertheless, its main contribution is increasing the length of stems.  When this hormone is not present in crops, there is almost no space between the stem nodes. The following link, https://www.britannica.com/science/gibberellin, explains the function of gibberellin in detail.  

Last but not least, abscisic acid is produced whenever crops feel dehydrated. It acquires the role of a messenger whose job is to alert the entire plant that there is not enough water to hydrate. The path of water through a crop commences in the roots, which receive moisture from the soil, continues through the stem to eventually reach the leaves, and evaporates through stomata. These refer to the minuscule pores of the leaves. 

In addition, when crops are dehydrated, the only way to prevent complete dehydration is by closing the stomata. Abscisic acid is responsible for alerting the guard cells of the scarcity of water and preventing the amount that is left from evaporating. 

How to use rooting hormones?

After gaining a good understanding of plant hormones, it is time to analyze the importance of rooting hormones in the process of propagating cuttings. These chemicals are designed to encourage root growth and are available in the form of powder, gel, and liquid. The powder variant is by far the most used version. If used correctly, they stimulate cuttings to grow roots rather quickly. 

Additionally, these powders can be used on various cuttings, such as stems, leaves, and roots. When using them on stem cuttings, you should first use shears to remove a stem cutting from the parent plant, which is supposed to be healthy. Make sure to cut nothing but the first several inches. 

Afterward, ensure the bottom of the cutting is moist for the powder to stick to it. You should pour the powder into a clean container and dip the cutting into it but only the lower part. Then, you are advised to put the cutting in a flower pot with no soil and make a small hole in it. Finally, you should add soil and little water while making sure the pot isn’t exposed to direct sunlight. 

Since succulents have no roots, the only way to complete the propagation process is via leaf cuttings. In such cases, rooting hormones are added to the leaf part closest to the plant center. Also, the cuttings shouldn’t be exposed directly to the sun till a root system develops.

Ultimately, root cuttings are best taken in the course of autumn in order for them to have enough time through winter to create a new plant. When taking such cuttings, just two inches of the root should be cut and dipped into the powder or gel. Make sure the pot is kept damp to achieve positive results.

To sum up

Rooting hormones are indeed helpful for stimulating root growth. 

If interested in cutting propagation, remember to give them a try!

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