Rooting for Willow

Every time you take an aspirin, think willow. The use of willow bark dates back to Hippocrates (400 BC) when chewing on the bark was recommended for people suffering from fever or inflammation. The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a precursor of acetylsalicylic acid, the chemical in aspirin.

But you could also think willow when you want to root cuttings of your favorite shrubs and perennials, for the plant has chemical properties that encourage sprouting. Works quickly, too, and without a big dollar investment.

To make this all-natural rooting stimulant, snip pencil-thin twigs into 1″ lengths. Put two cups of the twigs into a half-gallon jar, fill with boiling water, steep overnight, and strain. To give cuttings the “root” idea, soak the lower stems in the willow tea for a few hours, then pot as usual. The tea you don’t use will keep for a month or two.