What Rooting Hormone has everyone found to work the best? Powder, gel, liquid, what brand? Does it make a difference?
You will get arguments from all angles. Personally I have had excellent success with DipNGrow, its a liquid rooting hormone. I have heard people say that the powder coats the cutting but promotes fungus. I personally have never had a high success with powder.
This was the reason for the question, I have never had luck with the powder. I did not know there was anything other choice unitl now. The only one you see around here is the powder.
I don't think it's accurate to pitch a particular brand or type of rooting hormone because different plant species respond to different chemicals, whether we are cloning hardwood, summer wood, or herbaceous/tip cuttings. Even though it's generally true that the most effective concentration levels normally vary and can be roughly grouped by the 3 types of cuttings you mentioned, the most effective chemical to use also varies and can be much more important than concentration levels; so, it is a combination of the concentration AND the choice of chemical + type of cutting and time of year that determines the effectiveness of a rooting chemical.
The rooting aids are synthesized forms of the plant hormone/growth regulator 'auxin'. Indole butyric acid (IBA) and naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) are the two most common chemicals that have been found to be reliable in the promotion of rooting in cuttings. IBA is widely applied in general use because it is non-toxic to most plants over a wide range and promotes root growth in a large number of plant species.
Some plants respond better to either IBA or NAA, some respond to ONLY one or the other, some may have a toxic reaction to one but not the other which will lead to poor or no growth and actually, mortality; and some respond best to combinations of both chemicals, or to other variations of either IBA or NAA based on K (potassium). Both IBA and NAA are commonly available in talc or in liquid formulations of varying concentrations.
I do LOTS of propagating of several hard-to-root species, but only use a rooting aid occasionally for the most difficult. As a generalization, You should know on a per plant basis which chemical and concentration is most apt to be effective before applying it. I have found it mostly unnecessary. Learning a little about the cultural conditions cuttings prefer and some other tricks (like methods of wounding) along with cleanliness will add more to what it takes to be successful at propagating (plants) than rooting aids (except in the very hard to root plants).
Im just going to take a wild guess, since this is on on the fig form that jstall is going to using the hormone on fig cuttings. That may be a long shot but Im going with it.
... such a wit.
You'll have to forgive me because what I posted was a cut/paste job from another post I left somewhere and I edited it hurriedly. However, the following (from above) should have been clear - "... the most effective chemical to use also varies and can be much more important than concentration levels; so, it is a combination of the concentration AND the choice of chemical + type of cutting and time of year that determines the effectiveness of a rooting chemical." IOW - there are variables that affect which preparation will work best, and there is no 'one size fits all'. No one disputes your "excellent success", but please allow there is at least a minuscule possibility someone, perhaps even the OP, may have wanted to look a little deeper.
In your opinion, what degree of improvement can rooting hormones provide when rooting fig cuttings? Speed? Percentage of cuttings that take? More likely to get tip cuttings to root? Any use at all in air layering?
Here is the best publication I found on cuttings. This may be drifting away from the question but Ill throw it out there.
Its a good read if your into this stuff.
Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating link
Ox - I'm not going to pretend I know the answer to your questions, because I don't. I will say though, that in most cases cuttings fail because of unsterile conditions. It could be unsterile tools, but more often it's a damping off disease that was either in the medium used or was invited because of surrounding cultural conditions - usually other dead or decaying material nearby. Figs are genetically encoded with great vigor, so if cuttings are handled properly and they come from plants that were growing with good vitality when the cuttings were taken, nearly all the cuttings should strike.
For carica, and for most growers, I think the answer to improved success lies in cleanliness and technique, not in what type or whether or not a rooting aid is used.
FWIW - Hartmann & Kester says that best are 2-3 year old dormant hardwood cuttings that are treated with IBA and allowed to callus for 10 days at 75* in slightly damp (sterile) bark or peat before potting.
You will also have very good success if you take your 5-6 node cuttings as soon as the frost is out of the soil and bundle them so the proximal ends are together. Bury the cuttings proximal end up so the end is covered by 3" of soil and mark them so you can find them in a few weeks. When figs or mulberries in the landscape are starting to leaf out, dig up the bundle and reorient them so the distal end is up and at least three nodes are buried and 1-2 nodes are above ground.
The ground is cold enough at this time that fungal issues are not a problem. The proximal end up warms the rooting end, which promotes rapid callusing & gets roots growing. The cooler temps deeper in the soil keeps the shoots from developing until roots have formed, which is when you'll be digging them up & planting or potting them.
Thank you for taking the time to answer and for the great information. I can see a lot more study time, for me on this subject.