IBA (rooting hormone) for grafting?

According to this link, there might be a benefit to dipping the scion in rooting hormone prior to grafting.


Anyone do this? On some difficult to graft scions, it might make a difference.


Yes worth trying.

Check this out:

From the link above:

_Micropropagation of plants is the process of using small samples of plants called explants and causing them to undergo growth of differentiated or undifferentiated cells. In connection with cytokinins like kinetin, auxins like IBA can be used to cause the formation of masses of undifferentiated cells called callus. Callus formation is often used as a first step process in micropropagation where the callus cells are then caused to form other tissues such as roots by exposing them to certain hormones like auxins that produce roots.

Callus formation is also a necessary step towards a successful graft. Perhaps IBA is beneficial for that reason.

It states in that paper that 13% more of the treated scion took over the non treated

They site a reference Beeson and Proebsting, 1990
This was on pine trees, which are not that closely related to flowering trees.Conifers were here before the dinosaurs. Flowering trees emerged after extinction. The same time mammals began to dominate. Some theorize it helped in the extinction by out competing conifers, the natural food of the plant eaters. Off on a tangent here, anyway it’s still woody material and very much worth trying.

So yes thanks for posting, water soluble examples can be bought like Clone X. I’m going to try it.
Don’t use alcohol solutions. Water soluble only.

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What about simply dusting the scion with IBA powder? That’s what they used in the experiment and it appears to have increased the take by 20%.

Yes. Many a corporate gem is founded in this fact.
Also note that in “corporate” practice we prefer to take cuttings all the way down to the branch and include “heel” (callus material at the node) for better propagation results.

Common practice in wholesale nursery industry with I-3-BA.

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How much powder would one use? Can powder interfere with cambial contact?

Yes, I’m worried about that. I prefer the powder forms myself as I like to use very little. I dip and knock off much of it. I have had good luck with this form. I was thinking of making a solution. One grafting video, the guy wets the scion, so I was thinking it won’t hurt if wet. Just thinking powder is dry, the last thing we want with scion to dry out. Although I have no good way to know dosage using powder.
I have some super rare peach scion in, and more coming and I need these to take, peaches are super tough. I’m even using buddy tape which is better than parafilm, at least many say so, I want to do everything to increase takes.I may never have another shot at this wood.

It surprises me that further research hasn’t been done- this is a huge industry in agriculture and landscaping and for difficult to graft plants a 10-20% increase in takes would represent a huge benefit in profit margins.

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@Barkslip Do you have any insights on this? The referenced paper mentions using rooting hormone to increase takes on conifers. Was thinking maybe you might know something about that?

I can only tell you in years past people talked about doing this for deciduous and coniferous trees. I saw no reason to pursue it. I don’t know how to say it right/nicely but when I used to average out my conifer grafts after seven years going, I was consistent above 85% after they had knitted, grown, and hardened off. Deciduous… I would speculate I’m the same there, too.

What I believe in more (snake oil theory) is scionwood that is past its’ prime and to re-hydrate it with a few drops of Superthrive.



It’s tough here as we have to wait so long my scion wood comes in fine, but can’t last month after month. I started grafting earlier but scion is slow to take on peaches especially, and even if it gave me 2 more days of viability that could make the difference. I have about a 15% take rate here. Since it appears to be backed up by studies to work, I will for sure be trying it. With other plants take rates are very high, peaches are tough here due to multiple factors. The weather, being the main problem. It appears to me that the problem is the scion will not stay viable long enough for a take with peaches, everything else does better, needs less time. So anything to extend viability, and/or improve cell formation is sorely needed here.

Get some Superthrive, Drew.

I also learned from @Stan last year that individually wrapping scions in parafilm or buddy tape or saran wrap, is far superior to putting bunches in ziplocks. He cut stuff in December/January that I grafted in May or June. Probably both months. I just remember thinking ‘how does this wood still look great on the outside and when cut anywhere thru it, the green color was perfect.’

And two more things:

  1. when you cut or receive scionwood it should be hydrated immediately or ask the person the wood is coming from if they’ve already rehydrated it. 20-30 minutes.

  2. When you’re ready to graft, the night before, snip the ends off and hydrate them again with superthrive (2-3 drops in a 8" - 10" diameter soup type bowl; 3-4" height of water). 15-20 minutes.

If I think of anything else, I’ll add later.



Superthrive is a proprietary mixture of Seaweed, Alfalfa, and Barley extracts.

Norwegian seaweed extract alone works about as well and usually is less expensive.

Grow More’s “Jump Start” product is a better formulation than Superthrive and is about the same price.


Thanks, Richard.


OK, I decided to do the experiment.
I grafted 8 fig trees today after dipping the scions in IBA. Figs are typically very easy to grow from cuttings and graft well too. But these were very rare and expensive cuttings that apparently don’t root or graft easily. I heard this variety just sits around, doesn’t callus and eventually just rots.
We’ll see how they do.


We hobbyists are always reluctant to use a control- if the method works we hate to slow down the success of the control. But now you have no comparison and will just have to do it every time, unless the results are obviously much worse than they should be, which seems almost impossible.


Actually I do have controls. Each cutting had 3 nodes, one of the nodes on each cutting was not treated with IBA.

However, I dont think it would be considered a valid sample size. Further, we don’t know if all the nodes are equivalent: some buds might be healthier than others. Well, something is better than nothing.

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I could I have enough scion of some to do both, but as ramv says the sample size is not big enough to determine statistical significance. So it’s still anecdotal.