Plant propagation, the art of multiplying plants from existing ones, is a fascinating and rewarding endeavor for gardeners. Traditionally, rooting hormones, synthetic compounds that mimic natural plant hormones, have been used to stimulate root development in cuttings. However, the burgeoning interest in natural gardening solutions has led to the exploration of alternatives like apple cider vinegar (ACV). Before incorporating ACV into your rooting routine, let’s delve into the science of root growth and explore the effectiveness of this popular home remedy.

Demystifying Root Growth: The Intricate Dance of Hormones and Signaling

Root development is a complex process orchestrated by a symphony of plant hormones. Auxins, a class of plant hormones, play a pivotal role in this intricate dance. They trigger cell division and elongation, the fundamental building blocks of root formation. When a stem cutting is taken, the disruption to the plant’s hormonal balance can hinder root initiation. This is where rooting hormones come in, by providing a concentrated dose of auxin-like compounds to stimulate root development in the cutting.

However, root development is not solely dictated by auxins. Environmental cues like light, temperature, and humidity also play a crucial role. Additionally, internal factors like the physiological state of the mother plant and the type of cutting influence the success of root formation.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Mimic Auxins? Examining the Claims and Evidence

The internet abounds with anecdotes about ACV promoting root growth. However, there is a paucity of scientific evidence to support these claims.

  • The Limited Scientific Basis for ACV’s Effect on Rooting: While ACV contains acetic acid, its ability to mimic the complex signaling pathways involved in root development is highly questionable. Studies investigating the effects of ACV on plant growth have yielded mixed results, and the specific mechanisms remain unclear.

  • Potential Benefits for Specific Plant Types (Limited Anecdotal Evidence): Some gardeners report anecdotal success using diluted ACV solutions for rooting certain types of cuttings, particularly soft-stemmed herbs. However, these observations are not backed by rigorous scientific research and may be attributed to other factors like the inherent rooting propensity of those specific plants.

  • Risks of Improper Use: Hindering Growth and Damaging Cuttings: Undiluted or excessively concentrated ACV solutions can be detrimental to cuttings. The acidity can damage delicate tissues and hinder root development.

Reliable and Effective Methods for Encouraging Rooting

While ACV may not be a scientifically proven method for promoting root growth, there are several established and reliable approaches:

  • Utilizing Commercially Available Rooting Hormones: Commercially available rooting hormones come in various formulations, catering to different plant types. These products contain synthetic auxin analogues that effectively stimulate root initiation and development in cuttings. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and dilution rates.

  • Creating a Favorable Environment for Root Development: Providing optimal environmental conditions such as warm temperatures, high humidity, and indirect light significantly improves the success rate of rooting. Using a propagation dome or humidity tray can help maintain a consistently moist environment around the cutting, promoting root development.

  • Importance of Proper Cutting Selection and Preparation: The type of cutting and its preparation significantly influence rooting success. Choose healthy, disease-free stems from the mother plant. Make clean cuts at an angle just below a node (the point where leaves and buds emerge) and remove any lower leaves to minimize water loss and encourage root formation.


While the allure of natural solutions like ACV is understandable, when it comes to root growth, scientific evidence reigns supreme. Utilizing established methods like commercially available rooting hormones, proper cutting selection,and creating a favorable environment for the cuttings will yield far more consistent and reliable results in your plant propagation endeavors. Remember, successful plant propagation is a combination of science and art. By employing research-backed techniques and fostering a nurturing environment, you can witness the magic of new life springing forth from seemingly simple cuttings, transforming your gardening journey into a rewarding experience.