The willow trick is an old method... long before hormones were isolated. *You need a willow stick from an actively growing tree. *The stick produces auxin which is released into the water from the cut end.
On the sugar deal.. I would be REAL careful. *Sugar is food for many many organisms. *Watering your plants with sugar water is likely to do promote alot of bacteria and fungus growth in the potting mix. *If that doesn't cause an outright problem with pathogens attacking the plant as well then it will potentially cause a problem with breaking down the potting mix at a rapid rate. *Which could cause problems with the plant in another fashion.