Vibrant geranium flowers are popular with home gardeners and add color to window boxes, borders and beds. There are three types: hardy cranesbill (Geranium spp.), hanging ivy (Pelargonium peltatum) and garden geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum). Have you tried taking cuttings from your geraniums? In this article we will look at growing new plants by taking cuttings from existing specimens. This is an easy way to propagate geraniums, and it’s worth it to have more of this gorgeous flower!
Table of Contents
Preparing a cutting
The best time to take cuttings is during the growing season, when the plant is newly sprouting and before it forms buds. If you’re growing garden geraniums as annuals, take cuttings in the fall, before the plants fade, so you’ll have fresh new plants in the spring. Here’s how:
- Choose a strong stem with healthy leaves. Avoid recent, weak growth and older, woody stems, as well as those with discolored or damaged foliage.
- Use clean, sharp scissors or a fine blade to cut through a stem.
- Make the cut just below a leaf node and four to six inches from the stem tip.
- Cut off the lower foliage, leaving two or three leaves at the tip, so you have three to four inches of bare stem. Remove any flower or leaf buds, as they may divert energy from root development.
Propagate geraniums in water
- Place the stem in a clean, clear jar or container that is four to six inches deep.
- Fill the jar with enough water to cover the main stem, but not enough to touch the leaves.
- Place the plant on a sunny windowsill in a location that maintains an average temperature of 18-24°C.
- Change the water daily to keep it fresh. After about four weeks, roots should form at the bottom of the stem.
Rooting in potting soil
An alternative method is to use a sterile potting medium instead of water.
- Choose a clean container with good drainage holes that is ten to 15 inches deep.
- Fill the container with potting soil to about 2 inches below the rim. If desired, you can dip the cut end of the stem in powdered rooting hormone.
- Make a hole and insert the stem into the potting soil, pushing it down enough to cover all the places where the leaves were removed, as roots will form from these leaf nodes.
- Press the potting soil firmly around the stem to anchor it.
- Water thoroughly and put it in a place with an average temperature of 18-24° C and bright sunlight. If you wish, you can use a heating mat and a grow light.
- Keep the planting substrate slightly moist, but don’t let it get wet or dry out completely.
Some people build a mini-greenhouse for a cutting by putting a clear plastic bag over the pot. This is a clever way to maintain the required ambient temperature and humidity. If you choose to use this method, be careful not to seal the bag or expose the plant to direct sunlight or it may overheat.
Transplanting the cuttings
Once you see roots or new shoots on the stems in the growing medium through the clear container, you know your cuttings are doing well. When the roots are an inch or two long or you see new leaf growth on your potted cuttings, you can begin acclimating them to the outdoors, a process called hardening off. If you harvested the cuttings in the fall, you should wait until there is no danger of frost.
Put the plants outside for a few hours each day for a week. Put them in a sheltered place first and then gradually move them outdoors . Skip any days when bad weather is predicted. At the end of the week, it is time to complete the propagation process by planting the rooted and germinated cuttings in the garden. So easy to propagate geraniums by cuttings!