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How to Easily Start Geraniums from Cuttings

Not only are geraniums easy to maintain and grow, but they are also simple to propagate. Today I’m sharing some gardening tips to help you start your own geranium plants from healthy stem cuttings.

Annual geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, are one of my favorite flowers to add to garden planters, flower containers, and window boxes for a pretty pop of color.

I used to spend hundreds of dollars each year to fill flower pots throughout my garden. Growing new starts from the geranium cuttings of my existing geranium plants is such a great way to save money every growing season.

how to start geranium cuttings: pink geraniums in greenhouse

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how to start geranium cuttings: geranium starts in greenhouse

How Geraniums Grow from Cuttings

A geranium stem cutting can turn into a flower-producing plant through the process of vegetative propagation.

The cutting is essentially a clone of the parent plant and has the potential to develop roots, grow into a mature plant, and eventually produce flowers when provided with the right conditions and care.

geraniums in greenhouse

How to Take Clippings from Geraniums

Geraniums are considered perennials in zones 10-11 but will grow annually and overwinter indoors in other hardiness zones.

Technically, you can take cuttings any time of year. But with that said, it is still better to wait until the blooming cycle is at its slowest, during the dormant period, to get the best results.

1. Gather Your Supplies

Get together the materials you’ll need to take cuttings from geranium plants. You will need the following:

how to start geranium cuttings: geranium cutting

2. Choose Healthy Stems to Cut

To get started, select a healthy, mature geranium plant that is free of disease and with strong stems and vibrant leaves.

The stems should have at least 2 healthy leaves and be about 4-6 inches long.

cutting a geranium start

3. How to Start Geranium Cuttings

Be sure to use a sharp knife or pair of garden pruners that are clean.

To start geraniums from cuttings, carefully snip a 3-4 inch cutting just below a leaf node of the geranium stem off of the geranium parent plant. This will encourage new growth in the mother plant.

Cut at an angle to allow more surface area for moisture absorption.

Remove any leaves, flowering stems, and scales from the lower half of the cuttings to reduce moisture loss and encourage root growth.

container with soil

Planting Geranium Cuttings

Now that you’ve selected the main stem for your geranium start, here’s a look at how to plant your cutting.

1. Use a Clean Container

If you are planting your geranium starts in individual pots, use a small option with drainage holes. You can also use a larger 5″ container to plant several geraniums together in the same container.

It’s important to clean your pots before planting your new plants. I use hot and soapy water, with a touch of bleach. Rinse and air dry before using.

2. Fill the Pot With Moist Soil

After selecting a pot with drainage holes, fill it with moist quality potting soil.

I use a seed starting compost as well because it provides the correct mixture of moisture, nutrients, and oxygen that the new cuttings need to establish roots.

how to start geranium cuttings: geranium cutting

3. Determine Whether to Use Hormone Rooting Powder

The wonderful thing about geraniums is how easy they are to root.

Dipping the end of the geranium cutting start into the rooting hormone is optional. Some professional gardeners suggest NOT using hormone-rooting powders, because they can cause root rot.

Other geranium propagation methods are dipping the stems in honey, or vitamin C and water solutions.

I did an experiment last year, where I dipped half my geranium cuttings in honey and half with nothing. Both plant starts rooted exactly at the same rate. I do not use anything when planting my cutting.

geraniums in container

4. Plant the Geranium Cuttings

After making a hole using your finger or a dibbler, insert the geranium cutting into the pot of well-drained but moist soil about an inch deep. Gently press down around the stem to secure it into place. Loosely fill the hole around the stem.

If you are planting several geranium cuttings together in one container, make sure you remove any dead leaves and plants that start to turn brown and unhealthy. This will keep the diseased geranium cutting from spreading to other plants.

Be sure to label the plants so you know the variety and color when it comes time to transplant them into the garden.

how to start geranium cuttings:

5. Water and Choose a Location

Water the soil until it’s moist but not saturated.

Provide good light and a warm setting while the new geranium plant starts to establish roots. Place the new plant in a warm spot or near a sunny window to get filtered light but not direct sunlight.

Be sure to keep the geraniums in a space that doesn’t freeze. I keep my cuttings in my heated greenhouse at a temperature of no less than 45°F.

how to start geranium cuttings:

6. Place on Heating Mat

Although this is optional, your geranium cuttings will benefit from the warmth underneath a heating mat if you can. This will help the new roots grow more quickly and there is a higher success rate when using heat.

I don’t put a humidity dome lid over the new geraniums as the roots are prone to rotting in high humidity.

how to start geranium cuttings: white geranium cutting with established roots
Here is a picture of what the geranium start looks like after a month or so.

How to Care for Geranium Cuttings

This section will go over watering needs, and how long it takes to establish roots and transplant them to the garden.

When Water Your Geranium Plant Starts

Watering your geranium plant starts is a crucial aspect of their care, and finding the right balance is key to their healthy development.

Geraniums prefer to be kept slightly on the drier side rather than overwatered. You should water them thoroughly when the top inch or so of the soil feels dry to the touch.

The frequency of watering can vary depending on factors such as the temperature, humidity, and the type of pot or container you’re using. In hot and dry conditions, you may need to water more often, potentially every 2-3 days, while in cooler and more humid environments, watering every 5-7 days could suffice.

It’s important to avoid letting your geraniums sit in standing water, as they are susceptible to root rot. To prevent overwatering, ensure proper drainage in your pots or containers and always water at the base of the plant, avoiding wetting the leaves.

How Long Does it Take Before Transplanting?

You should notice new growth from the cuttings between 6-8 weeks, and sometimes as early as a month. It’s easy to check for roots. Pull on the stem to feel if the roots are holding in place.

Transplant the geranium cuttings into larger pots once they have established strong root systems for a healthy plant.

geraniums and seedlings hardening off on deck in spring

Planting Geranium Cuttings in the Garden

You’ve started your new geranium cuttings and they have now established roots. Now you’re ready to plant them in the garden. Here are some steps to make that happen.

Harden Off Your Starts

First, resist the urge to transplant your newly rooted geranium plants in the garden until they are hardened off.

You can start hardening off your young plants once the winter months have passed and any risk of frost has passed.

Remember that these cuttings, along with the mother plants, have been sheltered from the cold and the wind, and will need to acclimate to the outdoor conditions before being planted outside the greenhouse or your warm home.

geraniums in container

Moving Geraniums to the Garden

  • The best time to move geraniums to your garden is in the spring after the danger of frost has passed and the weather has warmed up.
  • Before transplanting, make sure your garden soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter. Select a sunny or partially shaded spot for your geraniums, as they thrive in sunlight.
  • When moving your new geranium plants, gently remove them from their pots, taking care not to damage the roots.
  • Dig a hole in the garden soil that is the same depth as the pot the geranium was growing in and twice as wide. Place the geranium in the hole, backfill it with soil, and tamp it down gently.
  • Water thoroughly after transplanting to help settle the soil and provide moisture to the newly planted geraniums.
  • Be sure to space them about 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation.

Established Geranium Plants

Pinch out the growing tips of your more established, mother plants, to grow bushier and better shaped. This will also ensure more flowers to enjoy through the summer and will promote more growth from below.

Read more about overwintering geraniums in my blog post 4 Easy Ways to Overwinter Geraniums.

how to start geranium cuttings:

Common Questions About How to Start Geraniums from Cuttings

Will Geranium Cuttings Root in Water?

Yes, geranium cuttings can root in a jar of water, but it’s not the most reliable method for propagating them. While many other plants root well in water, geraniums tend to root more successfully in a well-draining potting mix or soil.

Is it Better to Root Geranium Cuttings in Water or Soil?

It is generally better to root geranium cuttings in soil or a well-draining potting mix rather than water for more consistent and successful results. While rooting geranium cuttings in water is possible, it may not be as reliable, and the resulting roots can be weaker compared to those grown in soil. Here’s why rooting in soil is often a preferred method:

  • Faster Root Development
  • Healthier Roots
  • Reduced Risk of Disease
  • Easier Transition
pink geraniums in the greenhouse

Where Should I Store Geranium Cuttings?

Properly storing geranium cuttings is essential to ensure their successful propagation.

Your geranium cuttings should be placed in an area with bright, indirect light, as direct sunlight can be too harsh and potentially harm them.

Adequate air circulation is also crucial to prevent mold or fungal issues. Be sure to use clean, sterile containers or trays to hold the cuttings, and avoid letting them sit in standing water.

Geraniums are tender perennials that tolerate temperatures of 45°F or higher, and temperatures between 55°-65°F are ideal when growing geraniums indoors.

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‘Growing a Cut Flower Garden’ Series

How Do You Use Honey as a Rooting Hormone?

Dip the cut end of each geranium cuttings into the honey, ensuring that the cut surface is coated with a thin layer of honey.

The honey acts as a natural rooting hormone and provides antimicrobial properties to protect the cutting.

white geranium cutting with established roots

How Long Does it Take for Geraniums Cuttings to Root?

You should usually see root development in 6-8 weeks, but it can sometimes be as short as a month. The amount of time can depend on the conditions of the soil and the temperature.

Where do you Cut Geraniums to Root Them?

Take a 4-6 inch cutting from a healthy geranium stem, just below a leaf node.

Should Geranium Cuttings be Covered?

Although many gardeners cover their geranium cuttings, I avoid covering them with a humidity dome. Geranium roots are prone to rotting in high humidity.

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions on how to start new geraniums from cuttings. It’s an easy way to save money on buying new geraniums every year.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these gardening tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!

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6 Comments

  1. Wondering when to start fertilizing geranium cuttings and the NPP numbers. Had read somewhere that cuttings under grow lights could use a diluted mixture during the winter months.

  2. Great post Kim! I pulled a few geraniums before the first frost this year and will try to grow more from the mother plants in the sunroom.

  3. U didn’t mention if I can get roots started by just putting in a glass of water.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. I’m so sorry it took me so long to answer your question. Yes, you can absolutely root your geranium start in the water. I have never seen it, but I have seen several articles that say it works.

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