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.
I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that have worked for me personally.
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.
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, in order 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:
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.
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.
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 personally 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.
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 personally do not use anything when planting my cutting.
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.
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.
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 personally do not put a humidity dome lid over the new geraniums as the roots are prone to rotting in high humidity.
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.
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.
Moving Geraniums to the Garden
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.
Frequently Asked 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:
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 actually tender perennials that tolerate temperatures of 45°F or higher, and temperatures between 55°-65°F are ideal when growing geraniums indoors.
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.
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 personally 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 really 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,
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