How to Propagate Geraniums From Cuttings
Geraniums Are So Easy to Grow!
- If you are thinking that you don't exactly have a green thumb, you need to grow some geraniums, the absolute easiest, most beautiful flowers to grow and even if your thumb is orange, you can propagate these great flowers from cuttings.
- Long before Dolly the sheep was cloned, people were learning to "clone" plants, by propagating them from cuttings instead of seed. Growing a flower from a cutting guarantees that your plant will have the exact same characteristics as the "mother plant" from which the cutting was taken. And, let's face it, growing a flower from a seed is merely a crap shoot.
- All you need to do is buy one beautiful, healthy plant and as it grows, start taking cuttings off it and putting them in potting soil. Believe me, even it you want to kill a geranium, it will fight for its life till the bitter end, so don't let the lack of a green thumb bother you.
Choose Just the Right Mother Plant
- Picking the right mother plant is essential, so if you see a plant that has yellow leaves, someone has been watering it too much. You probably will have better luck finding a healthier plant at a nursery, rather than, say Wal-Mart, although Wal-Mart and Home Depot have been the source of many of my flowers. Look at it like you would look at purchasing a home...this might just be the one and only one you'll ever have to buy!
- As the mother plant begins to grow, you can start dividing it and transplanting it into different pots filled with potting soil. Most likely the plant you buy will be in a gallon-size pot, but to get the most plant for your money, I would purchase some small peat pots and start each cutting in one of those. Each cutting will be very small, so as it begins to root and the roots begin to fill the pot, you can plant the whole thing into a gallon pot. As it begins to fill the gallon pot, you simply continue the "divide and conquer" process.
How to Take the Cuttings and the Correct Tools to Use
- To take the cuttings, make sure you use a small, sharp knife that has been sterilized, cut off some new growth about 2-3 inches in length, dip the root end in some rooting hormone ( is what I use) and put it in some moist potting soil. (I like a combination of Miracle Grow Potting Soil, Peat Moss, and Perlite). Remember that line from the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come?" Well, "if you pot a geranium, it will grow." Miracle Gro FastRoot
- A geranium usually lives around 18-24 months, but because you are using cuttings to propagate your plants, you should never have to buy another plant for your garden. And, you'll probably end up with enough to furnish your friends' gardens. There are so many different colors and types of geraniums, if you bought one plant of each kind, this could turn into a lifelong project, or a very lucrative, easy and extremely fun business! In the spring, set some geraniums in pots out in front of your house with a "for sale" sign. If you have grown them and cared for them as instructed here, you probably won't be able to keep up with the constant demand for these gorgeous potted plants with spectacular, bright blooms.
- By the end of summer, if you only bought one plant, you should have several fully grown and beautifully blossoming plants from which to take your cuttings. I usually am able to divide one plant into about six full plants in one season, and that's an awful LOT of cuttings!
Tips to Help You Get Started Taking Cuttings the Correct Way!
Geraniums get pretty dry before they need watering again, so touch the soil and if it feels moist, you should wait a few more days before you water.
- You don't have to take your cuttings from the woody part ... take it from the newest growth. Cutting is a breeze.
- Do always use a rooting hormone—it gives you a slight head start on rooting.
- Once you plant a cutting, wait a few weeks and pull on it very lightly...if it offers resistance it is probably rooting just fine and you'll begin to see lots of new growth. Geraniums like a moist, humid environment. I like to use the bottom end of a two-liter cola bottle like a mini-greenhouse to help with humidity.
Continued Care of Your Geraniums
- Allow your plants to dry between waterings, then water thoroughly.
- During the winter you can water much less, but if you water too little, the roots could dry out, and that's not a good thing.
- Always deadhead the spent flowers.
- If you desire bushy plants, pinch the stems.
- During active growing months, fertilize every few weeks. Use a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. DO NOT FERTILIZE IN THE WINTER.
- I suggest you re-pot them every spring to keep them fresh looking.
It's Easier When You Can See it Being Done Correctly
© 2009 Mike and Dorothy McKenney