Propagating geraniums by taking cuttings is an easy way to multiply your plants and an ideal plant to clone.
Once you master the basics of propagating geraniums, no geranium plant will be safe from your garden pruner!
Ivy-leaved Geraniums were the first plants I learned how to propagate and I remember asking, "Why isn't everyone doing this?"
You probably have a geranium in your garden right now that you can practice your cloning chops with.
If not, take a walk around the block and when you spot one you like, ask your neighbor for permission and take a cutting!
Why Propagate Your Own Plants?
The garden centers are full of affordable, eye catching plants these days.
Why multiply your own plants?
If you have a favorite or nostalgic plant that isn't produced anymore and isn't patented- cuttings are an ideal way to make more plants!
Best of all, it's free.
Watch the Video: "How to Turn One Geranium into Many Geraniums: Gardens of the Rich and Famous"
For those of you who like to watch my "how-to" videos, here's one that's short, informative, and entertaining.
I promise you'll remember every step!
My husband did, and he's not a gardener.
Not even close!
I'm their gardening expert.
Materials For Geranium Propagation
- Sanitized hand pruner or scissors
- Small pots
- Sterile, lightweight potting soil
- Spray bottle for watering your cuttings
- Rooting hormone to stimulate root growth
- Plastic zip loc or storage bags to use as "mini-greenhouse"
- A healthy "mother plant" to take cuttings from
Steps For Propagating Geraniums
1. Select a healthy geranium plant that will act as the "mother plants" from which all new plants will come from.
It's all about the genes, so go ahead and discriminate!
Look for sturdy stems, green leaves, robust flowers and avoid plants that are diseased or infested with pests.
It's best to identify your mother plant while it's in flower so that you know what to expect from it- your plant will be a clone!
2. Take cuttings.
You will need to cut a stem that is between four to six inches long.
Take your cuttings early in the day, morning is ideal because of mild temperatures.
Cutting a plant during the hottest part of the day can magnify stress in a plant.
Remember, you are extracting a living entity from it's life source and creating a new home for it!
Make it comfortable transition!
Short geranium stem
Cut your geranium stem at a 45-degree angle, directly below a node.
Illustration of node on a plant stem
A node is a swelling along the stem where leaves emerge from.
The new roots of your geranium plant will grow beneath the node, so make sure to make a clean cut.
3. Remove the lower leaves from the stem and any flowers or buds along the top.
Lower leaves are vulnerable to rotting since they may come in contact with the soil.
Flowers and buds should be removed in order for your new plant to concentrate on growing roots and not to maintain flowers!
Three or four leaves should be retained along the top of the stem for photosynthesis and to support the growing cycle.
Rooting hormone for stem cuttings
4. Dip the bottom of your stem into rooting hormone.
Some gardeners argue that rooting hormone is not necessary for success in cloning geraniums, but I find that it gives new plants a "fighting chance."
Dip the bottom 1/4 inch of the stem into rooting hormone and dust off the excess powder.
Too much rooting hormone can damage a young plant.
Less is more.
Geranium cuttings in pots
5. Insert your cuttings into a small pot that is filled with pre-moistened lightweight, sterile potting soil.
Bury the part of the stem that has rooting hormone on it.
It's vital that the soil be moist for the cuttings to prevent wilting.
Misting bottle for cuttings
6. Mist your cuttings!!
During the first few weeks of the growing period, mist your plants daily so that they don't dry out.
Avoid using a watering can- the force of the water stream can dislodge plants.
Protect your cuttings from evaporation!
It's the cause of death for many new plants.
Zip loc bag as a mini greenhouse!
7. Cover your cutting pots with a plastic bag.
Oh, the joy of repurposing materials for the garden!
Zip loc bags are a great substitute for mini-greenhouses and for maintaining warm temperatures and moist environments for your new plants.
New plants can't take up water like mature plants do, because they lack roots.
It's the job of the propagator to provide a protective environment within the mini- greenhouse walls.
Take care that the bag doesn't "collapse" on the plants, prop it up with stakes if necessary.
8. Place your cuttings in a bright, sunny spot, but avoid direct sunlight!
Temperature plays an important role in plant growth and root formation.
Ideal soil temperatures for rooting plants is between 70 to 75 degrees.
Difussed sunlight is best as the sun's rays are intensified under the plastic and may scorch the plant.
Find a draft-free area and avoid wind tunnels or you're sure to send your plants flying!
9. Check your cuttings every day for the next few weeks!
You will be looking for moist soil and for any pests that may have invaded the mini greenhouse.
It shouldn't take more than a minute to mist your plants and move them to a new location if necessary.
Wait Actively For Your New Plants!
Indulge yourself in the wonder of life as you witness tiny nodes swell, new leaves emerge and threadlike roots start to form on your new plant!
You'll be transformed into a proud plant parent!
Propagating plants is a rewarding hobby.
Within four to six weeks, you will have a new plant that is capable of living outside of it's "incubator!"
This is the amount of time needed for the plant to grow roots and sustain itself.
You'll know that your plant has formed roots when you gently tug at it and you feel resisitance!
Transplant your baby plant into a larger pot or add it to a mixed container with other plants!
Shirley, gardening expert on the new, "Gardens of the Rich and Famous" show on Digs Channel, Youtube
You're on your way to becoming a plant propagator!
If you're ready for more plant propagating adventure, read my other blog posts and watch my gardening videos:
Don't be shy!
Visit EdenMakers blog often for all things garden design, makeovers and gardening basics.
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