How To Take Geranium Cuttings And See Them Flourish

Growing plants from cuttings is a popular method to make your garden bigger and better! Take roses for example! And now take it one step further! Geranium plants are a popular choice when considering garden ideas due to their versatility. For starters, geraniums can be grown anywhere, either outdoors as part of your garden bedding plants or even as indoor houseplants. There are various types of geranium, but the ones most accessible are known as pelargoniums and can be grown in hanging plant baskets, containers and even raised garden beds or soiled ground. 

Pink geranium on old stairs

What’s more is that they do not require much maintenance to bud into a lush, flowering plant. After all, don’t we all hate it when our plants begin to wilt and die due to negligence? Let’s get down to how to take and start your geranium cuttings properly.

Why Grow Geraniums from Cuttings?

There are two ways to grow your geranium; through pelargonium cuttings or seeds. Both methods give you upright and healthy plants. However, zonal geraniums (i.e. those which are gown through cuttings) have several advantages as they are chosen from existing plants with specific genetic properties. 

Geranium cuttings grow and bloom faster, producing bigger leaves. Seed geraniums are a smaller, more compact version that shed their petals naturally in strong winds or when it rains. This often results in the plant remaining flowerless for some time.

On the contrary, growing new plants from cuttings produce large flowers, which have to be removed down to the end of their stalk. A sharp knife is typically used in the process, and sometimes, you can even find double flowers.

But that’s not all; you can overwinter your cuttings. This means during colder months of the year, you can dig up and store your plants for spring. If you have pelargonium variations, you are in luck, as they can grow all year round

Still not convinced? You can choose cuttings from geraniums you like. When your plant’s flowers bloom, they are sure to be the ones you had desired all along. This is also a less expensive way to expand your collection of houseplants. 

Taking Geranium Plant Cuttings

Taking cuttings is pretty simple. You can propagate your geranium or perhaps, ask a friend for a cutting to expand your collection. Let’s jump right in.

Beautiful geranium in a pot

1. Identify the Mother Plant 

The most critical step of taking your geranium is identifying which geranium you want your fresh plants to look like.

Closely observe your options, looking for things like a sturdy stem, bright green leaves and full-bloom flowers in different colours. But beware: check the plant for pest infestations or plant diseases beforehand.

Remember, your plant will be an identical genetic clone of your chosen parent plant. For this reason, we recommend identifying which plant you would like to use while it is flowering.

2. Tools and Equipment You Will Need

After you decide on your parent plant, it’s time to get cutting. To be able to do this, you need a few essential tools. If you love gardening, you should have most of these already.

A sharp knife or pruning scissors are ideal for the propagation of the cuttings. You will also need small pots or containers to place them in. Old yoghurt pots are a great recyclable option. 

Next, you need a stimulant to encourage fresh plant roots to grow. There are various rooting hormones and powders available which give your plant a better chance at survival. 

Lightweight potting soil or seed compost is needed to plant the cuttings in. Alternatively, you can also use a potting mix which eliminates the risk of fungus and other plant diseases. 

Geranium plant with stimulator powder ,gloves and knife

3. Cutting Geranium Properly

We’ve broken this down into smaller steps to help you get the perfect cutting for your collection. Let’s dive right in: 

  1. Identify the point where one of the leaves meets the stem. This is known as the leaf joint, and it looks like a circular leaf node growing on the stem. 
  2. Cut your chosen mother plant on the main stem, above the leaf joint, at a 45-degree angle. 
  3. Trim your cutting to shorten it up to just below the joint at a 45-degree angle. Your cutting should be between 10-15 cm in length. Short cuttings produce healthier plants that grow fast.
  4. Using a knife or planting scissors, snip off the lower leaves. These are more prone to rotting as they come in direct contact with your soil for potting of choice. Be sure to leave a few leaves on the top of the stem to encourage photosynthesis and growth. 
  5. Remove any flowers and buds as well to promote the growth of new roots further.  They can direct much-needed energy away from the root. 

Try to keep them clean as your cuttings will grow roots under the joint of the leaf at the end of the stem

How to Propagate Geranium Cuttings

Now that you have successfully got your cutting, it’s time for propagation so that new growth can begin. This method is also called rooting.

Rooting Your Cuttings

Depending on the ease and materials available, you can use water or sterile potting soil to root your plant stem

Geranium plants standing in water for growth

If you decide to use water:

  1. Choose a transparent jar deep enough to fit the entire stem.
  2. Place your cutting in the pot.
  3. Fill with enough water to cover the stem, avoiding the leaves. 

Alternatively, you can use soil or potting mix.

  1. Choose a small pot or container, 10-15 cm in depth, to fit the stem effectively. If the container doesn’t have drainage holes, be sure to add a few.
  2. Begin the process by filling up the container with soil, leaving an inch and a half exposed at the rim.
  3. Dip the end of your stem in rooting powder or hormone. This step is optional but encouraged as it helps promote root growth and stimulation
  4. Make a hole in the soil and place the cutting into it, pushing deep enough to cover the spots where the lower leaves were removed. The exposed leaf nodes are where the roots will form.
  5. After positioning, firm the potting soil or medium encompassing the stem to anchor it into the pot

Place your container of choice at a windowsill where your plant can get ample amounts of direct sunlight. The ideal temperature for roots to grow is between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius. 

If you chose to pot your cutting in soil, keep it lightly moistened at all times. If you allow it to become too soggy or dried out, your cutting could wilt or die. Use a misting spray bottle rather than a watering can to avoid dislodging your geranium.

DIY Mini Greenhouse

Excessive evaporation into the environment is a crucial reason why most new plants don’t grow. If you potted your cuttings in soil, you could create your own miniature greenhouse to prevent this.

Colorful geraniums growing in a greenhouse

Zip loc or small plastic bags are great at creating a similar atmosphere to that a greenhouse creates. They do so by maintaining warmth and moisture, which is ideal for fresh plant growth.

To do it yourself, flip the bag upside down and cover the top of the plant with it. Please make sure not to overwater soil beforehand, or it could result in a rotting root. 

Heated propagators are devices that work similarly in regulating temperatures and moisture. If you live in a colder climate, a heated propagator is a great way to protect your germinating sprout during extra cold days. It sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?  

How to Know it Worked?

When you see roots through your clear container or new sprouts growing along the stem, your cuttings are growing into a plant

After growing 3-5 cm in length, or if you notice flowers budding, you can start preparing your geraniums to be moved outdoors, if desired.

Transplanting and Acclimating

Begin the process by leaving your pelargonium outside for a few hours every day. Start by picking a spot in a shaded area, gradually moving them closer to direct sunlight

Be sure to skip any days where the weather is too hot or stormy. After a week of acclimating, you can transplant your rooted sprout into your garden bedding or an outdoor plant hanger. 

Care tips for your Geranium Plant

Congratulations! You should have successfully grown your very own geranium by this point. But, it doesn’t end here. 

Woman cutting defected leaves and taking care of geranium plants

Caring for your plant is essential to prolong its life. Here are a few gardening tips you can follow to do so:

  1. Sometimes, it’s alright for your soil to dry out to an extent. If you notice this happening, water your geranium thoroughly.
  2. Water your geranium less during winter. Plants do not grow as much during colder months and therefore require less energy.
  3. Remove dead, wilted flowers and leaves regularly to encourage growth and blooming.
  4. To encourage thick bushes and less leggy stems, cut back stems that have turned woody and pinch back healthy ones. 
  5. Use fertiliser, plant food or compost every alternate week during its active growth phase to boost further.
  6. Don’t be afraid to re-pot if your plants look like they need refreshing. Re-potting during spring encourages new growth as well. 

Common Pests and Diseases 

While geranium is a reliable plant known to be versatile, pests and diseases can become a problem from time to time. 

Pink geranium flower

Insects like caterpillars and moths are known to leave holes in pelargonium leaves. Greenfly and sciarid black flies are pests that are known to damage your plants. Sciardid flies target the plant’s root and are prone to the ones with fertiliser or compost. Insecticide can quickly eliminate the threat posed by these pests if sprayed thoroughly. 

Identifying plant diseases is also pretty simple as the leaves have visible brown marks that resemble rust or grey mould. Remove the damaged part of the plant to prevent these from spreading. Move your plants into a space of open ventilation and use a fungicide to combat mould.

In short, geranium cuttings are an effective and affordable way to add colour and variety to your indoor plants. We hope this advice encourages you to begin your gardening journey and give it a go! Who would have thought that taking cuttings would be so easy after all?

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