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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cottage Living - How to Propagate Geraniums from Cuttings

For several years now I've been propagating geraniums from cuttings. 




It all began when a big wind storm in the middle of the night broke off a large stem from an outdoor potted geranium. I couldn't bear to throw away the damaged stem, so I did a quick search online and learned how to propagate geraniums from cuttings. What began as an urgent experiment to save part of a plant swiftly became a successful way for me to get a plethora of geraniums at almost no expense.

I grow them all year long. This photo of my pink geranium in our kitchen garden window was taken in February. It began as a small cutting.




These red geraniums are currently in the same garden window. They're all from cuttings.




Recently a reader named Betty commented on the Spring Fling Bazaar post where I showed some of the geraniums I took to sell at the bazaar:


Could I ask a favor of you? I've been trying for years
 to have success with growing geraniums from 
cuttings with no success. If you have the time 
in the future could you post how you do it 
from start to finish.....lighting the cuttings need etc. 
Thank you. 

I told Betty I would be happy to do so, and while starting some new cuttings this week I snapped step-by-steps photos to share with you. So, Betty, I hope you're tuning in today so you can see the entire process.

Before I continue, let me say that I am not a geranium expert. I'm not a Master Gardener nor anything close. There are differing opinions on how to start geraniums. This is only how I do it. You may do it differently. The how isn't important to me, it's the final outcome I care about. This way works for me.

1. Find a stem that has new growth on it.





2. Cut the stem just below the node.



This is what the cut piece looks like.


And here it is after I removed the lower leaves.






3. Dip the end of the stem in water.






4. Then dip the wet end in rooting powder and just swish it around until the end is fully covered. (Some people say this step -- dipping in rooting powder -- isn't necessary for geraniums, but this is how I do it and I've never lost a plant.)



There are different brands of rooting powder. These are two I have in my potting shed at the moment, and they both work fine. I'm sure any other brand would work as well.





5. Tap the end of the stem on the side of the bowl to get off the excess powder.






6. Push the cutting into a soil-filled pot with about a 1/4" of stem -- below the leaves -- exposed. I use Miracle-gro potting soil since that's what I always have on hand. 

Update: Apparently, I didn't explain this step very well because there's confusion over how deep the cutting is planted. There's close to 2" of stem buried. The 1/4" I refer to is above the soil, between the soil and the crown of the geranium.






7. Water.






8. Set near a sunny window. My potting shed doubles as a greenhouse with windows that face east, south and west. Any of those locations work. In the house I use east and south facing windows. The sunnier the better.


Water only when the soil starts to feel dry. 

That's it. Pretty simple.

Before I sign off I want to thank AnnMarie of the blog Musings of a Vintage Junkie for her A Sweet Gift to Myself post she did last week about my new online shop and her experience with purchasing one of my collages. It really was so very sweet of you, AnnMarie. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.













28 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post. I've often wondered how to root geraniums. I usually have them on the front porch in the summer.

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  2. Great post Nancy . . .
    I just might have to "root a few."
    I like the pretty pink geraniums . . .

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  3. Interesting!

    I did not know about rooting powder. I lost a plant (not geranium) that I wish I had tried this with!

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    1. Hi Sandi. Rooting powder helps the roots develop. As I mentioned, some say it's not necessary with geraniums, but I still use it. Just make sure if you do use rooting powder that you pour out a small amount of the powder into a separate container (I use a little bowl) -- you won't need much -- and discard whatever you don't use. This will minimize spreading possible plant diseases to future cuttings. Good luck!

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  4. My mother liked geraniums but I have never been a fan. My husband loved starting plants from cuttings. As I said before, I am not fond of gardening but love seeing the results. Sure miss the tomatoes my husband grew. Hard to find a good tasting tomatoe in the stores. Blessings to you Nancy.

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  5. Hello Nancy! Now that was very easy information to follow and to give a try. I simply can't wait to get outside and PLAY! I so love the pink geraniums. Let me ask you this: how do you keep them fluffy and healthy during the summer months? Whenever I've had any, they never last.

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    1. Hi Anita,

      I use Miracle-Gro plant food every 7-10 days in the summer. When flower buds show I switch to Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster for more flowers. I pinch back new leaf growth to force leaves on the bottom of the plant. This will keep them from getting leggy. I also deadhead diligently. As soon as the flower starts to fade I cut it off from the main stem. This produces more flowers. Hope this helps.

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  6. Hi...I do the same thing with hydrangea..works great..I cut them in the fall..an baby them through winter an they're ready for spring planting..I hope you share some photos later this summer of you gardens..I was really amazed at how filled out they were last summer..the whole landscape was just beautiful..I'm sure the neighbors must love it too..Have a Fabulous weekend.!

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    1. Hi Wende. I will, indeed, be sharing photos of my gardens. Be careful what you ask for, though, you may get sick of seeing all the photos on my blog! LOL

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  7. Yea, the mystery is solved! I have been wanting to do this forever. I have heard of keeping the whole plant in the dark all winter but that never worked for me. This is easy enough to do and I just love red geraniums. It is so sad when a stem breaks. I gasped when I saw your thank you to me at the end....so thank you!

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  8. Thank you Nancy! Not only am I tuned in today but I tune in everyday......just in case! : ) Saving up for one of your items for sale. Have a great day!

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    1. And thanks to you, Betty, for suggesting this as a post. It looks like it's beneficial to other readers, as well. The best thing about gardening is sharing with others, just as the best thing about blogging is building relationships. All the best to you and yours.

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  9. I have never done that! It looks like a pretty simple process. I may try at the end of the season when I usually throw away my plants in the Fall. Maybe I can keep a couple of new growing plants indoors. Or maybe I should do it right away in the Spring?

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    1. Hi Angela,

      According to what I've read online, early spring and late summer are supposedly the best times, but any time in spring, summer and early fall will result in healthy cuttings. Early cuttings will flower that summer, while later cuttings will provide larger plants ready to flower the following summer. Hope this helps.

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  10. This isn't so timely and just the inspiration I needed today Nancy. Plants are sooooo expensive and anything to save money is a winner in my book.

    Just one thing if I may ask...I read #6 a few times but still don't understand. Are you saying to put the stem of the cutting into the soil 1/4"? That would seem like it wouldn't be able to stand upright with such a small amount in the soil. Did I misunderstand?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Doreen. Thanks for the question. The 1/4" is the amount of stem that's above the soil. There's probably 1" - 1 1/2" below the soil. If you look at the second photo in step #2 you will see the entire length of the stem. Most of that stem is buried. I hope this helps clear up the misunderstanding. Please don't hesitate to ask more questions, if needed. I want this to be clear.

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  11. Thank you Nancy so much! I've wanted to do this also for a long time. I'm not good at propagating things it seems. I tried starting some rhododendrons from cuttings last year but they all died. I did just what you did with the geraniums. I too am a little stumped on #6... how far are you actually pushing the stem into the soil? Is it just 1/4" inch? and then I went and looked at where the stems were, and maybe it's more like 2 or 3 inches? Was not sure on that. I LOVE pink geraniums the most so will plan to get a couple this June and then do some cuttings during the summer. Trouble is.. we don't have ANY good south facing windows. We have two that face east for the morning sun only, but our 3 cats always jump up on the windowsills and would knock plants over I'm afraid. I need to figure out a way to remedy that! Oh for a little play greenhouse... what fun that would be! It's my "dream".

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    1. Hi Marilyn. Only 1/4" of the stem is above the soil. The rest is planted, and that is about 1" - 2".

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  12. Nancy, Thank you so much. If this works for you and it seems to be...I will do it this way. I love geraniums. Yours looks great. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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  13. Oh, how pretty! I don't have much of a green thumb, but you make it look so easy! Thank you, sweet friend. :)

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  14. Beautiful flowers and thank you because I learned something new I didnt know about planting things, and thanks Betty for asking her that.

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    1. There's always something new to learn with gardening. :)

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  15. This is very timely, Nancy, I had been thinking about adding geraniums in pots to my yard this year, but oh boy, they are pricey in my area. This looks like a great way to start slow and over the next few seasons grow my own at a fraction of the price! Thanks for the tip!! Hugs to you!

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  16. I was meant to visit your blog today...via Amalia, because I was just thinking about this very topic this morning on my way to work. I have wintered over 4 very large red geraniums for the past 3 years, and I was wondering about starting cuttings from them. I'm gonna try this today. Thanks for sharing! Aloha!

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  17. Hi Nancy,
    I give you an A+ on this tutorial. I will be pinning. Thank You!
    I have not used Rooting Powder? What is it?

    A side note, propagating was the number one thing all of my 11 classmates and I wanted to learn about in our class. :-) We did learn about apple grafting, propagating grapes, raspberries and we hope to do more during our last day of class, May 30th, also graduation night. :-))

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  18. Great post Nancy, thank you so much. I just cut off a piece of that I want to start and stick in so dirt and it grows.

    Great DIY = have a wonderful rest of the week. Your plants look wonderful.

    Mary

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  19. I love geraniums, their gorgeous blooms are always some of my favorite flowers in my garden. Thank you for sharing your tips on how to propagate them! I have done this many times with ivies and had great success, but have not tried it with geraniums. Now that I have my own little potting shed, I shall have to give this a try! :)

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