How to take cuttings from bedding geraniums

How to take geranium cuttings

Find out how to take cuttings from bedding geraniums, for fresh plants to grow on next year.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Bedding geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, are easily propagated from cuttings. Taking geranium cuttings can not only help you increase your stock of geraniums, but also insure against winter losses. You can also take cuttings to give to friends and family as gifts.

Taking cuttings in summer will give you flowering geraniums the following year. Both regal and zonal geraniums can be propagated from cuttings. Regal geraniums take longer to root so get started on these, first, before moving on to zonal types.

When to take geranium cuttings

You can take geranium cuttings at any time of year, but you’ll probably have more success in summer, when there’s plenty of light and warmth. If taking cuttings at other times of year it’s a good idea to use a heated propagator and grow lamp to increase your chances of success.

Do geranium cuttings root in water?

Geranium cuttings do root in water, but the success rate is lower than if you root them into compost. Cuttings in water can go slimy and you’ll need to change the water regularly to keep it fresh. Once roots have developed you’ll then need to pot the cuttings into compost, so you’re not saving any time by rooting them in water first.

Monty Don’s guide to taking geranium cuttings

Here, Monty Don explains how to take geranium cuttings.

  • He demonstrates why it’s better to make short cuttings than long cuttings
  • He strips leaves from the cuttings and explains why this is necessary
  • He explains why a gritty compost is best for taking cuttings and what his compost is made with
  • He identifies the best place to store your cuttings for the greatest chance of success, and explains why

You Will Need

  • Pelargonium plant
  • 7.5cm plastic pots
  • Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
  • Sharp sand
  • Secateurs or a sharp knife
  • Hormone rooting powder, Optional

Step 1

Cut healthy, squat and fat stems from the mother plant just above a leaf joint on the main stem. Aim for a cutting around 10cm long.

Taking pelargonium cuttings
Cutting a geranium stem above a leaf joint

Step 2

Remove flower buds and lower leaves from the bottom half of each cutting and cut the stem just below a node, where there is a concentration of the plant’s own hormones.

Removing leaves from the pelargonium cuttings
Removing leaves from the geranium stem

Step 3

To improve success rates, you may want to dip the base of each cutting in a small amount of rooting hormone. This can stimulate root growth but isn’t strictly necessary.

Dipping pelargonium cuttings into hormone rooting powder
Dipping geranium cuttings into hormone rooting powder

Step 4

Fill pots with peat-free compost mixed with sharp sand to aid drainage. Insert two or three cuttings around the edge of each pot. Water the compost and stand pots in a well-lit position, indoors. Do not cover the pots, as this can encourage mildew to develop on the leaves. Keep the compost moist to aid root growth.

Inserting pelargonium cuttings into compost
Inserting pelargonium cuttings into compost

Step 5

After a few weeks, a corky callus will develop over the cut end of the stem and roots will begin to grow. A good root system will have developed within six to eight weeks.

Rooted pelargonium cutting
Rooted geranium cutting

Step 6

In March or April, knock each cutting out of the pot and transplant into individual pots of multi-purpose compost. Discard any that didn’t root as they can harbour disease. Keep each potted cutting well-watered and then plant out in spring, after all risk of frost has passed.

Potted pelargonium cutting
Potted geranium cutting