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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.