Amazing discovery for Zonal geranium cuttings

dowlinggramMarch 14, 2013

After many years of growing zonal geraniums from cuttings I made an amazing discovery. I took my cuttings as usual and laid them out on newspaper on my spare room floor to callus over for 5 days. Actually I forgot about them and they stayed there for a week.

I planted them using pro mix and rooting compound as usual. When I went to put them under the lights without rearranging things the only space was on the heating mat where I was starting seeds. Well I placed them there thinking I'd rearrange them later. They seemed to be doing OK on the mat so I just left them there. They did need a bit more watering but that was no problem.

To my amazement all 24 cuttings took and started sending out new growth. I never lost one cutting. When thinking about it fungal diseases like cold and wet and that bit of warmth kept the fungal disease blackleg away. So from now on that's the way I will do them.

It's never to late to teach an old dog new tricks. That's one of the things I like about gardening. No matter how long you are at it you can always learn new things or ways of doing them.

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mandolls(4)

I also learned recently that heat helps with rooting cuttings, more specifically begonias, but it makes sense that it is probably better for just about any cutting.

The laying out to callus is a new one to me. What is the purpose of that? Doesn't any leaf completely wilt in 5 days? Or are these not leaf/stem tip cuttings?

I now root everything in a 50/50 vermiculite/pearlite mix, in domed containers, and have much better luck than in any kind of soil that I have tried.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:42PM
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dowlinggram

Yes mandolis-- they are cutting from the growing tips of mature geraniums. The purpose of laying them out to callus over is to partly seal the end so the cutting can't take up as much moisture. It gets enough to send out roots but not excess moisture which can cause blackleg in geranium cuttings.

The leaves do wilt but at least some of the leaves on each cutting perk up once they are planted. I learned this trick from an expert gardener and it really works. I've been at this for years.

The first few years I ever did I didn't callus them over and I lost about half every time. Then I learned the trick of callusing them over and it cut down dramatically on my losses but I still lost a few. This year combined with lessons of the past I think I've finally found the secret of not losing any

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:32PM
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mandolls(4)

Thank you for explaining that. I am new to trying to propagate geraniums. I have a small group that I grew from seed this year, which is why I am doing some reading on this forum. I have made cuttings from a scented geranium with good results, but they may be the only geranium cuttings I have taken. The 4 zonals I wintered over for the past couple of years have been doing well (they are all blooming right now !) So my interest in them in general is rising.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:44AM
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nelsoncastro

Definitely, It's never to late to teach an old dog new tricks. That's one of the things I like about gardening. No matter how long you are at it you can always learn new things or ways of doing them.

Zonal geraniums are bushy plants, mainly used for containers and bedding. There has been considerable breeding done, particularly for size and abundance and colors of flowers, so there is a good deal of variety.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:33AM
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djune_gw

I am an old dog of 80 yrs. I have learned from you today.
Thanks so much,
djune

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:07PM
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