Geranium Cuttings

ironside(Zone 5 Ohio)June 25, 2005

When is the best time to take cuttings from geraniums? I started my plants from seeds this year, they are well established and was wondering if you can take them anytime? Any help when and how would be aprreciated.

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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

Do you mean Geraniums or Pelargoniums?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 11:07AM
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ironside(Zone 5 Ohio)

I am talking about regular geranium cutting. They are called Elite Red Hybrid Geraniums.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 12:57PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

a friendly clarification here; back when old Linnaeus, the botanist was going about naming things, the plant we commonly call geranium acquired it's name. Later, however, it was realized that the plants we know as geraniums are actually a separete plant, and were subsequently renamed pelargonium. But, alas, the Victorians had already 'discovered' geraniums, and weren't about to make the switch. So, 100 years later, we still call the plants that should properly be called pelargoniums, geraniums. The FAQs of this forum has an explanation of this. True geraniums are perennials here in the US.

So, you have pelargoniums. (Based on the name you provided.) And to answer your question, I get the best results from cuttings about 3-4 inches long. I let the cut edge heal over a bit before putting the cutting into soil/ potting mix. Letting the cut edge dry up a bit seems to help prevent rot.

Good luck with your pelargoniums. The red elite are great plants ;-)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 10:41PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

I like to take new cuttings in the fall, then bring those in for houseplants to enjoy in the winter. Pelargoniums are quite forgiving plants, and can have cuttings taken at any time. The only weather conditions that affects them is too much heat, so if it's hot when you take the cuttings, provide some afternoon shade for heat relief. I have accidently broken off a piece of a pelargonium in the heat of the summer, left it set on top of the ground a day or so, then stuck it in the flower bed, to have it survive and bloom just fine.

Great plants!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 10:48PM
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ironside(Zone 5 Ohio)

Thanks for the education on the Pelargoniums. We learn somthing everyday! This is my second year on growing them from seed, so I was thinking of taking cutting this year. Thanks for you input, and I will take your advice on taking them when it is not hot. Also, never thought of letting them dry first before planting them. Thanks again


    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 11:48PM
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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

Two points worth noting. With Pelargonium cuttings:
1)do NOT use rooting liquid or powder this tends to cause the cuttings to rot.
2) do not tent or cover up your cuttings.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 6:14AM
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ironside(Zone 5 Ohio)

If you do not use powder or rooting liquid, do you root them in water? Please give me some pointers on how tot do it right.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 11:08AM
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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

I use a potting mix of 2 parts potting soil/compost: 1 part vermiculite or perlite. Trim the cuttings, just below a leaf joint, or node, and insert the cuttings into this mixture, water thoroughly and allow to drain. Place the cuttings in good light, not direct sunlight and wait. Keep the cuttings moist but NOT wet and they will root in a few weeks.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 9:19AM
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Susie_ND(z4a ND)

I have a gorgeous burgundy ivy geranium and I've successfully started a new plant(by accident). The wind broke it this spring, so I stuck the branch in rooting hormone and now it grew buds on it.
Now I'm wanting to start more plants from cuttings, and I know it's too hot right now, but my question is, can I take branches that have blossoms on the ends? ALL the branches have blossoms. Seems to me all its energy would be spent on those blossoms instead of rerooting.
Would it work to take a branch, and prune off the blossoms at the end?

I'm really glad I found this forum. You guys seem very knowledgeable.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 5:47PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Yup Susie, prune the blossoms from your cuttings. :-)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 10:31PM
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Susie_ND(z4a ND)

Thanks for your help, cantstopgardening!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 3:22PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

You are welcome.

I just wish my own pelargoniums were doing well. Today, I start hauling them to the county fair, to decorate around the 4-H building. My pellies aren't looking so hot. Too busy with other 4-H things to give them adequate attention. (I didn't notice when a couple got botrytis. Grrr...So, I lost a few.) But, I did pot the healthy ones up with some blue petunias, an unnamed heuchera, (with purple-ish leaves that I got from some compost!,) some artemesia, purple millet, purple basil, and licorice plant. The other plants look good, especially the petunias, so the containers still will be eye-catching.
I just like the bi-color pellies to be the stars ;-) Oh well; there is always next year!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 9:29AM
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Europeprincess(z9 Houston)

Where do you take the cuttings from?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 7:19PM
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There are two handy step-by-step sites about how to take pelargonium cuttings. One is given in the URL thing provided by the forum, the other is here:

Here is a link that might be useful: BBC: Take Pelargonium cuttings

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 12:33PM
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Has anyone trained a regular geranium to grow as a topiary

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 7:06PM
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I have recently taken some pelargonium cuttings and they seem to be doing quite well in my heated greenhouse. I have been advised by a friend to give them a weak feed but it seems an odd thing to do at this time of year. Could do with some aftercare advice. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Just know today from this forum the plant I've called geranium is pelargonium. Thank you so much.

I live in Zone 8, so lucky I have no problem to plant them from cuttings. In fact, I accidently broke one branch full of buds, I planted it in new pot, now the flowers are blooming. Hey, it's 37F.

My probem is, they have more leaves rather than flowers for years. Any suggestion how to make them show their beautiful flowers?


Note: I have red and pink pelargonium and also red and purple ivy geranium (or ivy pelargonium?). Will be glad to trade with other colors.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Many years ago, a member of my herb society, who was enrolled in a horticultural program, told us a Pelargonium expert had suggested to her class how to use hormone powder on their scented geranium or other Pelargonium cuttings. Being herbarists, we were esp. interested in growing the scented varieties and species pelargoniums--and I still am. Because the lecturer thought that hormone powders, ie. Rootone and Hormodin, were too strong for softwood cuttings,, like Pelargoniums, he suggested using a 50-50% mix of the rooting hormone and regular baby/talcum (unscented) powder. Since then I have been using this method with good results. Recently,I read another Pelargonium expert's advice on cuttings and she thought that using hormone powder promoted rot on the cut end. She was talking about dipping the cut ends in straight, uncut hormone powder or liquid. A note of caution--do not ever dip the end of any cutting directly into a pack or bottle of hormone powder or liquid because this can spread fungus disease; pour off a little into a separate container and then throw it away after using it.
Dorcas Brigham, who was one of the biggest growers of scented and speciality geraniums in the US, back in the 1950s and '60s, recommended a novel way for striking cuttings. She put a small clay pot in the center of a larger diameter, but shallow azalea or bulb pot and filled that, I think, with small gravel (I use aquarium gravel). Then she advised filling the surrounding area with a lean soil mix. (I like to use equal parts lean garden soil, sand, and a starting medium, ie. Pro-Mix) and put her cuttings in around the edge of the bigger pot. The center pot (it must be clay so water can easily permeate it)is used to water the cuttings, so that they do not get watered on the stem at the soil-line--where it comes into contact with the soil, to help prevent rot. To take cuttings, I either select a small side branch about 3-4 long growing from a main stem and pull it downward and off gently, but so it has a heel on the end, or I take a tip cutting from the top of a vigorous branch just below a leaf node. Then I strip all but 3 or 4 leaves off, and then make an angular cut on the stem before leaving it out in a shady place to heal for about 8 hours, then either type of cuttings are struck [planted] as described above. Sometimes though, if I accidentally break off a branch, I'll just stick it in a jar of water, but this is not the preferred way to root cuttings, because the "water roots" that form are supposedly not as healthy as those that form in soil. I have both types of cuttings going right now as I broke a branch on a favorite scented about 6 days ago, and then this AM, when I pruned some new overgrown scenteds, and re-potted several, acquired this weekend at a 50% off sale, I did a pot of cuttings. It will be interesting to compare the water rooted young plant with those rooted in soil. Next week I will do some more cuttings in a flower pot as early August is a good time to do cuttings. That way some will be rooted and potted in time to go indoors for the winter or to share with others... Maggie

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 1:07PM
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It's me again...the 'gardener' with a jillion questions about how to care for the jillions of pelargoniums so I can sell them. I've pinched them and saved the pinched part, propping them up in a pan of water for now. Is the part I pinched considered a 'cutting' or are they too small. I started them from seed in late January and they are good sized plants...except for now they look rather funny after pinching! Thanks to everyone for sharing their hard earned knowledge!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 4:10PM
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There is no harm in trying.

All my cuttings (20-22 of them) took, I did not loose any, and they where very small. (Under 1 inch of stem). The important thing is that you have a growth node / meristem in the rooting material, be it water or dirt. I would think sand / soil / dirt is much better to root them in then water though. As water is more likely to promote rot.

I would simply water some soil well, provide good drainage, stick your cuttings in, and then leave them alone. Don't keep them very wet, let the soil dry out considerably. It seems much easier to over water these babies then under water...

If you are having space issues, you may wish trying peat pellets (that is what I used) 72 will fit in a flat. Or, you could even just fill a flat with your soil / sand / whatever you are using and stick the cuttings in. In a few weeks you will see what is taking and can discard any that are dying.

The thing is, grow these for fun, perhaps for your own garden, but I don't think it is realistic for them to grow fast enough to be able to sell them this spring. I planted seed in Late January. Mid February I took my "small" cuttings. The cuttings only now are nearly as big as the seed started several weeks earlier!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 3:03PM
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Fallston_Flower_Lady(z7 MD)

I have tried rooting geranium cuttings a few times and was not successful as the cuttings always rotted. I finally gave up and instead of cuttings, I pot up the geraniums I want to keep, in the Fall, and cut them back to 3 or 4" and put them under my grow lights in the basement. I have blooming geraniums all winter and soon I will be cutting them back and planting them outside again. Also - was at a friend's house a week ago and noticed she had just plain geranium stems in a glass of water on her window sill and - they had roots! I couldn't believe it but you can bet I am going to try that.

Fallston Flower Lady

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:18PM
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the best secret to root geranium cuttings. 1. 1inch long or larger cuttings. 2. good potting soil (mix or perlite, peatmoss, sand) or any good poting soil. 3. put rooting hormones on the cut,let it dry for 3 to 4 days. 4. put soil on plastic bag water it, put it in microwave for 15 to 20 min. (1 gall. of soil aprox..) put it in pot or cell tray, let it cool down. 5. plant cuttings. 6 water cuttings with boiled water already cool down to room temp., or water mixed with 2 tee spoons of clorax per gallon of water.put the cuttings under parcial shaded area this is a good way to root geranium cuttings.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 9:51PM
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These plants are bullet proof. We inherited some of them with our place. The previous folks had tried to start a nursery 2 years prior then abandoned it. All the plants died (no water for 2 years) except the geraniums. Granted they looked pretty rough at that point.

We have since started 20 or so geraniums from the cuttings and I have killed almost every other plant I try to do anything with. The trick to these seems sot be that there is no trick. Geraniums just seem to have a stronger will to live than the other plants I have tried to grow.

I broke the stem at a junction point leaving a cutting about 8" long. Some with flowers some without. I planted them in potting soil. Some times it was hot, sometimes it was cold, sometimes I watered them every day, sometimes once a week. Only one died the rest grew to be healthy geraniums.

Cheers, and don't over-think this its really hard to screw it up.

NOTE: They do not seem to like it when you pour hot spent grains from beer making on them. However, the one I did this to is still alive - albeit barley.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 11:43AM
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