Scented geraniums on steroids !

linnea56(z5 IL)September 22, 2005

I have several scented leaf geraniums (pelargoniums) that I bring in each fall. They, of course, get very leggy and have to be cut back severely when I put them out each spring. Then it takes at least a month before they look decent again. My husband is always asking why I keep those raggedy old things. They are all the same variety, the mosquito-repellent citron-something. I like other kinds more, and keep buying them but they never survive as reliably.

This year when I hacked them off in spring I had lots of cuttings. I had no pots left to stick them in so stuck them in the bare spaces in my new perennial bed. No rooting, no hormone powder, no TLC. Just made a hole with a pencil and shoved them in. Well these things REALLY took off. I have never seen any so big. I have always had them in pots, so I guess never knew they were being "restrained". The leaves are as big as my hand! They look almost tropical. Compared to about 3" leaves in the pots.

Instead of taking the potted ones inside this fall, would I be better off taking cuttings of the garden-planted ones?

For some reason I have not had luck taking cuttings in the fall; they seem to rot, not root. I bought the wet oasis mentioned in the propagation forum and also have perlite. If I'm better off using the giant ones, would I have more luck with rooting with those?


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If the ones in the ground were from pieces of your potted plants then it doesnt matter which ones you use for cuttings, theyll be the same plant. it does sound like the ones in the ground are probably getting more nitrogen from the soil than your potted ones and thats why the leaves are so large, it can also depend on the amound of light and they can get larger leaves if they are too shaded. they are very easy plants to root (as youve found when you put the pieces in the ground), they dont need any hormone powder or special anything to get them to grow. if your cuttings are rotting then most likely you are overwatering them, you really just need to keep the soil moist but not wet, and dont be afraid to let them dry out slightly either. the cuttings do like some warmth and strike roots much quicker, so you might be best to keep overwintering your plant, do the cuttings in spring and then even save one of those new plants to overwinter the following year just so that you dont end up with a woody old thing that youre trying to get cuttings off.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 10:23AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Light conditions were the same for both potted and garden ones: full sun. So it must be the rich new dirt (brand new raised bed) and "room for roots to roam". Now I know what to use anytime I need to "fill space" in the garden! I need to plant lilies in this area so will try the cuttings soon. Maybe it was too cold when I tried before. I was going to root them in perlite or oasis but maybe I'll just use potting soil. I want to root some to give away, maybe I'll try oasis for those. I'll take your advice and play it safe and keep the potted ones for at least this winter and try some new ones too. I have no indoor window space, that's the problem.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 11:27AM
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hi linea, you can also try digging out the ones from the garden and putting them in pots, they usually transplant really well. if you do your cuttings before the weather gets too cool you should have good success with them and they only need about a month or so to develop some roots in warm weather.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 11:23PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

It's a bit too late to say this now, but if you start cuttings for overwintering in mid August (instead of mid September when the equinox suddenly reminds you that winter is coming), you'll have much better luck getting them to take. Then you'll have small healthy plants to overwinter instead of the leggy ones. Even now, you could try to root cuttings under light because if they take, you could toss the leggy guys.

In the spring, you can set these out in your garden beds or containers or whatever. You can continue to take and root cuttings during early summer to fill in beds or containers. I like to use them in bouquets.

If you leave plants in the ground, you'd be surprised how late into the fall they last. It takes a good hard frost to kill them.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 3:47PM
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