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Taking Geranium & Pelargonium Cuttings


There is no particular time of the year for taking cuttings of many of the members of the pelargonium family, because they have no dormancy and grow for twelve months of the year. However, success will depend on being able to supply good light and warm compost. A propagator is a worthwhile investment for any enthusiastic gardener. It is a good idea to get going on the regal varieties first if you need more of these, as they take longer to root and longer to come into bloom than the zonal types.

Whilst I'd always encourage you to expand your collection by trying out new varieties (and of course, ordering them all from Vernon's!), taking your own cuttings of geraniums is also an exciting part of this wonderful hobby of growing and collecting geraniums! If you've never tried it before then do give it a go – I still get a thrill when fresh, white roots are coming out of the base of a cutting I've taken. There is no such thing as 100% success but if you have a method that works for then I'd always say stick with it.



How to take geranium cuttings

There is no particular time of the year for taking cuttings of the geranium family, because they have no dormancy and grow for twelve months of the year. However, success will depend on being able to supply good light and warm compost.

Your requirements will be a mother plant, a sharp knife, some seed compost and some means of keeping the compost warm once the cuttings are inserted.

  1. Cut the mother plant just above a leaf joint on the main stem and then trim the cutting you've taken to just below the joint.
  2. Strip off most of the leaves.
  3. Don’t take a great long cutting. The healthiest past of a plant is nearest the growing tip, so short cuttings are best, and once rooted they will soon catch up with long ones.
  4. The cuttings need to be inserted into warm, damp sterilised compost. Do not let them dry out and keep them in a light, dry atmosphere. Never put the lid down on a propagator if you are rooting any of the pelargonium family – they are very prone to rotting in high humidity.
  5. Wait and few weeks and your cuttings should have rooted!

Some years ago someone once wrote in a pelargonium magazine that it was beneficial to use a solution of vitamin C for cuttings, so we tried it and had to agree it helped, so we have been using it ever since. We put about half a teaspoonful of powder in a couple of eggcupfuls of cold water and stir it with anything that is non-metallic (usually a plant label) and it is stored in a dark bottle. Tablets would do just as well as powder – and what you don’t use for your geranium cuttings can be made into a drink – so it will do you both good! We never use hormone-rooting powders or liquid, as this makes the ends go soft and they are more likely to rot than root.

Do not get distraught if a few do not make it – one hundred per cent success is a very high standard to try to achieve! The important thing is to enjoy what you are doing, and we think you will always feel a sense of achievement when you manage to increase your stock of a plant. We always do!