Taking cuttings is an easy way to get more of your favourite pelargoniums. Try propagating one of your own special plants or ask a friend if you can take a cutting from theirs, if they have a particularly lovely specimen that you’d love to get your hands on! Here’s our step-by-step guide to successfully taking your own geranium cuttings.
What’s the best time of year to take geranium cuttings?
There isn’t a ‘best’ time to take cuttings from members of the pelargonium family because they have no dormant period and grow for twelve months of the year. However, success depends on being able to supply good light and warm compost. A propagator is a worthwhile investment for any enthusiastic gardener and will help you to provide the optimum conditions. It’s a good idea to get going on the regal varieties first, as they take longer to root and come into bloom than the zonal types.
While it’s exciting to expand your collection by trying out new varieties, taking your own geranium cuttings is also an exciting part of this wonderful hobby! If you’ve never tried it before then do give it a go – you’ll get a real thrill when fresh, white roots emerge from the base of a cutting you’ve taken. There is no such thing as 100% success but if you have a method that works for you, then stick with it.
What equipment do I need to take geranium cuttings?
To take cuttings from your geraniums you’ll need:
- A mother plant
- A sharp, clean knife
- Seed compost
- Small pots, alternatively reuse clean yoghurt pots
- A warm place to keep your cuttings until they root
The best way to take geranium cuttings – video guide
This excellent video offers a great practical guide to taking cuttings. For a quick recap, follow these simple steps:
- 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.
- Strip off most of the leaves.
- Don’t take a great long cutting. The healthiest past of a plant is nearest the growing tip, so short cuttings are best. Once rooted they will soon catch up with long ones.
- Insert the cuttings into warm, damp sterilised compost. Keep them in a light, dry atmosphere, and don’t let them dry out. Never put the lid down on a propagator if you are rooting any of the pelargonium family, because they’re very prone to rotting in high humidity.
- Wait. In a few weeks, your cuttings should have rooted!
Should I use rooting hormone for my geranium cuttings?
We never use hormone-rooting powders or liquid, as this makes the ends go soft and they’re more likely to rot than root. 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’ve been using it ever since. We put about half a teaspoonful of powder in a couple of egg-cupfuls of cold water and stir it with something non-metallic (usually a plant label) and store to solution 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!
Don’t worry if a few don’t make it – 100% success is a very high standard to try to achieve! The important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing, and enjoy the sense of achievement when you manage to increase your stock of a plant. We always do!
We hope you’ve found this guide useful, and we’d love to hear your success stories. For more information about geranium & pelargonium care, head to our geraniums hub page which is jam-packed with helpful tips.