It is easy to propagate geraniums from cuttings and these step-by-step instructions are perfect for beginners. This geranium is the popular flowering annual (Pelargonium), not the other hardy variety. See how to root cuttings any time during the growing season for lots of free plants.
If you want to keep your geraniums (Pelargoniums) for next year, see 4 Easy Ways to Overwinter Geraniums.
How to Grow Geraniums from Cuttings
Geranium | Genus: Pelargonium
The Geraniaceae family of plants includes Geranium (430 species), Pelargonium (280 species) and Erodium (80 species).
Pelargonium common names include: zonal, scented, ivy-leafed, and Martha Washington geraniums.
Misnomer: We commonly refer to Pelargoniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) as ‘geraniums’ but that’s not their botanical name. At this point it’s more like a misplaced nickname that won’t go away.
Geranium (Pelargonium) Growing Tips
Long-living flowering annual (tender perennial)
• Hardiness zones: 10 to 11
• Full sun
• Soil: well-draining
• Propagation: grow from cuttings or division
• Cold climates: overwintering tips
• Grow indoors or outdoors
- Steps For Propagating Cuttings
- Video Showing Geranium Cutting
- Frequently Asked Questions
- When should you take geranium cuttings?
- Can you root geranium cuttings in water?
- How long does it take for geranium cuttings to root?
- Can you keep a geranium in the winter?
- My geranium cuttings are turning yellow. What is the problem?
Steps For Propagating Cuttings
Plant Patents: Some plants are patented and asexual reproduction is not permitted without permission from the patent holder. Patents and trademarks are listed on plant tags.
The process for propagating geranium cuttings is the same for many other plants as well.
This method is also called cloning because we are continuing the growth of an existing plant to start a new one (with the same genetics) simply by growing a stem cutting.
How to Take Softwood Cuttings includes an illustrated guide in case you need more details.
1Get Your Supplies Ready
- Clean, small flower pots with drainage holes
- Potting mix
- Drip tray
- Scalpel or very fine, sharp knife
- Rubbing alcohol
- Large, clear food bags
- Have small pots filled with moist container mix ready on drip trays.
- Clean your scalpel or cutting knife blades with rubbing alcohol.
2 Take Cuttings
- You want to end up with a stem that is approximately 4 to 6 inches long with two healthy leaves up top.
- Choose a new stem that is green (not old and woody).
- Cut just below a leaf node with a clean, sharp scalpel or very fine knife.
Video Showing Geranium Cutting
These videos show how to take geranium cuttings.
Methods vary slightly with each gardener but you will get the overall idea.
3Prepare for Planting
- Remove any flower stems, flowers, or buds. You don’t want the plant putting energy into those just now.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom 2-inches.
- Keep the remaining leaves attached.
- Dip the base in rooting hormone powder (optional- some cuttings will root fine without it)
- Tap off any excess powder.
New to this?
Get all the basics on using rooting hormones here.
- Use your finger or a dibber to make a hole in the container mix and insert the geranium stem.
- Careful not to push the rooting hormone powder away.
- Loosely fill hole with container mix around the stem.
- Bury the stem deep enough that any bare leaf nodes (where you removed leaves) are submerged.
You can put several cuttings in one pot. Place one along each inner side.
- You can either water the pots and/or fill the drip tray and empty it after 30 minutes.
- If your growing space had good humidity (over 50%) and there is not risk of the cutting drying out, you should not need to cover it.
- Alternately, in a drier environment, you can loosely sit a large, clear bag over top or a dome, so long as there is still air circulation.
Check daily to be sure the cover is not building up too much condensation or mold or fungus on the soil.
- Keep in warm location either outdoors in part shade (during summer) or indoors near a window. Avoid full sun until roots have formed (it usually takes a few weeks).
- Keep container mix moist but not soaking wet.
- In 6-8 weeks, you should notice roots forming. It can be as quick as 4 weeks.
- Geraniums grow long roots so you may see some at the holes in the bottom of the pot.
- You can also check by lightly pulling on the stem to feel if roots are holding it in place.
- With roots well established, you can now repot each cutting into its own pot.
9Where to Grow
- During winter, you can grow geraniums as houseplants.
- In spring, after last frost, they can be gradually introduced to life outdoors.
This shows How to Harden Off Plants for Life Outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
1When should you take geranium cuttings?
- You can take cuttings any time the plant is actively growing.
- You may want to take them in summer so you can get new plants started in pots outdoors.
- You can also take cuttings in fall and grow them indoors during the winter.
2Can you root geranium cuttings in water?
Yes, you can. I do, however, find that directly planting the cuttings in moist soil is more successful.
Overall, plants rooted in water can grow bloated, fragile roots that may not transition well to pots. Many people do root them in water but for the long game, do it directly in potting mix.
The general rule for propagating plants is, the younger and less woody the stem, the more readily it will grow roots in water.
3How long does it take for geranium cuttings to root?
Depending on growing conditions time will vary, but you should notice new root growth in 6 to 8 weeks.
4Can you keep a geranium in the winter?
Yes, there are several options for keeping geraniums over the winter:
- Keep them as houseplants.
- Grow cuttings.
- Store potted geraniums in an above-freezing shed, garage, or basement.
- Remove soil and store bare roots in cool, dark place.
5My geranium cuttings are turning yellow. What is the problem?
Yellowing stems and leaves can have many different causes.
Here’s a few possibilities:
- Under or over-watering: lower leaves start yellowing first.
This guide shows how to properly water houseplants and other potted plants.
You can learn more here about overwatering plants.
- Exposure to cold temperatures (below 45°F or 7°C).
- Unhealthy plant.
- Nutrient deficiency in the potting mix.
You could try repotting it in new potting mix or adding a slow-release organic fertilizer (follow instructions on label).
- Growing Geraniums from Seed | Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County
- Growing Geraniums | Iowa State University
I hope you will try growing geraniums from cuttings. It’s an easy way to get lots more free plants.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
How to Grow Geraniums (Pelargoniums) From Cuttings
Supplies & Materials
- 1 Geranium plant Pelargonium
- Choose green stem that is not old or woody.
- Cut below leaf node with clean scalpel so you end up with a 4-6-inch long stem with two healthy leaves on top.
- Remove any flower stems, flowers, or buds.
- Dip base of stem in rooting hormone powder and tap off excess.
- Plant stem in flower pot filled with potting mix, burying lowest leaf node one inch deep. You can add several cuttings to one pot.
- Water deeply and allow excess water to drain.
- Cover with loose, clear food bags if humidity is low (40-50% is ideal).
- Grow in warm location with indirect light. No hot sun.
- In 4-8 weeks, move to individual pots when roots have established.