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
These videos show how to take geranium cuttings.
The process for over 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).
How to Take Softwood Cuttings includes an illustrated guide in case you need more details.
1 Get 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 above or below a leaf node with a clean, sharp scalpel or very fine knife.
3 Prepare 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″.
- 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.
5 Cover (Optional)
- 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.
If you keep them out in the open, mist them as needed to maintain good moisture levels (not too dry, not too damp).
- 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. 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.
9 Where to Grow
- During winter, you can grow them 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.
1 When 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.
2 Can you root geranium cuttings in water?
Yes, you can. I do, however, find that directing 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.
3 How 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.
4 Can 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.
5 My 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).
The article linked below on Fertility Management lists the nutritional needs of geraniums.
- Growing Geraniums from Seed | Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County
- Fertility Management for Geraniums | North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
- 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 ♛
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