Propagating Advice?

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Can anyone explain how to propagate Pelargonium from cuttings?

Lilburn, GA

Stem cuttings

Select growing shoots that are firm. It is better to use green shoots, instead of woody ones.Each cutting should have around 3 stem nodes (place where the leaves are attached to the stem).

Cut with a sharp knife just below the third (lowest) leaf node.

Romove the leaves that will be close to the potting mix. It is best just to leave the young small leaves a tthe top and one or two bigger ones.

Get a small pot and fill it with soiless mix (I use just perlite). Water it well until the water runs through the holes at the bottom.

With a pencil, make a hole in the potting mix and bury the lower nodes, like more that 1/3 of the plant should be under the potting mix.

Check the potting mix regularly for humidity. Do not overwater, just keep it barely moist.

I spray the leaves with a bit of water once a day.

you do not need to use rooting powder.

Good luck!

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Thank you so much! You make it sound so easy. Questions, would it help to cover the cutting with a baggie to hold in the moisture or would that be too much? When I do lily scales, it's the same for the soil, but it goes into a closed baggie for a few months. Also, what light conditions? Should they go under grow lights or is a window sill good enough? Can I do this outdoors? If so, should that be in a more shady area?

Lilburn, GA

Hi Beaker!

No, don't cover them or they will rot. I also would not put the cuttings outside as they need constant temperature.

You can put them under lights but, as soon as they root, (in about 3 weeks) you should move them to natural light. Plants that grow upward do not do very well under lights as the top of the plant wil get stronger light than the bottom.

A sunny windowsill will do fine.

good luck and let me know if I can be of any help

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Spider, I hope you can answer some more questions for me. I was trying to select a stem from one of my regals to cut for rooting and I couldn't find any with 3 big leaves. Most have 2 then further up, two smaller leaves and flower buds. Do I take a main stem that has branches or do I take one of the branches that has the flower bud on it? I'm assuming one of the branches. I'm also assuming that I should remove the flower bud, but leave the top small leaves and then remove one of the larger leaves if there are only two. Am I correct in my assumption?

Question 2, how do you know when the stem has rooted? Do you take it out and look at it or will there be obvious growth I'll see?

And last, at what point do you repot in soil? As soon as the roots develop or sometime later?

I guess I have a couple of other questions. Assuming I'm successful at rooting a new plant, how long does it take to produce flowers? Should flower buds be removed until the plant gets to a certain size? Also, as we go into winter, should a newly rooted plant be treated as a house plant or can it be stored as bare root with the other, more mature plants. If treated as a house plant, would I continue to remove any developing flower buds until ready to go outside after last frost?

Have you ever used Messenger on newly rooted plants and/or have any recommendations regarding the use of such products? What about fertilizer? Any recommendations on that?

Lilburn, GA

Beaker, you make me feel like an expert!

Take the stem with the flower bud then take it out. If you leave it there, the cutting will concentrate on the flower instead of concentrating on getting roots. Any stem from a geranium can be propagated. some small, some big, no problem. If you only have 2 leaf nodes, bury one half of th estem, it should root. If the leaves are too near the soli, when you pot the cutting, remove them or they will rot.

When the stem has rooted, it feels firm to some light tucking. Slowly try lifting the plant holding the stem. Very slwoly. If the plant is not rooted it will start to come out of the soil. If it is rotted, it will feel firm to your tuck. some cuttings may start growing before they root. some after. After it has rooted, wait a bit more, say, one month before planting it out so the roots are strong.

Flowers can be produced anytime. depending on wether the cutting has undeveloped flower buds. After it has rooted, you can leave the cutting to flower. don't need to remove the bud.

somepeeps store them bare rooted but I would NEVER do that. If you keep it in a warm place, it may even flower in winter. I would keep as a houseplant but do not water often. Maybe once or twice a month.

I would not remove any flower buds.

I have used messenger on my geraniums, once or twice. I am getting more of the stuff and soon will be spraying it every 3 weeks. I think it really works, especially on newly rooted cuttings.

Good luck!

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

LOL, Spider! You're the only one who answered, so you must be the expert! Let's put it this way, you know a heck of a lot more than me. OK, I'm going to try to do some cuttings this weekend. I'll see what happens. Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Spider, I thought you might be interested in this thread from the Clematis Forum.

Lilburn, GA

thank you very much for the link, Beaker. i am going to build one of this Bubbler Machines.

Are you going to do one? I think some soft wood geraniums would root easily in one of them.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Yup, I'm so inspired I thought I'd try a cutting off my Jolly Bee and see what happens.

Lilburn, GA

tell me what happens with your cutting.

good luck!

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Sounds like spider and I root the same way, although I do cut off the buds, as it requires extra work for the stem to have to root and to continue blooming, it's harder to root from my experience, but trying it both ways might be something worth trying.

it's also my experience that regals root harder than scented geraniums, taking quite a bit longer too.

I give them a little tug in the pot if they start to come up a little then their not rooted good enough, if they stay put then their rooted good enough for me

hope you have good luck,

what kinds of regals do you have?

I'm always looking for new ones to trade.


Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

I do mine the same way they root fast and out in the gardens beds in no time!

Lilburn, GA

Kathy ann, i remove all flower buds I find as well . :o)

Waaaay Down South, GA

Okay, I'm using these instructions to root my first scented geranium. :-) Will let y'all know how it goes! LOL Thanks Spider for this great info! :-)

Lilburn, GA

Hi my Lovely!

good luck with your cutting.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

I just read on another forum another rooting trick that seems to make a lot of sense. The gal who mentioned this, learned the technique in a master gardening class. You take a 10" bulb pot and fill it with your potting mix. Then you take a 2 1/2" clay pot, stop up the drain hole and bury in the center of the 10" pot almost to the top of the 2 1/2" pot. Fill the small pot with water and keep it filled. Plant your cuttings in the soil around the smaller pot. The smaller pot will leach water into the larger pot as needed. I'm guessing this is alot like the African Violet pots.

Two weeks and no roots on the bubbling geraniums and I'm seeing discolored stem ends. Losing faith that geraniums will root this way. I've had a bag of perlite in my car now for about three weeks. Time to drag that out and take some new cuttings.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I ran across this interesting RHS report on rooting pelargoniums in various planting mediums--i.e., perlite, gel, potting soil, etc., and I thought it might be useful to know about.

I would like to try the gel on hardy geraniums, too.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Wonder how much it costs. The whole purpose for me is to reduce my annual nursery costs plus have a few plants for trading. However, this is a very timely subject as I was going to run over to HD this afternoon and pick up some rooting hormone. I'll check the price out. Right now I have pels in a perlite/peat moss mix and so far, so good. Everything still looks green after 7 days. This is my second attempt. The first was with a bubbler and that didn't work, but to be honest, it may have been because I left leaves attached that got into the water. I may try again now that I know all those leaves must go.

Since it is so hot out this weekend, I'm planning to try the pinch and poke method you posted over in Annuals. Not only am I going to try some Impatients, but also wave petunias and Torenia. The cats will think they died and went to heaven, LOL. They've been eyeing my pot of geranium cuttings, but so far there's been no nibbling that I can tell. With the bubbler, they were into that immediately. Wish me luck.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Home Depot didn't have the gel packs. One of the guys that works there said "sounds a little pricy for HD". Last night when I was online, I went looking and they are expensive. The cheapest I found was a quart for 12.95 at Charley's Greenhouse, 11.95/qt if you buy 2 or more. The six packs appear to run in the neighborhood of 10.00, that's 1.67 a cell and if you put three cuttings in a cell, 56 cents a cutting. The quart, assuming you buy at least 2 ends up being 37 cents an ounce. If an ounce will do it, then about 12 cents a cutting. I have a feeling it would be more like 2 ounces per cell, so 25 cents a cutting. Still more expensive that potting soil, but all the rave reviews are indicating an almost 100% success rate. This might be something to seriously consider if you have the room to maintain mother plants over the winter. Charley's had detailed root cutting instructions for use with the product.

A suggestion I read for propagating a favorite plant is to take several cuttings in the fall and then in the spring take cuttings from those plants for the plants you want to place out. Because I'm not really into this yet, I don't have a clue how many cuttings you can get with one plant. I suppose it would depend on the size of the mother plant.

Here, most annuals are sold in 6 or 9 packs. 6 packs usually run about 2.99 and 9 packs about 3.89. I noticed a trend this year where nurseries are starting to sell 4 packs at the same cost as a 6 and they have been putting "speciality" annuals in 6 packs that cost almost 10.00. My dark blue wave petunias were considered a speciality plant. While I paid the price, the cost sure does burn me . It appears to me that the gel, with its high rate of success would at least cut your costs in half if bought in quantity. What would be really nice, is if one of the amateur chemists here at DG came up with a home made formula for the gel! I don't think it would be beyond the realm of possibility.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

beak-- I don't know a thing about propagation, either, but I thought I would try a few different plants just for the fun of it and google around on it.

And the RHS trial looked interesting. The basic thing about the gel packets is that they are extremely sterile, I think. Somewhere I read that the biggest downfall to propagation is the sterility issue--clean hands, trays, scissors, on and on, and I'm not too mindful of that, but should be! And the gel packets supposedly address that issue more or less.

I am more interested in starting "hardy geraniums" and clematis at the moment. But if I could get good at it and get a productive 'system' in place, I would love to by pass purchasing annuals and save the $$ too. And sometimes it's hard to find certain plants around here. (I couldn't believe how many nurseries I had to go to to find white impatiens!)

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Actually, I read that the fastest way to do a clematis is by layering. You need a nice long vine and you don't remove it from the mother plant. Fill some 1 gallon pots with soil and lay the vine across, burying leaf nodes in each pot. Place something heavy over the buried leaf node and leave it be. When the pots start putting off some shoots, detach from the mother plant and individual pots. I guess you can get 5 or 6 new plants this way.

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