The Q&A Archives: Stem Cuttings

Question: What are the easiest plants to grow from stem cuttings and root hormone? Where should I make the cut on Geraniums.

Answer: Nearly any plant can be propagated by cuttings so you'll need to experiment to see which are successful in your garden. Geraniums are a little different - you can root a cutting in water, or dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant in soil, or you can cut a stem up, allow the cut ends to callous over and then plant them sideways in moist sand and they will root. Here's what I do to get several new geranium plants: Cut a long stem off the parent plant. Where you see the old leaf scars is where new growth will emerge so lay the stem on a cutting board and cut 1-2" long pieces, each with a leaf node (bud scar). Allow the cut ends to dry for a few hours and then lay the stem cutting on a bed of moistened sand, with the leaf node facing upwards. Carefully cover the ends with more moistened sand, leaving the leaf node exposed. Keep the sand damp but not soggy wet. In a few weeks you will see a new leaf emerge (and roots will be growing on the underside). Wait until 3-4 new leaves have developed and you can pot up your new geranium plants. You can also plant the leafy top of the original cutting as long as it has a leaf node (bud scar) at the very bottom of the cutting. Just pop it into moistened sand or into a container with an inch or so of water. It will root at the leaf node. Good luck with your project!

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