The Q&A Archives: Geraniums

Question: I have a large trailing geranium plant that was my Mother's until she died recently. I want to start some new plants from cutting of this plant. Everyone would like to have this remembrance of her. How do I best do it?

Answer: Geraniums are relatively easy to start from cuttings. Use fresh potting soil and either individual pots or one large pot to start your cuttings. Moisten the potting soil and fill the pots, then select healthy stems from the parent plant for your cuttings.

To make the cuttings, either snap or cut off growth four to five inches long. Remove any flowerstems from the cuttings and shorten them to about three inches, making a slanting cut immediately below a leaf joint. Remove the lower leaves and little leafy wing-like bits that grow along the stem so that none of these will end up beneath the soil.

Poke a hole into the planting mix with a pencil and insert the cutting, firming it securely into the mix. Place the cutting deeply enough so that it is well supported. If you are rooting just one cutting, use a pot three inches wide. If you are rooting several, use a communal pot eight to 10 inches wide.

Group cuttings are best placed around the outside edge of the pot, with a small indentation left in the middle for watering. Adding only moderate amounts of water to the center of the pot keeps each cutting watered while allowing it to remain a bit on the dry side. When watering a single cutting, direct the flow of water away from the stem around the pot rim.

Set the containers of cuttings in a warm, bright place outdoor, protected from direct sunshine. You will know the cuttings have rooted when you see new growth.

Good luck with your project!

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