Now that summer is in full swing, it’s common to want to add summer colors into your daily life however possible. Geraniums are a key feature in many summer gardens, as they’re known are known for their range of colors that bring vibrancy to any area.
If you already have a few of these beautiful plants around your home, you may be eager to add more. However, it can be both expensive and a hassle to buy geranium seeds and grow new plants from scratch.
Lucky for you, propagating geraniums is an easy, cost-efficient, and fun way to grow and spread these bright flowers without having to take a trip to the store. Keep reading to learn all about this unique process so you can get started on creating your dream garden or home decor.
What You’ll Need
Before getting started on propagating geraniums, you’ll need to gather a few supplies to help make this process easier. Here are some crucial items you should have on hand:
- Small pruners
- Indoor potting soil
- Glass jars
- Small pots with holes for drainage
- Watering can or spray bottle
And, of course, you’ll need a healthy geranium plant.
Propagating Geraniums in Soil
Getting your Cuttings
A crucial step of propagating geraniums is getting solid cuttings from a healthy plant. Technically, you can take cuttings at any time throughout the year because these annual plants don’t have a period of dormancy. However, the ideal time to get your cuttings is before the weather turns cold and the plant is still thriving (think the end of summer or early fall).
To gather your cuttings, choose healthy-looking shoots near the top of the mother plant, as this is where new growth happens. To determine if it’s healthy, make sure the leaves and stems are bright green with no bits of brown or signs of damage.
Using the small pruners, cut just above a leaf node. Once you have a new stem, trim and clean it to remove the lower leaves and bumps or smaller stems found at the leaves’ bases. Once clean, your cuttings are ready for use!
Preparing the Soil
Now that you have a healthy cutting, it’s important that your soil be suitable to successfully propagate geraniums. When propagating geraniums, the soil should always be damp, but not overloaded with water.
Place your indoor soil into a small pot with drainage holes and dampen it with a mister or watering can. Your pot’s drainage is key because too much water pooled at the bottom may lead to fungal growth and other plant diseases.
Planting the Geranium Cuttings
Now that you’ve gotten the more involved steps out of the way, planting your cuttings is simple. All you need to do is gently place your new, healthy cuttings into the damp soil. Check that it’s secure and sturdy so it can grow properly without being blown or knocked over.
Then, place your newly potted plants in a sunny and warm spot, like a window sill. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for root formation and growth to begin!
Caring for Your Young Plant
Once your new baby geranium is somewhere warm and sunny, there are a few things to note when it comes to taking care of it. While propagating geraniums, avoid putting them in plastic trays with lids, as they don’t do well in humidity.
Despite this, it is crucial that you keep the soil moist to allow the young plant to grow and flourish. It’ll also need extra water as the plant gets bigger.
A great tip for encouraging new leaves to grow and help with the success of your geranium propagation is to pinch or cut off growing tips towards the top of the plant. Doing this will allow the geranium to be thicker underneath and create a fuller plant (rather than a tall skinny one)
Propagating Geraniums in Water
To propagate geraniums in water, follow the same process described above for getting your cuttings. Again, make sure the cuttings come from a healthy part of the mother plant. After you’ve snipped a piece from the mother plant’s stem, clean it off by removing additional leaves and other additional growths.
Once you have a healthy cutting, grab a small glass jar and fill it with fresh water, and you’re ready to begin planting!
Planting the Geranium Cuttings
To plant your cuttings in water for geranium propagation, all you need to do is place the fresh cutting (cut side down) into the glass jar. There should be enough water to cover a few inches of the stem but not so much that it covers the leaves.
After about four weeks, once the cutting has grown new roots, it should be moved into a potting container with fresh soil. As mentioned before, always ensure that the soil is well drained to prevent rotting.
Caring for your Young Plant
Propagating geraniums in water can be a riskier method, so caring for your plant properly is vital to its growth and success. The water in the container should be changed every three to five days to avoid rot. Avoid leaving the water sitting for too long to prevent it from getting murky and contributing to molding or disease.
To encourage healthy growth, you can also give your cuttings some extra love by dipping the end into rooting hormone before placing it in the water. Although it’s not a required step, using rooting hormone during geranium propagation can help foster new root growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to propagate geraniums in soil or water?
Because these plants don’t do well with too much moisture, propagating geraniums in the soil is probably your safest bet when tackling this process. While both methods are great and have amazing success rates, there’s less room for error when it comes to propagating geraniums in soil than in water.
Plus, when you propagate geraniums in water, you ultimately have to transfer them to soil anyway. So why not save yourself some time by cutting out that whole step and just plant it in soil from the start?
Can you propagate geraniums from root cuttings?
The only way to propagate geraniums is with cuttings from the stems. Although these plants do develop roots once they’re planted, there’s no way to take a piece of the root from the mother plant and create new plant growth with just that root.
Additionally, removing the roots to use as cuttings can harm the mother plant and kill your already established geranium (and who wants to do that?).
What kind of environment do geraniums need to grow?
Geraniums can successfully grow in both pots and in the ground. If you’re planting your geraniums or cuttings outside, you’ll want to choose a spot that has morning sun and afternoon shade. As with planting them in pots, the soil should remain moist or damp at all times but also be well-draining to avoid rot.
Because they favor warmth, geraniums sometimes struggle to survive through the winter. An easy way to keep these annual plants growing all year long is by keeping them in pots (even when outside) and transferring them indoors when the temperatures start to drop.
If your geraniums are already planted in the ground outside, you can carefully dig them up right before the frost and place them in pots to bring inside. Then, place them in a sunny window, and you’ll get to enjoy the colors of these plants all year long and for years to come!
Why isn’t my new geranium blooming very much?
A lack of blooms on your geranium can be a result of a few issues. One common reason your geraniums may not have many blooms is too little sunlight. When the plant isn’t receiving four to six hours of full sun, it’ll continue to grow taller (to try to reach the light) and produce fewer blooms.
Sunlight is extremely important in encouraging your flowers to bloom because of the biological processes that rely on it. If you’re experiencing this issue, try moving your plant to an area where it’ll get an adequate amount of direct sun each day.
Another reason your plants may not bloom is because of too much or too little fertilizer. These potted plants do best when they’re fed with fertilizer every three to five weeks with a balanced solution. If your geranium is planted in the ground, it’ll need even less fertilization (every four to six weeks) because of the earth’s natural minerals.
Time to Get Growing!
For anyone who has grown geraniums and is looking to spruce up their garden, patio, or home with an abundance of summer colors, geranium propagation is the way to go. With year-round growth and so many varieties to discover, these are the perfect addition to any setting.
Want to learn more about propagating other plants? Check out our post on propagating Crepe Myrtles to discover how to create a garden full of Southern charm!