Found yourself with a gorgeous geranium that’s screaming to be a child of your mama plant?
Figure out how to root geranium cuttings and you can grow generations of geraniums.
Regardless of how many generations you want, you really won’t ever need to buy a geranium again.
Read on and you’ll discover how to take healthy cuttings that are ripe for rooting, and the two methods you can use to grow new plants from your existing ones.
How to root geranium cuttings
Take healthy cuttings in late spring, remove flower buds, all the lower leaves, and decide on whether to root geranium cuttings in soil or in water. Cuttings should be 4-6 inches (10 – 15 cm) and have at least one node submerged in water or soil, then kept in indirect sunlight with plenty of warmth.
How to Take Geranium Cuttings
Make cuttings in late spring before the plant puts energy into flowering.
Depending on your growing conditions, it may already be putting out flower buds. If it is, you will need to remove them.
The cuttings need to be about four to six inches in length and you’ll need to make two cuts.
The first cut is to remove the stem from the plant using a pair of sterile pruners.
Follow the stem back to about half its length and make the cut above a leaf node. Make this cut diagonally so that water doesn’t sit on the open stem.
The second cut is removing part of the stem that’s below the leaf node and this should be straight across because it’s going into the soil.
The last stage for preparing your geranium cuttings for the rooting process is to clean up the stem.
Do that by removing the lower leaves, leaving only two to three leaves nearer the tip of the stem. Anything on the lower part is likely to rot.
Around the base where the node is, clean that by removing the stipules, which are the flaky parts that grow around growth nodes on stems.
What you should be left with is a healthy stem with a clean cut (straight across), a node with no growth, and no lower leaves.
To root it, you only want the stem in water or potting soil, depending on which method you choose to use.
Both rooting methods are discussed below, starting with the use of the potting mix.
How to Root Geranium Cuttings in Potting Mix
Using a 3-inch pot (with drainage holes) you can try to root up to six geranium cuttings per pot.
There isn’t a 100% success rate, so the more you pot up, the higher the likelihood is of at least a few of your cuttings rooting.
How it’s done is by planting the cuttings around the edges.
The potting mix to use needs to be well-draining.
Fill the pot to a few inches from the top with a 50/50 mix of peat and sharp sand or peat-based compost.
Once you’ve done this part, follow the steps mentioned below.
- Use a pencil to poke 6 holes in the soil around the pot’s edge
- Dip the base of the stem in water for a few seconds
- Gently plant the cuttings
- Tamp the soil mix down
- Water the soil lightly while carefully avoiding to wet the leaves.
Once your cuttings are planted, they need indirect sunlight and plenty of warmth for at least two weeks.
Using a heated mat or a heated propagator can speed up the rooting process. A DIY method is to place a plastic bag (a clear one specifically ) over the geranium cutting to achieve a greenhouse-like atmosphere.
If you do use a propagator, grow dome, or put a plastic bag over the plant, watch it closely for signs of stress.
With limited air circulation, moist soil, and heated from below, there is a risk of rot.
Lessen that risk by avoiding clear plastic bags that cause droplets of water to land on the leaves, or leave the lid off of heated propagators.
Rooting geranium cuttings in potting soil can see new growth within a week. It can take up to a month though.
You’ll know it’s ready for transplanting when you tug at the top of it and the base of the stems don’t budge in the soil. That’s a sign the roots are holding the plant’s weight.
When they can do that, these geranium cuttings can hold their own already in their own container. That’s when to transplant them.
How to Root Geranium Cuttings in Water
Rooting geranium cuttings in water takes longer. There’s no telling what will grow from the nodes.
Sometimes you get leaves, other times roots develop right off the bat.
If leaves emerge first (as they often do in water), cut them off and submerge the stem again. The next development stage will be the roots to support its growth.
Something to remember about growing geraniums from cuttings is that the stems have no bottom growth. All the growth are side shoots from growth nodes on the sides of the stems that dangle down.
Because of that, it’s a wise move to have your stem cuttings be longer so that there are at least two nodes submerged in water.
The one part of the stem that you can’t place in the water is its leaves they will definitely rot.
Make your cuttings about six inches long at least and try to use cuttings with two nodes.
The containers you use should be shallow. Only deep enough to submerge growth nodes on the stem. Not enough to cover the top half.
The water type you’ll use matters too. Distilled or rainwater is best for plant care, including for rooting.
However, you’ll have to change the water regularly. Some people change the water every other day or even daily. Others neglect changes until the water’s so green that you can’t see what’s happening.
Water should be changed periodically because stagnant water lacks the oxygen needed to avoid the stems drowning.
By changing the water, you’re effectively making sure the plant is consistently in oxygenated water.
Ideal containers are translucent cups, small glass jars, or even tall shot glasses.
Place the container somewhere warm where it gets plenty of indirect sunlight and you should see roots developing within the first month.
Depending on the number of roots you get, you may get away with transplanting them directly in their own containers, or alternatively, switch to soil propagation for stronger roots to develop.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Rooting Geranium Cuttings
Do geranium cuttings need a rooting hormone applied?
While it’s tempting, geraniums root easily and don’t need a root hormone application. Rooting hormones work for stronger rooting plants, but for geraniums, it’s more likely to cause roots to rot faster because of the high humidity and only slightly moist soil.
Should I transplant cuttings when flower buds emerge?
Flower buds can emerge fast on geraniums, but it isn’t always indicative of strong enough rooting to support plant growth. If you find flower buds growing within the first month of growing geraniums from cuttings, cut them off so that the plant continues to put energy into rooting instead of flowering.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.