Geraniums ( Pelargonium ) can be propagated by cuttings or by seeds. This saves you having to buy new copies in the next year.
Geraniums can be propagated from cuttings [Photo: Tatiana_Pink / Shutterstock.com]
Geraniums ( Pelargonium ) belong to the cranesbill family (Geraniaceae) and are one of the best-selling bedding and balcony plants in Germany. Currently around 500 million pelargoniums are sold each year in Europe alone. Geraniums (like many other plant species) can easily be propagated using cuttings or generatively using seeds. Cuttings are nothing more than cut parts of the shoots of plants that are used to propagate them. Propagation by cuttings is a form of vegetative propagation. The resulting plants are therefore copies (clones) of the mother plant. If you have a favorite specimen that impresses with its particularly beautiful growth or particularly colorful flowers, this is the ideal starting plant for propagation. Your cuttings are sure to become particularly beautiful plants and you can enjoy a larger number of your favorites for a long time.
Propagate geraniums using cuttings
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The best time for propagation via cuttings is between July and August or at the beginning of the year until March.
The best time for geranium propagation is between July and August [Photo: Whiteaster / Shutterstock.com]
Cut and plant cuttings
The shoots used should be healthy and strong. Ideally, neither light green nor lignified, but half-ripe (= already slightly brown) shoots without flowers or flower buds are used as cuttings. The cut is made just below the leaf base. The lower leaves, buds and side shoots are removed. It is enough if one or two leaves are left. The side shoots can also be planted as cuttings. A knife that is as sharp as possible should be used for cutting cuttings. Bruises as a result of blunt knives or scissors increase the risk of rot and thus reduce the likelihood of successful rooting. The geranium cuttings are placed about two centimeters deep in prepared pots with soaked potting soil, such as our Plantura organic herb & seed soil, and then pressed down well.
Tip : nutrient-poor potting soil promotes the formation of many fine roots.
Summary: cut and plant cuttings
- Use healthy, strong, half-ripe (= already slightly brown) shoots as cuttings
- Cuttings without flowers and flower buds if possible
- Smooth cut below the leaf base
- Remove the lower leaves, buds and side shoots
- 2 cm deep in a pot with soaked potting soil
The optimal location
The choice of the location is decisive for the success of the propagation of cuttings. For three to four weeks, the pots with the cuttings are placed in a partially shaded, but warm and protected place. In late summer, when the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder, a bright window seat in the house is possible. A foil hood should be used so that the cuttings have an optimal feel-good climate for their start as an independent plant. Underneath, like in a greenhouse, there is a nice high level of air humidity, which is important to compensate for the water absorption by the non-existent roots. However, once the first roots have formed, regular ventilation must not be forgotten, otherwise there is a risk of rot due to the increased humidity. If the first new leaflets sprout after a few weeks, the reproduction has been successful.
The geranium cuttings are planted in potting soil [Photo: 682A IA / Shutterstock.com]
Summary: The optimal location
- Partly shaded, warm, protected location for 3 – 4 weeks
- Foil hood for optimal humidity
Cut back as a source of cuttings
By pruning, geranium cuttings in the form of shoot tips (so-called head cuttings) are produced all year round. In preparation for wintering, the shoots of the plants are radically cut back in September or October. This is where there are many and long shoots that can be used as cuttings. In this article you will learn how to prune the plants for a successful wintering of the geraniums.
Geraniums should be cut back regularly for a beautiful growth habit [Photo: Gorlov-KV / Shutterstock.com]
Head cuttings also occur in spring to early summer, as the shoot tips should be cut back regularly for better growth. You can find out other maintenance measures for a more beautiful growth here.
Older geraniums should be repotted about every 2 years. Here, too, the pruning produces shoots that can be used as cuttings. Everything else about repotting and generally about planting geraniums can be found in this article.
Geraniums should be repotted regularly [Photo: JoannaTkaczuk / Shutterstock.com]
Summary: Cutbacks as a source of cuttings
- Cuttings by radical pruning in September / October.
- Cuttings in spring to early summer by occasionally shortening the shoot tips
- Cuttings from pruning older geraniums when repotting
Hibernate geranium cuttings
Like adult geraniums, cuttings can be overwintered. This is particularly useful if there is not enough space for the adult plants to overwinter. However, it should be noted that due to the darker and colder environment, the success rate in propagation is impaired. If you want to achieve a good rooting rate even in winter, you can use aids such as LEDs or heating mats. The cuttings are placed close to each other in a pot of soil. You can read about the best place to put your cuttings and adult geraniums in winter in our article on wintering geraniums.
A window sill is suitable for wintering the geraniums [Photo: stock-holm / Shutterstock.com]
From the beginning of February, the cuttings are planted apart. They are placed in a light and warm place and fertilized. In this way, you will quickly have large, blooming specimens again in the new summer season.
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Propagate geraniums from seeds
If you are not yet the proud owner of a particularly beautiful specimen of geraniums or if you want to grow new varieties cheaply, we recommend propagating via seeds. Sowing time for this is at the latest in February, so that the plants are large enough by May to withstand the weather outside and to bear flowers in summer. Seeds of various cultivars can be purchased in specialist shops or in garden centers.
Geranium seeds can be sown directly in pots [Photo: Olga Bocharnikova / Shutterstock.com]
The sowing takes place in bowls with a germ-free and high-quality sowing soil like our Plantura organic herb & sowing soil. Since geraniums are light germs, the seeds may only be covered very thinly with fine soil. The easiest way, however, is to sow the seeds individually in peat pots and place them next to each other in a seed bowl. So that the humidity is right, the seed tray is closed with a transparent lid. The germination temperature of geraniums is between 20 and 22 ° C. The seeds should germinate after 10 to 20 days. After that, the lid is regularly lifted briefly to ventilate, otherwise there is an increased risk of rot due to the high humidity. The African origin of the geranium also comes through during germination: lots of sunshine or an additional light source accelerate growth.
Once the first four leaves have formed on the plants, they are pricked out one by one in a pot with more nutrient-rich soil. Our peat-free Plantura organic potting soil is ideal for this, as it contains all the nutrients for a rich bloom.
When no more frost is expected (mid-May), the small plants can be planted outside in a sunny spot.
Summary: Propagating geraniums from seeds
- Sow in February at the latest
- Seeds in seed tray with aseptic seed compost
- Cover the seeds with a fine layer of earth (light germs!)
- transparent cover for optimal humidity
- Germination temperature 20 – 22 ° C
- Germination after 10-20 days
- Ventilate regularly after germination to prevent mold
- after formation of four leaves: prick out the individual plants in pots with fertilized soil
- Mid-May: Transplant the geraniums outside
You can find out how to best take care of your young plants in our article on caring for geraniums.