Propagating Geraniums

I posted the other day about Pelargoniums (Annual Geraniums) and Cranesbill (Perennial Geraniums). I am attempting to plant both from seed indoors to get ready for planting in my garden in May. (we are frost free in Southern Ontario in mid May).

While I am waiting for my seed orders to arrive, I am going to attempt to propagate some of the Pelargoniums that I have overwintered in the house. More is better – that’s my garden design theory when it comes to flowers.

To propogate Pelargoniums, choose healthy stems and with sharp sterilized scissors or pruners cut the desired stems below a leaf node. Remove the lower leaves and flowers from the stem. There should be 3-4 leaves left at the top of the stem to support the new plant’s growth.

I have purchased some powdered rooting hormone for this – although plants can be successfully rooted without it. Rooting hormone is a compound that is used to help a leaf or stem to develop roots. When using rooting hormone, do not dip the plant directly in the container – pore a little into a separate container – so that the hormone does not become contaminated with bacteria. Rooting hormone also has a best before date!

Dip the bottom of the stem to the leaf node in the rooting hormone powder, and then tap lightly to dust off the excess powder. Lightly plant the stem below the leaf node in a potting mix. I am using a fresh clean bag of organic potting soil for all of my cuttings and seed starting to minimize fungus, pests and bacteria. Any re-used pots have also been washed in a 1-10 mix of chlorine bleach to water to sterilize.

My indoor – overwintered Pelargoniums are quite – “bendy”. As they were forgotten in the basement, they were straining toward the sun and so have long twisted green stems! It was difficult to find the perfectly shaped stem for propagating – but I might as well go with what I have – it costs nothing but the dip in the rooting hormone, and a bit of fresh potting soil!

The new Pelargonium “clones” are then placed in clean pots, misted lightly and loosely covered with Ziploc Baggies to keep in the moisture. I am keeping my fingers crossed on these. Any plants that are propogated will have the same colour of leaf and flower – as they are clones – and so these are great if you want to repeat a colour throughout a planting!

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