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  • Writer's pictureSarah Fremont

Propagating Geraniums

“. . . arriving at Moonacre possessing nothing in the world but the clothes on my back and ten flower-pots with cuttings of geraniums in them, those glorious salmon-pink geraniums that are the pride of Cornwall.” The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

I was ten years old and my grandmother had brought me a gift. “For you!” she said. And she handed me a potted pink geranium. My first foray into my own personal gardening. I placed the geranium in my bedroom window and cared for it all by myself. A little watering and occasionally removing any spent flowers and the plant survived and thrived for a very long time. It seemed to bloom continuously and always made me think of my sweet grandmother.

Now, years later, my own children and I read a lot of British literature written before the 1950s, and so many of the novels write about geraniums—geraniums in pots on the windowsills, geraniums on red and white checkered cloths on the table, or geraniums in the garden. Succumbing to the influence of British literature and the remembrance of my own grandmother, we decided to fill our windows with the potted plant as well. Such a lovely touch of cheerful color and so easy to care for. The only caveat is that the plant often does so well that it eventually needs repotting into a larger pot. We are limited by the space of our sil, so to save money and the overgrown plant, we've begun geranium propagation. Geraniums are one of the easiest plants to propagate and so far we’ve had a 100 percent success rate.

Plant propagation is the process of growing new plants either from seeds, cuttings, or other plant parts.

If you want to try your hand at propagating geraniums, you will need a mother plant, a sharp knife or shears, seed soil, and a pot. Then follow these steps:

  1. With your mother plant, select a healthy six-inch stem, and cut in a straight line above a leaf joint or node (the swollen part of the stem). The cut stem end will naturally heal over and not be harmed.

  2. On your new cutting, make another cut just below a node, so that the length from the leafy tip to the node at the base is between four and six inches. Tidy up your leaf cutting by rubbing off any stipules (flaky parts) and strip off all but the leaves on the tip. This is the part that you’ll be planting.

  3. Place cutting into damp, fresh seed starting soil and set in a warm, bright location. Do not let the cutting dry out. In a few weeks, the cutting will form roots and can be potted.

  4. Carefully remove your rooted cutting from its seed starting soil home (gently shaking any excess seed soil) and place in a small pot with potting soil. Keep moist at all times.

A newly propagated geranium makes a cheerful and easy handmade present. Add a lovely tag and label to your pot and it is ready to be gifted. As long as geraniums have light, warmth, and water they will grow and flower year-round.

Happy propagating!

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