Grow more Geraniums
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The genus Pelargonium is varied, but the plants all have lush bright flowers. Although they are perennials, they are usually grown as annuals in the northern hemisphere.
Huge greenhouses grow millions of them from seed every year to supply your local garden center. They grow just as easily from cuttings, with a few little tricks to get them rooted quickly.
The long stems of Pelargonium peltatum, the ivy geranium, can produce several cuttings each.
If you have one plant, expect to multiply that by several.
This is a good thing, because a hanging planter is much more lush with several cuttings planted together in the center.
Here's how to grow Pelargonium from cuttings;
One stem will produce several to many cuttings, but it's best to actually remove an even amount from each stem on a mother plant. This is a welcome reprieve from flowering for them, and also encourages growth to start from lower down.
Make sure you know which end of a cutting is down on the plant. Planting them upside don't will be disappointing for you!
Always use a sharp pair of scissors or pruners to cut the cuttings. Anvil pruners or a dull pair of scissors will mash the stem, leaving it wide open for opportunistic pathogens and fungi.
Tips and Hints for rooting Pelargonium cuttings;
- Each cutting must have a leaf, and part of a stem. Some cuttings, especially those from Regal geraniums, tend to be 'blind' or lack a bud. What does this mean? The cutting may root, and it might stay alive, but without a bud where new growth will emerge, it will never grow.
- Sometimes the leaves are too big - it's totally fine to cut them in half, it won't hurt the plant at all, and still give enough energy for the cutting to root.
- Timing is important - most geraniums root fastest in the summer while they're still actively growing.
- Take off any blooms or buds as these will suck the energy from the plant and prevent it rooting.
- Callousing the cutting is important - even though it seems counter
intuitive. Leave the cutting to dry and seal up the cut surfaces
overnight. Then stick the cutting into the soil, cover it with a dome,
and wait for a few weeks.
It's also important to use sterilized or pasteurized potting soil so the cutting doesn't rot before it has a chance to root. Bottom heat is optional. Some propagators swear by it for many plants, but for Pelargonium, it's not essential.
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