Don’t be intimidated by activities akin to rocket science that the term “cloning” may conjure up in your mind. If you simply take a small piece of living tissue from a geranium plant that you like, you can grow your own clone. This clone will be an exact genetic replica of its parent plant, with all the same characteristics. Geraniums lend themselves well to cloning from cuttings, and even the greenest novice gardener with the brownest thumbs can clone them successfully. Take your geranium stem cuttings late in the summer before the first predicted frost for your area.
Combine equal parts clean sand and peat moss and fill the cells of a plastic plant six-pack up to 1/4 inch from their tops with the rooting medium. Set the starting pack in a shallow pan of warm water until the surface of the soil feels moist. Remove the pack from the water and allow it to drain well for a couple of hours.
Select a vigorous, unblemished young stem from this year’s growth on your favorite healthy geranium. Use a clean, sharp knife to cut about 6 inches from its tip. Remove all blooms and flower buds from the cutting and trim all growth from the lower half of the stem.
Moisten the bottom 1 to 2 inches of the stems with water and dip in powdered rooting hormone. Plant each 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep in the center of its own planting cell. Don’t push them far enough into the soil to allow leaves to touch it to prevent them from rotting. Make sure the leaves of one cutting don’t touch those of any others.
Close the pack up in a clear plastic bag and set it in a warm, brightly lit spot out of direct sun. The top of your refrigerator or above a hot water heater are good choices. Your geranium cuttings should begin rooting in about two to four weeks.
Check on the moisture level every day. The soil probably won’t require watering for two or three weeks. It’s fine as long as the surface feels evenly moist to your touch. Water if it begins to dry out. If drops of condensation appear on the inside of the bag, remove it for several hours to allow them to evaporate. Replace the bag.
Remove the plastic bag for good in about four to six weeks. The rooted cuttings will be green and thriving, and might even be setting new growth. Plant each in its own 4-inch clay pot with all-purpose soil mix. Use clay containers rather than plastic because they’ll provide the best drainage for your young geranium plants.
Water the geraniums enough to barely moisten the soil evenly. Don’t allow them to dry out, but don’t subject them to soggy or wet feet.
Set the plants on a sunny windowsill until after the last predicted spring frost for your area has passed, when they can be moved outdoors. Keep soil barely moist. Feed an all-purpose water-soluble liquid fertilizer for blooming plants. Follow the packaging instructions carefully.
Things You Will Need
- Clean, sharp knife
- Plastic plant 6-pack
- Clean sand
- Peat moss
- Powdered rooting hormone
- Clear plastic bag
- 4-inch clay pots
- All-purpose soil mix
- All-purpose water-soluble liquid fertilizer for blooming plants
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