If you’re an avid gardener, chances are nothing is more exciting to you than receiving all the free plants your little heart desires. Though growing seeds is an inexpensive method of propagating many plants, your appetite may require more rapid gratification than seeds can deliver. Such is the case with ivy geraniums (Plargonium peltatum). They’re so easy to grow from cuttings that it seems almost silly to waste time waiting for seeds to sprout when you can have free, ready-made plants almost right away. Make your ivy geranium cuttings in early spring for glorious late summer baskets of mounding color.
1 Trim an unblemished 5-inch tip from a healthy ivy geranium plant with a clean, sharp knife. The cutting will grow into an exact duplicate of the parent, so pick an attractive one that you like.
2 Pinch off any blooms or buds. Remove all the leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
3 Fill a 4-inch pot with sterile potting mix. Set the pot in a shallow container of warm water until the surface of the soil feels moist to your touch. Take the pot out of the water and allow it to drain for about 30 minutes.
4 Plant the ivy geranium cutting about 1 1/2 inches deep in the center of the medium. Firm the soil gently around the stem. Mist the soil with water from a plastic spray bottle. The medium should be evenly moist but not soggy or wet. Close the cutting up in a clear plastic bag.
5 Put the cutting in a warm, brightly lit room out of direct sun. The best soil temperature for rooting ivy geraniums is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit, so the top of your refrigerator or above a hot water heater are good locations. Your cuttings should root within three to four weeks.
6 Check the soil daily. It should remain evenly moist. Don’t allow it to dry out. If water droplets accumulate on the inside of the bag, take it off the cutting for a few hours or until the water evaporates. Replace the bag.
7 Test for rooting in three or four weeks. Tug gently upward on the stem. If it resists, rooting has been successful. If it pops right out of the soil, replant it and try again in a couple of weeks.
8 Move the ivy geranium to a sunny windowsill in a cool room when it produces new growth. Water enough to evenly moisten the soil surface when it begins to dry out.
9 Mix 1 gallon of water with 1 ounce of 4-12-4 liquid fertilizer. Water the plant with the solution until it runs from the drainage holes. Pour some of the mixed fertilizer into a plastic spray bottle and mist the foliage with it. Repeat every 14 days.
Items you will need
- Clean, sharp knife
- 4-inch pot
- Sterile potting mix
- Clear plastic bag
- Plastic spray bottle
- 4-12-4 liquid fertilizer
- Ivy geraniums are winter hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 10 and 11.
- While ivy geranium cuttings can be started in early spring in warm regions, many gardeners in zones cooler than 10 wait until August or September to start them. They simply root the cuttings and overwinter them as houseplants indoors. By spring, the young transplants have enough size and substance to them to give you an early start on your blooming garden.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Pelargonium peltatum
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Backyard Farmer: Overwintering Geraniums and Propagating Geraniums by Cuttings
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service: Geranium Culture for Home Gardeners
- Bachman’s: Overwintering Geraniums
- Ball Straathof: Colorcade Ivy Geranium
- Backyard Gardener: Taking Cuttings the Easy Way
- Shady Hill Gardens: Common Questions
- YouTube -- The Produce Garden: Propagating Ivy Geranium
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images