While scented geraniums put out marvelous blooms, their leaves are also an attraction due to the aromatic scents they release when brushed against.
Scented geraniums can be multiplied through various methods that I’m going to discuss in this article. Why propagate scented geraniums? You may be interested in propagating them for a number of reasons including creating multiple plants for free or maintaining the lineage of a parent plant.
There are two methods to propagate scented geraniums — by taking cuttings or germinating seeds. I’m going to discuss both methods.
Scented Geranium Propagation
Of the two methods, taking cutting and rooting them is the fastest and the easiest. But seed propagation is also a viable alternative if you don’t have a parent plant, but you do have scented geranium seeds off the internet, for example.
Choose a healthy, disease free stem with no flowers. Cut above a leaf node, making sure the resulting cutting will have at least 3 leaf nodes remaining.
While you’re at it, take multiple cuttings, just in case some of the cutting will fail to root or die before becoming established.
Next, you should remove the lower leaves from the end of the cutting, so that no leaves are buried underneath the potting medium.
For the potting medium, choose a well-draining mix that contains peat-free compost and sand or perlite.
Water the cutting, but don’t drown it in water and place it in a warm, partly sunny spot but make sure the sun is not too strong. If the sun is too strong, it’s best to keep the cutting in indirect light.
Water whenever the soil starts to dry out.
Some gardeners will cover the cutting with a plastic on which they poke some holes to let the air circulate, but your scented geranium cuttings will root even without creating a greenhouse effect.
Alternatively, you can choose to root geranium cuttings in water too, although I find that rooting in potting mix is a more dependable option.
You can also use rooting hormone on the end of the cutting, but you can root the cutting even without it.
The other scented geranium propagation method involves germinating seeds that you either harvest yourself or you order online.
To harvest seeds, don’t remove spent blooms. Instead, after the blooms have died wait a couple of more weeks for the seeds to form, which you can then harvest.
A couple of weeks after the blooms die, stork beak seeds heads form that house the seeds. Once the seed heads start to dry a bit, collect them in a paper bag and allow them to dry completely, making it easy for the seeds to pop out with a little shake of the paper bag.
Geranium seeds are black, so you’ll be able to identify them. Leave the seeds for 2 more weeks on a baking sheet to dry out.
After they’ve dried, you can start their germination. Simply place them in seedling containers barely covering them with potting mix. Keep the soil moist and in a warm location.
Can You Propagate Geranium From a Leaf?
Yes, scented geraniums can be propagated even from a leaf cutting. This can come handy if you don’t have much material to work with.
Stem cuttings are preferable, more reliable and much faster to root, but leaf cuttings can be rooted in potting medium as well.
You can test this by not throwing away the lower leaves you cut off from a stem cutting but place them in their own potting mix.
The key to successfully propagate a geranium from a leaf is to leave a tiny bit of section of the stem material when cutting them off the stem.
Place the leaf between the compost and the side of the pot and snip back almost half of the leaf area to prevent it from losing too much moisture.
Here the plastic cover can help a lot in triggering the rooting process, so use a plastic cover making sure it doesn’t touch the leaf.
Make sure the soil is kept moist to encourage rooting.
How Long Does it Take for Geranium Cuttings to Root in Water?
Normally, geranium cuttings will root in a few days to about 2 weeks, depending on how much moisture, warmth and light they receive, or whether or not you’re using a rooting hormone.
In water, rooting can also take a couple of weeks. Make sure to remove any leaves that would fall below the water level (these could rot) and replace the water frequently.
Why Do Geranium Cuttings Die?
There are a variety of reasons why cuttings may die. Here are some of the top reasons for cutting failure:
– Excess watering
Too much water will cause rotting and it will inhibit root development. Coupled with a poorly draining soil, overwatering can spell trouble for your cutting.
– Exposure to strong sunlight
You can place cuttings in direct light, just make sure the rays of the sun are not too strong as to cause sunburn. If in doubt, place in strong indirect light.
– Taking unviable cuttings
If cuttings are harvested from an otherwise diseased stem, its chances of taking roots and developing are slim.
When Should You Take Geranium Cuttings?
You can harvest geranium cuttings any time after spring. These are adaptable plants that will root in spring and summer as well. The ideal time to root scented geranium cuttings, however, is in late summer.
Scented geranium plants can be propagated in a number of ways — from cuttings that can be rooted in water or potting medium, or from seeds that can be easily germinated.
Harvesting cuttings should be done in late summer before the plant enters into dormancy. Spring or summer harvesting can also work, but that means cutting off parts of the parent plant that could otherwise produce blooms.
Propagating scented geraniums from seeds is a bit more difficult if you harvest the seeds yourself.
Regardless of the method you choose to propagate scented geraniums, simply follow the steps I described and enjoy the process.