Pelargoniums, that ever popular bedding plant, can be propagated by cuttings pretty much year round, although mid-spring is the best time.
Although often treated as annuals in the UK, pelargoniums are actually tender perennials. It’s time to bring any worthwhile specimens in from the cold for the winter. I keep mine on a shelf under the greenhouse staging, where they don’t get too much light. They rarely need watering, they’ll just mind their own business there till early spring when they can be brought back into growth. But what if they don’t survive the hibernation? As an insurance policy (but mostly because I can’t help myself) I have taken cuttings of some of my more attractive pellies. Here’s what I did.
For the overwintering process, it helps to give the plant a substantial haircut, removing about two thirds of the growth, tidying away any dead or dying growth.
All that removed growth provides oodles of cuttings material. For pellies, short stems allegedly root faster and more reliably than long stems. I cut the stem just below a leaf joint, then removed nearly all of the leaves and any other bits and pieces, leaving as bare a stem as possible.
The cutting doesn’t need much leaf area, and would lose too much moisture anyway. Some of my cuttings ended up with just one teeny leaf. I hope that will be enough.
If I had any grit left I would have used my default cuttings mix, two parts grit to one part vermiculite, but I have run out of grit. I used 100% vermiculite on this occasion. I used a dibber to poke a hole in each module and eased the cutting in, one per module. I have not used any rooting hormone this time, I don’t think they need it.
I have put the module trays into the heated bench but have not covered them. Pelargoniums don’t appreciate too much humidity, the leaves and stems rot easily. Even at this time of year they should root fairly quickly, a few weeks.
My pelargonium choices have not been very sophisticated in the past, I typically just buy them cheap by the tray each spring. Not sure why I’m bothering to propagate them! Next year I plan to upgrade to some more refined pelargonium cultivars, then I will truly be protecting my investment.
I’ll be back with an update in a few weeks.