Discover how to propagate balcony geraniums (pélargoniums) successfully. The process is straightforward, allowing you to enjoy these mosquito and fly repelling plants on your balcony or terrace.
Understanding Balcony Geraniums
Don’t confuse these with real geraniums, which are robust and suited for flowerbeds. Unlike their hardy counterparts, pélargoniums, also known as florist or balcony geraniums, are delicate.
When to Propagate Pélargoniums
The optimal propagation period for pélargoniums extends from August through September, and possibly October if temperatures remain warm. Spring propagation is also an option when the plant is showing signs of vigor.
Geranium Propagation Methods
There are three primary methods of geranium propagation: direct cuttings in soil, cuttings in water, and seeding.
Direct Cuttings in Soil
- Choose a sturdy, deflowered stem with three to five leaves, approximately 10cm long.
- Using a sanitized secateurs, cut the stem and trim it, removing larger leaves at the base.
- Fill a plastic pot with cutting-specific soil and thoroughly water it.
- Install the cut stem once the water has been absorbed.
- You can speed up the rooting process by dipping the stem in rooting hormone before planting.
- Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag, and position it in a dry, well-ventilated, shaded area.
- After about ten days, the roots will form, and you can transplant the cutting into a planter or pot come spring.
Cuttings in Water
- Select healthy stems free of flowers, and trim the leaves at the base, leaving only top ones.
- Submerge the stems in a water-filled jar, optionally adding a liquid rooting hormone.
- Monitor root development daily and plant in soil when roots reach three cm in length.
- Start seeding from mid-January until mid-February.
- Use small polystyrene containers for their insulating properties, filled with special seeding soil.
- Position your seeds two cm apart and lightly cover with soil.
- Finely water and place the containers in a bright room heated to 18°C.
- Seeds will start germinating after a week.
- When two pairs of leaves appear, transplant the seedlings into individual pots.
- One month later, move them into their final pots and place them outdoors at the start of May.
- If propagating in October, store the pots in a frost-free, perpetually dry and well-ventilated area during winter. Transplant in spring.
- You can cut as many stems as desired. Plant them in a large container, ensuring they are not touching.
- Remember to winterize your geraniums to enable them to bloom again the following spring and beautify your balcony once more.