Can I Propagate Geraniums in Water? These 5 Steps Make It Easy

Expand your collection for free with this easy way to propagate geraniums for containers and garden beds.

Geraniums are a favorite for filling a planter, hanging basket, or garden bed with brightly-colored flowers. These easy-to-grow plants bloom in reds, pinks, oranges, purples, and whites for months at a time. Geraniums are also easy to root in water to make more of them for your garden, or to overwinter them. Although typically grown as annuals, geraniums (Pelargonium) are actually perennials in their native range in southern Africa. But if you live somewhere colder than USDA hardiness zones 10 or 11, these plants won't survive winter. Keep them going until you can grow them outdoors again by learning how to root geraniums in water.

How to Root Geraniums in Water

BHG / Sydney Saporito

When Should I Take a Cutting of My Geranium?

Early spring and late summer are the best times to take a cutting of your geraniums. This is when the plant tends not to be in full bloom. Even though this is the ideal time, a cutting can be taken whenever you want. In warm regions, you could even root geranium cuttings during the winter months (in colder areas, you could propagate indoor geraniums). It can take cuttings a few months to begin producing their own blooms.

hot pink geranium blossom
Peter Krumhardt

How to Root Geranium Cuttings in Water

Supplies Needed:

  • Geranium plant
  • Pruning shears or garden scissors
  • Water
  • Jar or vase
  • Soil
  • Plant pot
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Potting soil

Step 1:

Find the perfect stem to snip. The ideal cutting will come from a branch that's healthy and strong. Skip stems with discolored or wilted leaves. Don't go for spindly, weak stems, and avoid the oldest branches, too.

Step 2:

Using clear shears or garden scissors, cut right above the node that connects the geranium stem you want to the rest of the plant. Aim to get a cutting that's 4 to 6 inches long in length. Any longer and the cutting won't root well. If the cutting does survive, it will become a leggy plant with less foliage.

Step 3:

Once you've created your cutting, remove all of the leaves on the length except for a few at the top of the stem. You don't want to submerge any leaves in water, which could cause them to rot.

Step 4:

Place your cutting in a small jar or vase with the cut side down. Place enough water in the vessel to cover a few inches of stem, but not any of the leaves. Change the water in the container every 3-5 days. Stagnant or murky water can lead to rot.

Test Garden Tip: Give your cutting an extra boost by dipping the end into rooting hormone. This encourages new root growth, while also increasing the success rate of your propagation.

Step 5:

After your cutting has formed new roots in about four weeks, move it into a container filled with fresh potting soil. Make sure the container has drainage holes to help prevent root rot from too much moisture. Once planted, your rotted geranium cutting will need the same care you would give any other geranium plant in your garden.

Pelargonium vs. Geranium

There are several different types of these plants, including zonal geraniums, ivy geraniums, scented geraniums, and regal geraniums. All these plants belong to the genus Pelargonium, but they usually go by the common name geranium. However, there is also a genus Geranium, which includes a different group of more distantly related plants known as cranesbills or hardy geraniums. Over 250 years ago, a botanist named Charles L'Heritier made the distinction between the two species after Linnaeus had lumped them together, but the umbrella term of geranium stuck.

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