Willow's tips on taking geranium cuttings
I spend a lot of time talking to my collection of geraniums and pelargoniums. They were definitely my lockdown therapy; there’s something incredibly soothing about their quiet, velvety-leaved, non-demanding consistency.
Taking cuttings is one of my favourite things to do, it’s basically gardening for free
There are so many that I love, it's hard to choose a favourite. I enjoy them more for the leaves – which I use in arrangements – than the flowers really and am drawn to the scented and variegated leaf varieties first and foremost. The ones that bring me the most joy are ‘Mrs Pollock’, ‘Attar of Roses’, ‘Horizon Appleblossom’, ‘Tomentosum’, 'Sidoides’ and ‘Camphor’.
Taking cuttings is one of my favourite things to do, it’s basically gardening for free. In ‘garden-speak’, it’s called propagation. If you’re new to this, in a nutshell, it’s when you snip off a small shoot from a plant, poke it into its own pot of compost and, after a while, it starts growing you a whole new plant. Properly magic.
Growing up, my mother would always have secateurs in her back pocket and would mortifyingly whip them out when she came across a geranium she liked the look of; she’d secretly snip off little snippets to add to her collection so she could multiply her favourites to give away as presents. Thirty years later and I'm doing exactly the same thing.
How to take geranium cuttings
Choose healthy, fat shoots from your geranium plant and remove them from the parent plant by cutting immediately below a bud or node. A node is a nobble where a stem will sprout from.
Remove the flower buds and leaves from the bottom half of each cutting and cut the stem just below a node. We want the growing power to go into growing new shoots, not into the existing ones.
When you are left with just one main stem (with the two nodes) you have a cutting!
Fill a little pot with compost.
Then make a hole with your finger or a pencil and insert your cutting around the edge of the pot. You can have two or three cuttings in each pot.
To create a greenhouse effect, I like to put a plastic bag secured with an elastic band over the top of the pot and snip some tiny holes in the plastic. Keep the cuttings inside in a well-lit position.
Water every couple of days.
Geraniums were definitely my lockdown therapy; there’s something incredibly soothing about their quiet, velvety-leaved, non-demanding consistency.