Geraniums belong to an extensive family of plants of the genus Geranium with more than 400 species under its belt, although some of the genus Pelargonium are also commonly known as geraniums . They are plants that live in practically all temperate climates and, in gardening, apart from the beauty of their leaves and flowers, their usefulness as a floor covering stands out.
However, geraniums are plants that require some care to stay healthy and beautiful. One of these most basic care, as in all plants, is proper pruning, so in this article, we are going to teach you how to prune geraniums and when is the best month to prune geraniums.
When to prune geraniums
A regular pruning of the geranium is very beneficial for any type or variety, but it is especially necessary for the perennial ones, because if they are not pruned at least once a year, they end up developing long, thin and weak stems, with little flowering. .
There are also two main reasons to prune a geranium: to strengthen and beautify it, or to rid it of damaged or diseased parts. If we are going to prune damaged parts, the ideal is to do it in the middle of winter, when the plant is less active, between December and January .
On the other hand, if it is a pruning of healthy parts, the geranium pruning month will vary depending on the local climate. If you live in a warm area where it does not freeze in winter, it is usual to prune in autumn, while if where you live the winters are cold and the ground suffers from frosts, it is better to do it in early spring, in March or April .
Some prefer to prune twice a year to further stimulate plant growth and keep it looking compact and full of flowers. It is safest to do this in warm or temperate climates, and prune as well in both fall and spring.
How to prune geraniums step by step
These are the steps to prune geraniums easily and correctly:
- Before pruning the geranium, always sterilize your pruning shears or scissors with alcohol. This will prevent the plant from being attacked by germs that penetrate its open wounds.
- Look closely at the plant to identify diseased or damaged areas. This includes looking at the back of their leaves and areas that are not usually visible. You should prune all unhealthy stems and leaves, as well as any wilted leaves. Do not be afraid to remove leaves or flowers that do not seem quite withered yet, it is better for the plant to prune them so that it can focus its energies on producing new shoots.
- If you prune in spring, you can remove some of the healthy stems that have flowers. To do this, you can make the cut where the stem joins the main one or just over 5 mm from the first knot. In either case, always make an oblique cut, as there is less chance that the cut section will accumulate unwanted debris.
- Lastly, you should prune the thinnest and longest stems of the plant, especially if they show no or very few leaves. It is better to emphasize the lateral stems of the geranium, leaving the central ones unpruned, in order to give it as spherical a shape as possible. These types of stems should be pruned almost from their base, again about 5 mm from the lowest node.
How to make geranium cuttings and plant them
It is possible to save stems from pruning to make cuttings with them and plant them thus producing another geranium. In fact, a single long enough stem can be cut into several parts to produce different cuttings . Remember to always cut them just over 5mm below the knot.
- Remove all but the tallest leaves from the cutting. A newly planted cutting will not have the strength to hold several or one that is too large, but leaving only one medium-sized one will help it grow earlier. Still, the leaf is not completely necessary, and a stem with no leaves at all can also grow.
- Prepare a small pot with a suitable substrate for geraniums. Using pots with a small reservoir of water below the drainage holes can help if you don’t want to be so careful about watering.
- Make a small hole with a stick or pencil in the ground and plant the cutting in it. If you have rooting hormones, smearing the bottom of the stem on them before planting will help the plant to grow stronger sooner. Remember not to bury the cutting too much, so that the leaf is always above the ground.
- Finally, water the cutting after planting it. The first roots should appear in no more than two weeks.