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Proctor's Garden: How to make more geraniums

Geraniums are great outdoor plants in the summer. Here is how to propagate them from cuttings.

DENVER — I've always liked geraniums and grown a fair amount of them. But since Japanese beetles came to town, I've grown many more. The beetles don't bother them much. 

If you saved geranium plants last fall and have them growing in the window, you can make more. 

Take cuttings four to six inches long. Strip off the lower leaves. Using a small brush, dust the stems with a rooting powder. You can find rooting powder at a garden center. New roots will form at the leaf axils. That's the bumpy part where you stripped off the leaf. 

Fill small plastic pots with soil. Water the soil first and make a thin hole in the center. Insert the cuttings into the soil and firm the soil around the stems. Cover the tray with a clear plastic dome or plastic wrap to increase humidity inside. Set the cuttings in a very bright spot without much direct sun. Too much sun will cook the plants under the plastic. 

The cuttings will root in about one to two weeks, depending on your conditions. A very gentle tug will determine whether roots have formed. Keep the plastic on if they have not. After roots have developed, take off the plastic covering and grow the new plants in a sunny window or under lights. Start fertilizing in April to get them up to size to plant in mid-May. 

Taking cuttings creates more new, free plants but it also invigorates the mother plant. This pruning keeps the plant compact and bushy. 

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