Pelargoniums

Hi all

In September I took several cuttings of pelargonium 'Clorinda' and they've been sitting happily in a sand/compost mix, under glass, over the winter. They are green and healthy looking, with most making new leaf growth.

I've just been to pot them on, only to find that almost all of them have no discernible roots. Below the surface, they look exactly as they did when I took them in September. How can cuttings be making healthy top growth with no roots? Any thoughts gratefully received!

Posts

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Pelargoniums will put on growth without roots Jones, you'll soon see new roots forming when they run out of the energy stored in the stems of the cuttings. You'll need to start watering and feeding them when they get going. 

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Yeah - there'll be enough starch stored in the stems and leaves and they'll be able to absorb enough water for their meagre winter needs just through the cut end of the stem and whatever rootlets they've been able to make, just to get them going.  But as Dave says - well, implies - they'll soon develop roots now.

    My cuttings usually just rot image

  • Thanks, both - that's really interesting to think there's enough starch to keep them going for six months in the stems alone. I've potted them into good compost with a little sharp sand for drainage and watered well and back into the cold frame, so fingers crossed!

    It also might explain why the cuttings of p. odoratissima didn't do so well, they have extremely thin stems and I couldn't get any decent size cuttings from such fragile growth - so possibly not as much starch to keep them going?

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    You need to let those thin stemmed ones get a bit bigger first 2-3 inches and don't water the compost. It needs to be damp not wet, straight out of a fresh bag is perfect. Just leave one leaf or two at most and push the cutting right into the compost so that a leaf axil is in contact with compost. Then leave them alone. You only want to water any pelargonium cutting from underneath. A cold greenhouse is better than a cold frame if you have one. 

  • Thanks Dave. No greenhouse, sadly, but I'll try the shed windowsill next time I take some cuttings of the thin-stemmed ones. Might be a bit warmer. Much obliged for the advice today.

  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532
    My penstemon cuttings are the sameimage
  • Glad to know I'm not alone, Logan - will be interested to know when they form roots. When I took the cuttings, everything I read said they'd form roots (in whatever potting medium) in a few weeks, so it's extraordinary that they've been self-sufficient for so many months.

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