The Martha Washington geranium, or Pelargonium domesticum, blooms differently from other flowers in the geranium family. The Washington variety tends to bloom strong and bright in the early spring and summer, but as the heat increases and summer wears on, it will fade away. This species of geranium can’t stand hot sun or high humidity, so it’s grown as a spring or fall plant or a houseplant only. Like all geraniums, the best way to propagate the Martha Washington is by taking cuttings after bloom.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Pruning scissors or shears
- Peat moss
- Planting pots
- Plastic covering
- Gently separate the shoots of the plant so you can identify the older shoots. Best cuttings are made from shoots with multiple nodes or joints. Make your cuttings in early autumn–in late August or early September in most areas.
- Cut a shoot 4 to 6 inches long just below a node. Take multiple pieces if you intend to propagate more than one geranium. Remove less than half of the shoots from the original geranium to avoid damaging it.
- Set your cuttings into a potting mix made of equal parts peat moss and perlite. Insert the cutting only deep enough to ensure that it will stand upright. You can place multiple cuttings into one pot.
- Cover the cuttings with protective plastic or polyethylene. Set the cuttings in bright, indirect sunlight. The plants should take root within five weeks.
- Plant each rooted cutting in its own potting container with regular potting soil once each has formed its own roots. Water and feed the cutting just like a regular geranium.
- Pinch back the growing tips in early January, removing the top half of each shoot. Repeat pinching again in early February. These pinchings, like pruning a tree, will encourage thicker and healthy growth as bloom time approaches.
Tips & Warnings
Do not pinch the geraniums again after February, or you will set back flowering by at least one month.