Why grow your own? Well, because....
1) Geraniums are expensive.
2) when you are caring for a family my size you soon learn to despise paying for anything twice.
3) growing your own helps insure a supply.
4) during the dark grey of winter it is nice to have something as stubborn as you blooming in defiance.
so here is how I solve my need for geraniums...
When my daughters were young I took them to the store and allowed them to pick out two geraniums each, from those "mother plants" I have kept my garden in supply of this God given repellent every year since.
During the winter my geraniums sit on the window sill and are allowed to do what ever they wish.. usually they wish to grow long and stringy and bloom.
The girls need a haircut..... I try to imagine the little starts you find at the greenhouse. and clip them off the main plant. On the baby... I will not be scientifically correct in my speech here ~I want to leave just enough leaves to allow the new plant to photosynthesize but not big ones that would over tax the new plant by trying to support it, See how I have plucked the cut end bare, that will be the root system. DO NOT throw the extra leaves away. I'll show you what to do with them later.
Now, if ( and that's a big if) I have the money or left over product from the year before I like to use cloning gel from Worm's Way. (no they didn't pay me to say that, but if they wanted to that'd be okay too..) It causes them to sprout roots faster but it is not necessary. If I don't have gel I will often shave pieces from a willow tree and stick them in the dirt with my cutting. (Willows have amazing growth hormones) And if I don't have either I still stick those puppies in the dirt and get new geraniums anyway... don't over think this.
The babies are then placed in the dirt and kept WELL watered. I try to start them when I start my tomato and pepper seeds.
The blossoms are placed on the table for one last hurrah.
And those leaves that I told you not to chuck are placed in dishes of water and kept watered until they sprout or die... I will have both. Law! would you look at that woman's widow? Somebody should make her get the spring cleaning done... who's brave enough to try and drag her away from the garden right now...anyone?
One thing I would like to point out is a geranium will eventually get old and you don't want to be left without mother plants. Usually when they start to turn woody on the bottom and crack you should replace the mother with one of the new babies in the fall.. I don't know if this picture will show it well....
I may replace this one in the fall or keep it and and add an additional one.. we'll have to see how I feel. :)
The ladies with their new hair cut, waiting to spend the summer on the porch.... my rule of thumb is take half /leave half. I could have cut a little more and I still may but for now I think I have enough babies.