Note from the hosts: I asked professional grower/gardener/landscaper Donna Dixson to write about “why she loves what she does,” this is what she offered. Thanks Donna & I do hope you enjoy “How to Make a New Plant.”


How to Make a New Plant

I love doing tip cuttings. It is so rewarding! The ‘I did that!” feeling you get from creating a brand new little plant is almost as rewarding as birthing a baby, and … not nearly as painful.  I especially like Pelargoniums (Geraniums) because they are so incredibly easy.

I didn’t want to over winter this overgrown scented geranium, so I decided to make a bunch of babies out of it.  Less space and less care needed.

over grown scented geranium via Donna Dixson


Just a few materials are needed to make your very own plant!

  • Soil medium
  • Sharp cutters
  • Rooting hormone
  • Small pots


Steps Involved in Propagating a Geranium

* Prepare Pots

I used a 50-50 mix of perlite and sphagnum peat moss for this project.

soil medium via Donna Dixson

Fill small 3-4” pots up about ¾ full. Make a hole with pencil-size stick.

pruners and soil mix via Donna Dixson

* Prepare Your Pruners

Use the sharpest pruners or even sewing scissors, cleaned with alcohol.

rooting hormone via Donna Dixson

I use powdered rooting hormone. (For more on using Rooting Powder, here is an article from LowesHow to Root Plants for Cutting.)

node noted via Donna Dixson

* Where to Cut

Count from the tip of the branch down three to four nodes (the crotch between branch and leaf stem).

Make your cut on an angle just BELOW the node.

angle cut on geranium to top two leaves image via Donna Dixson

* Trim Leaf Stems

Cut the bottom leaf stems off. Be careful that you don’t cut into the branch and damage the node (this will be where your roots grow).

cut geranium to top two leaves via Donna Dixson

Take all off except the top two leaves and reduce the leaves on top by half a leaf.

rooting hormone in a small plastic container via Donna Dixson

* Dip the Cut in Rooting Powder

Shake some of the rooting hormone out into a small plastic container so you are not contaminating the whole container with the current project.

Dip the cut end into the powder.

How to Make a New Plant :: New Geranium Planting

* Plant the New Plant

Gently place the cutting into the hole you created in your pot and tuck it in with your fingers (or with the stick) to make sure it is in an upright position.

* How to Water a New Plant

Saturate with water.

Keep the soil medium moist as well as the tops of the leaf structure until it is rooted. A spray bottle is good for this, or you can just use a sprinkler type watering can.

You may need to upright your darlings if the water knocks them over. (But don’t worry, you haven’t damaged them, just don’t yank them around.)

small lizard plant inspector via Donna Dixson

*Consider a Heat Mat

With this project I did not use a bottom heat mat or any special heating in the Fall here in Georgia (October). I set them outside for the most part but did bring them on a couple of below 40 degree nights.

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3 week later. …

new geranium roots image via Donna Dixson

Yayyy – I have roots!! I lost two of the 15 that I did, probably due to my slack watering habits. So now, I have 13 plants I can hold for spring and outdoors.

I will be ready with my natural mosquito repellent Scented Geranium!


Editor again: As Donna tells it, “I grew up on a farm where my father instilled a love for straight rows in the vegetable garden. My mother took me to work with her at a greenhouse so I played underneath the potting table where little old ladies gossiped, cackled and potted plants.  The rich earthy smell of dirt still smells sweet like home to me! I have been professionally involved  in the green industry for over 30 years, encompassing being a grower for a nursery that specialized in herbs and vegetables where I learned from the best on propagation methods.”

She continues, “Moving onto the landscaping side of things for a few years, I’m learning how to design and install. I am now currently the general manager for Four Seasons Nursery and Landscaping  which I absolutely love because I get  to share my passion for plants and all things green with my customers and clients and give them sound designs and practical advice on how to achieve their own dream landscape.” 

Pretty good huh? ha! Donna may also be found blogging @ Green Thumb Evolution & on Facebook @ (and maybe in a few other places too).  Give her a like and thanks again for stopping by.  ~jb