What Works For Me

This is my hotbox for rooting cuttings and germinating seed.  The temperature is controlled by a rod thermostat, which is connected to a soil warming cable.  I find 70 degs F (21 degs C) is ideal for rooting pelargoniums.

Even with all this cold weather in January my miniatures are putting on plenty of growth.  This is a cutting taken from a Miniature Stellar called Newbridge.  For a good plant, I only take cuttings from strong growth.

The cutting has been trimmed at a slight angle under a leaf node.

As you can see I use small pots to root my cuttings, 1.5" for Miniatures & Dwarfs, 2" for the rest. The pots once filled with cutting mix, are then stood in a saucer of water until wet.  I then make a hole with a dibber, into which the cutting is placed. Firm the compost around the cutting with fingers, and of course ensure it has a label. When the cutting dries out it is stood in a saucer of water until sufficiently wet. I do not personally believe in spraying cuttings whilst rooting.

Take strong cuttings which are short jointed as these will give you the best plants. If weak straggly growth is used, once rooted, the plant will have the same lack of vigour.




Roots on a cutting

I have taken these cuttings out of their pots to explain & show how the roots are formed.
The base of the stem heals over in the first week, the roots appear at the base as you can see in the photo - not out of the sides as some would believe.

How I Treat Cuttings That Are Harder To Root
This is what I do to some of the problem Angels.  I take a 2.5" pot, put some cutting mix in the bottom, then place a 1.5" pot in the middle and fill in around the sides with the mixture firming as I go.  Any compost that gets in the middle pot is emptied out.  Place the cuttings in between the 2 pots, firming in around each one.  As you can see in the photo this works well as all are rooted.  I removed a cutting so the inner pot could be seen.

When taking Regal cuttings I use strong growth, like the one in my hand, as it will give a better plant.

Regal Cutting

The cutting is cleaned up and cut below a leaf node, then planted in a 2" pot to root, I never use hormone rooting powder.

As a rule once a cutting is rooted I remove the growing tip.  I treat Regals differently, I let them make a bit of growth first.

Stages Of Growth

When the cutting has made 4 sets of leaves, as in the photo, the growing tip is removed.  I do not rub out the growing tip with something sharp, but with a knife I take out the growing tip with a set of leaves.

This picture shows the breaks that the plant has made before it was stopped.  I have found over the years that this produces a bigger more compact plant quickly.

This is a young plant of Rosmaroy a few weeks on after its first stop.

Below, Miniatures a few weeks on from the first stop, note how compact they are.

Scented Leaf after 3 stops and still in a 4" pot. I take out the growing tip at 3 sets of leaves, then remove the growing tips when the new growth has made 3 sets of leaves. This is repeated until I have the plants the size I want, then they are left to flower. 

A young plant of Oldbury Duet, it has had 3 stops and still in a 3.5" pot.  I am not in a hurry to pot on to the next size, as I like to see plenty of top growth first with all my plants.

This is Claydon being grown as a Miniature.  For show purposes the foliage must not exceed 130mm (5") from the rim of the pot.

This photo shows a stem from a plant of Sarah Don that I am making the final stops to.

The photo below shows the stem with the growing tip removed, all the plant is treated like this with every growing tip removed.  

This is the end result with every tip removed, to give as near a round shape as possible.


15.12.2021 18:58


Hi Ken. Thanks for the info. I would like to know, do you cover the box? How often do you ‘bottom’ water the cuttings?

17.12.2021 10:40


Hi Jacqueline, I do not cover the box as the cuttings will rot off in too much humidity. I only water them once they are nearly dry as not to overwater. Ken

24.05.2020 15:21


Thank you, I call it "pinching back". When you refer to 3 stops, does it mean you removed the growing tip each time it started to produce new shoots, taking off the new growth +1 set of mature lvs?

24.05.2020 02:06


what do you mean by "stops" ?

24.05.2020 14:29


Hi Sue Stopping a plant is when you remove the growing tips This builds the plant up and gives more flowers. Ken

10.10.2019 16:41


Hello Ken, Am I too late to be taking 'Angel' cuttings in October. When are your best cuttings taken for flowering next year or 2 years time?

05.07.2019 07:41

Terry Sykes

Hello Ken, could you please tell me how many weeks before a show I need to make my last stop and stop taking out buds. Thank you.
Kindest regards terry

15.06.2019 16:50

Ann Hill

I have just acquired Voodoo, Waanrode Jubilee, Lara Beth and Apricot all as young plants with flowers and buds but v leggy. Do I cut off the flowering shoots now in hope they bush out or do I wait?

17.06.2019 18:09


Hi Ann the best thing to do is to cut plants back by half or more if need be this will bush them out. will delay flowering but plants will be a better shape, email if u need more help Ken

08.12.2018 13:37


Hi Ken. I live in the southern hemisphere and days get hot here. I try t do my propagating in house. Can I propagate from a flowering plant? Because they keep dying and I don't know if it's the heat

16.08.2018 03:05


I have an issue with pelargoniums that seem to be all flowering branches, and very little non-flowering shoots to use for propagation. Regals and one unique. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

16.08.2018 06:10


Hi Deborah once branches have finished flowering try cutting back to 2-3 sets of leaves and use the fresh new growth as cuttings. If you need anymore help email by link on site. Ken

10.06.2018 19:47


Hi Ken I have a batch of zonal pelargoniums coming from Fibrex, what would you advise, could I stand them on gravel or on a capillary bench. Thank you for the advice you have already given me.

03.06.2018 20:48

Andy Hardman

I would like to know how long before a show should I stop removing flower buds on a stellar geranium so it is at its best on show day?

05.06.2018 11:36

Andy Hardman

Thanks for that. Show is on August 5th so I will stop removing flower buds about 6 weeks before just to be on the safe side. I have a few plants so I will do a couple sooner and a couple later.

04.06.2018 13:43


Hi depends when show is June 6-8weeks if removing all flowering stems, August it could be 2-4 weeks. Where you live & weather plays a big part, because of the dull days I am struggling this year. Ken

27.05.2018 13:24


Please could you tell what rooting compost you use, thank you .

28.05.2018 20:33


Hi Gordon, The rooting mix I use is Coir with 50% medium grade Vermiculite added. Ken

27.05.2018 10:48


Just the information I am looking for, Great .

29.05.2018 10:36


Thank you for the information Ken ,much appreciated,it’s apleasure just looking at your website, what advice for potting up compost.

28.05.2018 20:36


Glad that you find my website helpful. Ken

04.04.2018 04:57

Pauline Studham

Very informative. Thank you very much

20.12.2017 00:26

Pauline Studham

Thank you. Very informative. I appreciate your knowledge...

22.05.2016 03:58

Gordon Cooling

Thank you Ken, for a clear explanation. I now know where I have been going wrong.

23.04.2016 04:26


Your stopping method has produced beautiful plants. Like bonzai

07.03.2016 08:22


My regal pelargoniums (from cuttings last year) have buds but they're puny. Should I sacrifice these now in hopeful expectation of more robust buds later or might this be as good as it gets? Thanks.

14.10.2015 15:39


thank you for the very useful information.

24.02.2015 14:20

Ellie Agnes

Great information - thank you. If I take regal pelargonium cuttings now will they flower this year?

14.01.2015 21:23

Dave Warwick

I bought a regal Pelargonium for the first time last year and with no knowledge of what I am doing I managed a few cuttings and now have some idea what to do with them.

05.10.2014 04:19

Marlene Macleod

I am forced to acquire my Pellies from the local Hardware store but when I get a goodie exactly when should I take cuttings here in Australia. Is it temp. or time that dictates.

01.05.2014 20:45


Cuttings are watered when dry by standing in a saucer until sufficiently wet. I chose not to spray them while rooting for fear of them rotting off. Ken

01.05.2014 18:31



10.04.2014 15:30

Ted Jones

Has your 'Hot box' a soil warming cable? I want to make a small one - the ordinary seed tray size!

13.02.2014 20:09

Top Cat

First class information

11.02.2014 04:22

Jenny xi

very helpful. shall I do stops to very young plants? I have one which was seeded last autum. shall I do stops?

16.04.2013 18:41


Very instructive, I did not realize that you could stop this family of plants, I knew you did this with Fusxhia's, can't wait to try it. Thank you

25.01.2013 15:13

Ken Abel

Hi Lillian I never use rooting powder on any Pelargonium cuttings and that includes Regals, in my experiences I find that rots more than it helps root.

25.01.2013 15:06


When taking Regal cuttings you don't mention the use of any rooting powder/gel; is that correct?

11.01.2013 23:18


Ian That would depend on what you intend to show such as Regal, Angel, Scented Leaf, as stopping dates vary for each group. Email me if you want for info. Ken

14.04.2013 11:35

Rita Lock

A super site . I would like to enter a geranium in this years local show - 4th August. It is a zonal type. Can you suggest the penaultimate stopping date? Tx

11.01.2013 22:08

Ian Cooper

When would be my last stop on geraniums for them to flower in full for june 22nd

07.07.2013 22:17

robert green

such great pelargoniums along with informative helpful site
many thanks

28.06.2012 17:43


everything I need to know about growing my favourite plants to perfection.This is one of the most helpful sites I have visited,Many thanks.

25.05.2012 21:49


Looking for more sources in US. Also interested in trades.

18.08.2011 21:01


these flowers and plants are beautiful!!!

02.04.2011 00:20

Monty Rosbach

Enjoyed your website and advice. I'm in the US and have been raising pelargoniums for a few years. Limited sources in US

25.05.2012 21:48


Monty, I have found a couple of sites - Goodwin Creeks, Accents Home & Garden & Sunset Color Nursery. Sunset is now working on be able to ship outside Calif.

17.04.2011 03:51


Monty, have you found a source for pelargoniums like this in the US?

10.02.2011 11:08


A very interesting website with beautiful pictures of pelargoniums.
Also it is good to find the dates of forthcoming shows all over the counrty
Very helpful.

06.11.2010 12:55

Meg Geyer

Meg from Australia here,have been a grower for 20+ years but have learnt better ways from this page, stopping will be a number one priority now!

01.01.2011 13:55


depending on which state you live in ,I suggest you look up South Australian Pelargonium website,a lots of links etc on there,I am in far away Western Aus

29.12.2010 21:39

Steve Hawkins

Meg- Just starting in Australia. Would like some advice, etc from someone with your years of experience of growing in Australia.
Regards, Steve

15.10.2010 00:35


I've been hoping to find such an informative website. I've never seen professional-level competition pelargoniums. I now have something to aspire to. Thank you.

22.05.2010 01:55

Danny Quain

This is a wonderful insight in to how show standard plants are produced. I note that 'three' stops are mentioned, but can there be more from start to finish?

22.05.2010 21:07


As a guide In a yearly cycle one would normally be looking at 4 stops.