Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

When my landscaping neighbor offered a hefty pile of geraniums for worm food I took him up on it, not for worm food, but for dry-rooting over winter. Hefty pile, did I say? There were about a hundred, maybe two hundred, plants delivered to my garage door in three big barrels.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

They were a sorry bunch of geraniums, not in the best of shape, possibly frost-bitten. But like a sorry bunch of stray puppies, what can you do but take them in and give them a home.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

There are now more geraniums dry-rooted in paper bags in the root cellar than anything else. Accepting what the universe gives us is not the worst of all possible paths to take.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

Among the intact plants there were also broken-off stems and bits and pieces of stems. I decided to make a step-by-step guide showing how to root geraniums.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

Cutting off the end of one of them, I found vibrant green life inside.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

Where there’s life there’s hope to revive life, obviously. I decided to root the broken pieces the way you’d root a cutting. First, dip the cut end in water.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

Then dip in the rooting compound. I discovered rooting compound only a few years ago. Plenty of plant people never bother with the compound but I think of it as insurance.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

Stick the stem in perlite, or any other material that isn’t too dense or close-packed. Potting soil will work, and so will sand.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

Water the perlite and in several weeks gently poke around in there and see if you’ve got roots.

Two-bit Guru | How to Root Geraniums

I am enamored with the persistence of plant life, how trees spring up in rock crevices, how tomatoes self-seed, how I find pak choi that I haven’t grown for a couple of years still popping up as volunteers in the garden. With strictly human affairs there might be no free lunch but when it comes to nature, free lunches abound.

With the broken pieces and the plants themselves it’s hard telling how many geraniums I’ll have this spring. I might become the geranium king of the road, or not. Let’s say they don’t survive, that every single one of them dies, then what? Then they become worm food, return to the soil to nurture other creatures and to nurture the soil itself. Ain’t nature the most wonderful idea ever?