Scented Geraniums Get Scraggly (Etiolated) In House
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Cherry Stewman
Posted on: November 26, 2005

I ordered by mail in the summer two scented geraniums: Rober’s Lemon Rose and the Knotted scented geranium. They were beautiful (Knotted didn’t do as well as Rober’s but you stated that in the catalog) and did well. I’ve put them in the house and they are very scraggley! What do I do to make them better--pinch back?! What? Also since they are so scraggley, how can I root some of it and put those in the pot to make the pot look fuller?

The plants are not getting enough light. If possible, move them to an unobtructed south window, or if this is not available, buy a 40 watt or more wattage flourescent light and put it right over the plants and leave it on for 14 to 16 hours per day. A cheap mechanical timer would work just fine to do it automatically.

Once you have the light problem fixed, clip the plants down to less etiolated growth and you can try to root the cut off pieces, but don’t be surprised if such weak shoots just rot. Leave the cuttings to dry off for a few hours, then dip them into rooting hormone and then stick them into a pot of sterile tropical plant soil, water, let drain, then cover with a clean plastic bag and place under bright light, but out of direct sun. The sun would cook them. Open the bag from time to time to let a bit of fresh air in and remove gradually once the cuttings start to grow. Keep moist but not soggy wet.

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