Save some cash next spring by preserving geraniums, coleus and other plants this fall. With a little effort and a bit of luck, next spring you will have annuals ready for the garden.
Geraniums are a popular pick to over-winter. If you have a sunny spot indoors, pot up the geraniums in fresh potting soil, cut the foliage back to 1/3 of its original size and bring them inside over the winter. Water when needed, usually about once a week. In late February or March, take cuttings from this plant and root them for fresh summer growth.
If you plan to save a lot of geraniums, you may prefer to let them go dormant and keep them in a cool dark location, around 45-50°. Take the entire plant from its container and gently shake off the soil. Store in a brown paper sack or hang individually from the rafters in a 45-50° room. The horticulture folks at Iowa State University recommend soaking these bare roots in water for 1-2 hours several times over the winter. Pot up healthy-looking roots in late March or early April. Water thoroughly and cut back the dead stem tips. Set these plants in a sunny window or under fluorescent lights to get them growing again. Be patient as this may take several weeks.
Alternatively, you can take geranium cuttings in the fall and root them to grow indoors over the winter. Stem cuttings should be 4-6 inches long with the bottom leaves removed. Dip in a rooting medium and pot in moist sand, vermiculite or potting soil. It will take 3-4 weeks for roots to develop. Once the roots have grown, pot the cuttings into individual pots and place in a sunny location, watering when needed.
You can save more than geraniums. Stem cuttings of such soft-stem plants like coleus, impatiens, wax begonias and hypoestes (polka dot...