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Connecticut Garden Journal: Cuttings help turn annuals into perennials

Cuttings and shoots of geranium and pelargonium plants standing in water for root growth.
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Pelargonium geraniums (pictured), fuchsias, coleus and begonias are just some of the flowers we often grow as annuals that can be overwintered to grow again next year.

With the cold weather coming soon, you might want to save some favorite annual flowers. It's a shame to let a nice flowering plant die and there are ways to take what we usually think of as an annual and turn it into a perennial.

Pelargonium geraniums, fuchsias, coleus and begonias are just some of the flowers we often grow as annuals that can be overwintered to grow again next year. While the temptation is to dig up a large plant or bring a big container filled with flowers indoors for winter, for most of us, that's not very practical. We don't have the space to save large annual flowers, so our solution is to take cuttings.

Many of these annual flowers are easy to propagate by taking a small cutting and rooting it in a container. You get to save a prized variety and save space at the same time. Now is the time to take cuttings. Cut back 4- to 6-inches from the tip of a stem, remove any flowers and cut just below a set of leaves. Remove the lower leaves. Dip the cut end in some rooting hormone powder that's readily available at garden centers and stick the cutting in a pot filled with moisten potting soil. Place the cutting in a bright room, out of direct sunlight, until rooted. It usually takes a number of weeks to root. Then place the cutting in a sunny window for winter. Take multiple cuttings of each plant to insure you get some that survive. You can always share the extras with friends and family in spring.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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