Rooting Annuals in Late Summer

The lives of most annuals end with the first hard frost in fall. However, it is possible to save several annuals from year to year by taking and rooting cuttings in late summer. Annuals that can be successfully rooted and grown indoors over winter include geraniums, impatiens, coleus, and wax begonias. 

Using a sharp knife, take 3- to 5-inch stem cuttings from the terminal ends of the shoots. Pinch off the lower leaves, then dip the base of each cutting in a rooting hormone. Stick the cuttings into a rooting medium of vermiculite, perlite, or coarse sand. Clay or plastic pots with drainage holes in the bottom are suitable rooting containers. Insert the cuttings approximately 1 inch deep into the rooting medium. After all the cuttings are inserted, water the rooting medium. Allow the medium to drain for a few minutes, then place a clear plastic bag over the cuttings and container to prevent the cuttings from wilting. Finally, place the cuttings in bright light, but not direct sunlight. The cuttings should root in 6 to 8 weeks. When the cuttings have good root systems, remove them from the rooting medium and plant each rooted cutting in its own pot. Place the potted plants in a sunny window or under artificial lighting until spring.


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on August 26, 2009. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.