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Geraniums

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Botanical name: Pelargonium

Plant type: Houseplant

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10, 11

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy

Flower color: Multicolor

Geraniums are a longtime favorite of Almanac gardeners. They are easy to grow, colorful, and many add a lovely scent to the home. Although, they are also an outdoor plant, they can be kept indoors to overwinter. Or, they can bloom indoors all year long with enough light.

Planting

  • When buying geraniums, look for color and size. Healthy leaves will have no discoloration on or below them and stems will be sturdy, not straggly. Be sure to avoid any plants with obvious signs of pests as well.
  • Place plants in pots with drainage holes to avoid root rot. Do not use a saucer beneath your pot unless filled with pebbles.
  • Use soil-less potting mixture (not dirt) when planting in containers.
  • For maximum bloom, place the plants in an area where they will get 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.

Care

  • Allow to dry between waterings, then water thoroughly.
  • During the winter water much less, but do not let the roots dry out.
  • To encourage blooming, deadhead spent flowers. 
  • To promote bushiness and avoid legginess, pinch the stems.
  • During active growing months, fertilize every 2 weeks. Use a water-soluable fertilizer at half strength. Don't fertilize in winter.
  • Geraniums can be re-potted as needed during the spring to be refreshed.

Pests

Common problems can be low light or too much or too little water.  The leaves will turn yellow as an indication you are watering too little or too much in which case, try to even the watering out and move the geraniums to a brighter place.

Recommended Varieties

  • The Common or Zonal Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) thrives in containers (as well as outdoors).
  • Ivy-Leaf Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are very popular for hanging baskets, window-boxes, and containers. 

Wit & Wisdom

  • For minor cuts, apply crushed geranium leaves to stop the bleeding.
  • In the language of flowers, scarlet geranium means silliness.

 

Comments

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Hi, I need a huge market for

By Jucks

Hi, I need a huge market for the Geranium plants around Gauteng province, because we are producing this plants in high volume.

Hi, I live in Toronto,

By Reddy

Hi, I live in Toronto, Canada, and recently brought Geranium, as I stay in condo (SW facing) I have to keep moving the pot according to sunlight in morning and evening. Is this right way to do to give them enough light? Also , when I brought, it was of full bloom, but after two weeks all flowers fall off and not blooming. please advise me on how to make it blooming again.

Hi, Reddy, your method is one

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Reddy, your method is one way to give the plant light but only you know if it is enough. Geraniums need 6 or more hours of direct sun daily to grow and flower properly. Is yours getting that? Also, geraniums need to dry out between waterings. You don't want it sitting in water (do not have a saucer under it) and do not water too frequently, especially if it is only getting minimum sun.
We hope this helps!

How many years do geranims

By Cathi Mellon

How many years do geranims live? I am from N WI I do bring them in every year & put them in the basement.

Hi, Cathi, Yes, you can bring

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Cathi, Yes, you can bring the geraniums inside for the winter. Cut them back and bring in the plant without the dirt and pots. Store in your basement n a netted bag. Check them monthly. If they wrinkle, dip them into lukewarm water for about 10 minutes to rehydrate. In February, repot and put in a sunny window; you may need grow lights. Of course, some people just start over and treat them as annuals, but see how it goes!

I have beautiful geraniums in

By patty w

I have beautiful geraniums in Phoenix area growing since February. Can I take them to Colorado and expect them to grow as well there. Will they continue to bloom. It's been in the 80's and 90's for the past two months. It will be in the 60's and 70's in CO.

I just purchased four

By janicetedford

I just purchased four beautiful hanging geraniums. I know I am going to hate it if I don't keep them. I live in Ontario Canada. Can I just bring them in and put in basement just the way they are as long as I have a grow light or supplemental lighting.

Hi, Janice: This just

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Janice: This just wouldn't be practical, as it takes a lot of light and warmth to keep geraniums going. Please see the answer to Vika below -- and thanks for asking!

Hi, my geranium where outside

By vika

Hi, my geranium where outside growing beautiful . In the fall i plant my geranium in a pot and took it inside. Then a week passby and i gave some fertilizer. Couple of days passby and the leaves and flowers fall off . Already a month and new leaves come and next day fall off. What should i do?

Hi Vika, The geraniums need a

By Almanac Staff

Hi Vika,
The geraniums need a lot of light and temperatures between 65 to 70 F to do well as houseplants. Another way to overwinter geraniums is to let them go dormant by removing them from the pot and hanging them upside down in a cool, dark basement. In the spring place them in pots and put them in a warm sunny spot. Water and they should start growing new leaves soon.

Hello, I've saved my

By Susan McLoughlin

Hello,
I've saved my geraniums right in their pots over the winters for many years now - they are like old friends. Now I've moved and I do not have anything close to a sunny window or a basement to store them in. I don't have any room to try supplemental lights inside. Right now they are lined up in my kitchen with no light, stretching toward the lone small window. I have a cinder block garage with shelves. What kind of supplemental lights do you recommend?
Thanks!

Hi Susan, You can supplement

By Almanac Staff

Hi Susan,

You can supplement sunlight with a fluorescent tube light about 10 to 12 inches above the plants.

For Geranium cutting

By Frank Tadayon

For Geranium cutting propagation, should there be direct sunshine or bright light? Also in regards to temperature of room for Geranium cutting propagation, is 65-70F the right temp.

Hi Frank, Place the cuttings

By Almanac Staff

Hi Frank,
Place the cuttings in a warm location, 65-70 degrees F is fine, with bright, but indirect sun.

Hi, I have moved my potted

By Hopeful

Hi, I have moved my potted geranium in the house and re-potted my other geranium and put it in the house. Will they do OK?

If the geraniums are in pots,

By Almanac Staff

If the geraniums are in pots, bring them inside well before frost. Put in a sunny window (south- or west-facing) and make sure the temperatures are about 65 degrees F during the day and 55 degrees at night. Keep the plants humidified. Water when soil is dry (about once a week) and cut them back when they grow long shoots. Fertilize in mid-spring and put pots back outside once you are confident that the last frost has passed.

Im in Oklahoma city and we

By Trulaina

Im in Oklahoma city and we had two geraniums that sit in front of the window where at some point get a couple of hours of sun light each day. We have had these plants for many years and they were beautiful. We water them once a week but for some reason the stems feel very hollow and when we clip them they are black inside. What should I do to help the look beautiful again..

It could just be age. As the

By Almanac Staff

It could just be age. As the plant grows, the stem must get stronger to support the additional weight of the plant. It is also possible that your plant has a bacterial disease. Check out this extension service page for more information: http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/geranium-diseases

Are Geraniums leafs are safe

By Clara Alexander

Are Geraniums leafs are safe to eat to cats?

According to the ASPCA,

By Almanac Staff

According to the ASPCA, common or zonal geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) are toxic to cats and dogs. However, other sources say that these plants rarely cause a serious reaction and are usually only mildly toxic. (It might depend on how much the pet ate.) The plants can cause skin irritation (there might be some swelling in and around the mouth), and if ingested, the pet might vomit to get rid of the irritant plant tissue. Depression or lack of appetite might also be symptoms. If you suspect that your pet has eaten the leaves or flowers of geraniums, it's safest to consult with your vet, who knows your pet's overall health condition and issues. Describe to your vet the symptoms and s/he may be able to determine whether the pet should be examined or tell you what signs to watch for and how to keep the pet comfortable.
 
As to true geraniums (Geranium spp.), also called cranesbills or hardy geraniums, we can not find information about their toxicity to pets.

I live in Minnesota and want

By Mary Henne

I live in Minnesota and want to keep my geraniums over the winter with the least care. What is the best method that you would recommend? I had some luck placing them in a paper bag / cool place but not sure if this should be before or after the hard freeze.... and if the plant should be dried up or fresh out of the ground with or without dirt.

Hi, Mary: It's hard to tell

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Mary: It's hard to tell which requires the least care--transplanting to pots, regrowing from cuttings, or letting go dormant--but we suspect the latter is what you want. Carefully dig up your plants now. Carefully shake off any dirt and loose/dead leaves/stems. Remove any sign of mold or other disease. Repeat: Inspect carefully for mold. Place in your (unheated) basement in a way that allows for good air circulation (we put groups in paper bags and hang from the floor joists). Over the winter, they will dry out substantially but hopefully still retain enough moisture to be viable come, say, February. Take a peek every now and then to be sure. (If they seem to be really drying out, accelerate the repotting schedule.) When you're ready to restart in pots, use soil-less mixture and cut back the remaining stems to a point where you can see green life. Water and fertilize lightly but regularly, and replant outside after the projected date of your last frost, which in your area occurs about May 14. Good luck!

I have 2 geraniums here in

By Ann Grassel

I have 2 geraniums here in Walnut Creek, CA. I have huge plants with little or now flowers in pots in my sunroom. They get plenty of sun and I have been using a 10-52-10 fertilizer.
What can I do to get it to bloom and how often should I fertilize?
Thanks

In terms of sunlight, is it

By Almanac Staff

In terms of sunlight, is it really bright and direct at least four hours a day? In terms of fertilizer, use a more balanced fertilizer: 15-15-15 or 20-20-20. Finally, you could always repot with new potting soil mixture. Before you do, hold back the watering for 6 to 8 weeks until it's not quite dry and cut it back. After repotting, start watering again, fully moistening the soil, and then allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering again. Also, we would try summering your geraniums outdoors if you can.
 

I found small green worms

By ruth davis

I found small green worms eating the blooms on my plants. They are eating only the blooms. What are they and what do I need to do get get rid of them before bringing them inside

Hi, Ruth, Allow us to

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Ruth, Allow us to introduce you to the geranium budworm, aka tobacco budworm. At maturity, these are moths that lay a single egg at night on the geranium buds. The larvae color may be red or green. These turn into caterpillars that drop into the soil and pupate. As the days grow shorter and seasons transition, the insects "hibernates" in the soil, staying for the winter.
Handpicking is the most common control. Around dusk, look for the worms when you see holes in the leaves or flowers. In daylight they hang around the base of the plant.
If your geraniums are potted, change the soil.
Numerous wasps, bugs  (e.g., Polistes spp. wasps, bigeye bug, damsel bug, minute pirate bugs), and spiders are natural enemies.
We hope this helps.

I've had geranium plants

By Sheila Barrett

I've had geranium plants inside in winter and outside in summer for 3 years now and they have done beautifully until now. I've repotted
them in the Fall and in the Spring. I
have them in a sunny window. They are no longer flowering and they were sooo beautiful for the past 3 winters. I have always rooted cuttings successfully also but this year none are rooting. I'm baffled. Is it because of age? Any advice would be
appreciated. Sheila

In northern climates, we tend

By Almanac Staff

In northern climates, we tend to store our geraniums in the basement, then repot and bring into a sunny window in February; grow lights help, too.
You've had quite the green thumb. Three years of continuous bloom is impressive. We don't know where you live. Has the sunlight been especially low this winter? Geraniums need strong, bright light, but not direct sunlight. You could always add supplemental lighting. Once the plants photosynthesize more, they should bloom again. You can always repot as well.

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