Geraniums

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 3.3 of 5 (15 votes)

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

I have 2 geraniums here in

By Ann Grassel on September 11

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 on September 12

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 on September 5

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 on September 8

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.

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.