Learn how to plant, grow, and care for the geraniums that add bright pops of color to your garden.

Texas A&M University


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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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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

Wit & Wisdom

  • For minor cuts, apply crushed geranium leaves to stop the bleeding.
  • In the language of flowers, scarlet geranium means silliness. Find out more flower meanings here.
  • Geraniums are known to be toxic to Japanese beetles, so you won’t have to worry about those pesky pests.

Reader Comments

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hello! Can you put a branch that broke off in jar of water to root it?

Geraniums in water

Yes, Jacque, you should be able to root a branch in a clear container of water. Remove all foliage below the water level (leaves would rot in water). Put the container in bright but not direct sunlight. Allow four weeks to a month.

"Patriot" Cherry Rose Zonal Geranium

I got this beautiful plant for Mother's Day, full green leafed and big beautiful blooms. Within just a couple of weeks the leaves were turning yellow/brown spots. Not sure if too much water or not enough watering, maybe too much sun???? Any suggestions are appreciated

geraniums with yellow leaves

You are right that yellowing leaves can mean either too much or too litter water. You allow the plant to dry between waterings, then water thoroughly.  You could also try using a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. Good luck!

Overwintering in Colorado Rockies - Supplemental light

I've been overwintering at east window with average of one hour daily under fluorescent kitchen light. This winter I am installing a fluorescent light (possibly grow light) above them by the east window rather than moving them daily. I see in comments about a foot above plants is good, wondering what wattage I should get if I have a choice, it gets dim up here, but I don't want to burn them. Thank you!

Geraniums Zone 9: Winter

Hi! I live in Houston, TX. Can I leave my geraniums outside during the winter in my flowerbeds? It freezes maybe 3 times. If I cover them with tarp, will it help? Thank you!

Overwintering Geraniums

Because geraniums do not have “resting structures” like bulbs or tubers, they should be brought in for the winter. Three frosts is enough to kill them. Leaving the stalks on, dig them, pot them or clump them together and wrap them in a tarp, and put them in a cool (not freezing), dry area. Come spring, cut them back, move them back into the garden, and begin watering. Note: If they freeze during the winter, they will not come back.

My Geraniums are growing TOO big

I brought my geraniums in for the winter and placed them in a South facing window that gets sunlight all day. In the last few months they've doubled in size and usually have 7-8 blossoms or soon to be blossoms on the go! They're getting far too large for my window sill and are extremely bushy because the stems won't grow upright due to their weight. Is there anyway to trim them down without damaging the plant? Or at they just getting too much sunlight?


bushy geraniums

Interesting problem to have, Ethan. The heavy light may be contributing to the growth; so, too, water. It’s actually normal for geraniums to get bushy. Try this: Prune out all old or unhealthy stems (if you have any!). Pinch back (pinch out) new growth, once it reaches a few inches. Pinch it to ½ to 1 inch from the tip. You can also prune about a third of the plant and not suffer loss. And check the pot size; sometimes rootbound plants “force” their growth to the top. BTW, you can do this and still trans-fer/-plant the geranium outdoors for the summer. Lucky you!

Geranium care

Hi, I live in NH and I brought my geranium inside, it blossomed beautifully up until a few weeks ago, now it is no longer blooming. How do I get it to start blooming again? And how often should I fertilize during winter months while indoor? Thanks!

You can use a water-soluble

You can use a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. Mix 1 teaspoon into 1 gallon of water. It’s also important to pinch off the faded flowers and longer stems to keep the plant bushy and healthy. You can easily propagate your plants buy putting the stem cuttings into moist vermiculite or any well-drained sterile soil mix. Put a plastic bag over the top and in a week or so the cutting will have roots and you can plant it in a bigger pot.

They are pretty rugged plants

They are pretty rugged plants. I just make sure to get them in before the first frost. When night temps. dip into the low 40s you could bring them in just to be on the safe side.

Hi, when the average outside

Hi, when the average outside temperature drops to what level should I take my potted pelagonia indors?

Hi, I need a huge market for

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Hi Susan, You can supplement

Hi Susan,

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

For Geranium cutting

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

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

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,

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

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

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:

Are Geraniums leafs are safe

Are Geraniums leafs are safe to eat to cats?

According to the ASPCA,

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

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

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

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?

In terms of sunlight, is it

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

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

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

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

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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