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

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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