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It’s not uncommon to find geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) in hanging baskets or as popular garden bedding plants.
As long as you can supply your geraniums with the right nutrients, they’ll thrive.
How to Grow Geraniums
Geraniums have varying requirements depending on location and how they are grown.
Geraniums need a lot of light to bloom indoors, although they can handle a little bit of it.
They also require daytime temperatures of 65-70 degrees F (18-21 degrees C) and nighttime temperatures of 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) inside.
In addition, these plants require potting soil that drains well.
You need wet, well-draining soil for geraniums when they are grown outside in the same proportions as in a potting mix.
Geraniums need six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive.
Wait to plant these plants until the danger of frost has passed, as they require protection from the cold.
Aim to keep the spacing between plants between 8 and 12 inches (20-30 centimeters) and the depth of the original pots.
It is also a good idea to mulch the plants to assist maintain moisture.
Popular Types of Geraniums
Geraniums are one of the few plants with such a wide range of possibilities.
They come in a broad variety of colors, shapes, and even scents thanks to the more than 300 species that make up the genus.
They can be as small as 6 inches or as large as several feet, depending on the variety.
There are four varieties of geraniums that are most popular:
- Zonal geraniums – the classic geraniums you recognize. With single or double blooms in white, pink, red, burgundy, yellow, orange, and purple, Zonal geraniums are easy growers, heat tolerant, and drought resistant. The Classic, Tango, and Rocky Mountain cultivars all come in a wide variety of colors.
- Regal geraniums – also known as Marsha Washington geraniums. They feature large multicolored blooms and are considered a delicate variety, yet they thrive with the proper care. They perform best in cooler areas and will not flower in hot summer temperatures. Unique cultivars include Ace High, Brown’s Butterfly, Blue Orchid, and the Coral Sea.
- Ivy geraniums – create abundant mounds of cascading flowers. The leaves are shiny and resemble ivy. The single, semi-double and double flowers bloom from early spring to the first frost of fall. Try Summer Showers, Contessa, and White Mesh cultivars for abundant blooms.
- Scented geraniums – have scented leaves with a velvety texture. While they don’t bloom as profusely as other varieties, they are a favorite of many gardeners. Although there are endless variations, popular scents include roses, apricots, apples, and mint. The cultivar name often hints at the geranium’s scent, such as Chocolate Mint, Ginger, Lemon Balm, and Lime.
If you want to grow a genuine Geraniaceae hardy geranium, you have many choices.
Perennials in Zones 3 to 8, with robust rhizomes for easy dispersal, are the norm. Popular hardy geraniums provide wonderful ground cover.
The hybrids Geranium Cantabrigiense and Geranium Oxonianum, as well as Geranium Macrorrhizum, are good choices for your garden.
Hundreds of cultivars can be found in these three hybrids.
Care of Geraniums
- Water thoroughly after allowing the soil to dry for a period of time.
- Do not allow the roots to completely dry out during the winter months. The Winter months are the best time for geraniums because they require less water and don’t grow as much. Overwintering procedures are provided in the next section.
- Regularly remove spent flowers from the garden to encourage new growth.
- Pinch back the stems to encourage bushiness and prevent droopiness.
- Fertilize every two weeks or so during the growing season. Reduce the strength of a water-soluble fertilizer by half. During the winter, when the plant is supposed to remain dormant, avoid fertilizing it.
- The best time to repot geraniums is in the spring when new growth is most active, or if they simply look tired.
- With plenty of sunlight, it is possible to keep geraniums that have spent the summer outside in your home. During late winter in northern climates, the sun may not be strong enough to promote buds of some kind.
- Make a shapely cut at the base of the stems with a sharp, clean knife just before the first fall frost (see your local frost dates here). Low-sunlight conditions will necessitate them not having to support large amounts of foliage. You can easily multiply your plants by taking cuttings from a few stems.
- When transplanting the “mother plant,” use normal potting soil to fill the smallest pot feasible.
- Make sure the plants are kept cool and out of direct sunlight for a week before moving them to a sunny location.
- Temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 16 degrees Celsius) are ideal for geraniums throughout the winter months, but they can withstand temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
The old leaves should be removed as soon as new growth begins to develop in the spring.
Keeping the new growth going is the most difficult part of the process.
And here’s some guidance on how to go about it:
- When the leaves begin to droop, supply only a small amount of water and do so only when the leaves appear to be wilting. Feed or fertilize the plants at all times. It’s imperative that these plants get some shut-eye.”
- In February, pinch back your geraniums if you want them to bloom for Memorial Day. When the weather is warm again and there is no threat of frost, you can move the plants outside into beds or pots, as you want.
Where to Plant Geraniums
You need to know what kind of geraniums you have in order to be successful with them. This will allow you to put them in the optimal location.
The majority of annual geraniums require a location that gets a lot of direct sunlight, with the exception of the ivy geranium, which does better in partial shade.
Geraniums that are perennial on the other hand can thrive in either full sun or partial shade, depending on the variety.
Both varieties reap the benefits of shade during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its most intense, in the southwestern and southern sections of the country, respectively.
What Kind of Soil to Use for Geraniums
A soil that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage is ideal for growing geraniums, whether they are annuals or perennials.
If you are growing geraniums in planting beds, you may improve the drainage and quality of the soil by incorporating three inches of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flowers into the top six to eight inches of the native soil.
This will allow for better root development. Fill the containers with a light and fluffy potting mix like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for the best results for growing geraniums in containers.
To create the ideal medium for planting geraniums in raised beds, combine garden soil and potting mix in proportions that are equal.
Alternatively, you can fill the beds with Miracle-Gro Raised Bed Soil.