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Plant Care for Geraniums

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Plant Care for Geraniums

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Overview

A tender perennial, geraniums thrive in summer gardens and patio containers. They flower profusely when properly taken care of, adaptable to most soil types in the garden. Geraniums are often grown as annuals in areas with freezing winters, as they can only be left outdoors in climates that have very mild winters. Potted geraniums are easily overwintered indoors, and even garden geraniums can be dug and stored inside until all frost danger is past in spring.

Step 1

Prepare garden beds prior to planting once all spring frost danger is past. Lay a one-inch layer of compost and one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer over the bed prior to planting.

Step 2

Plant the geraniums into the garden bed at the same depth as they are in their nursery pots, as planting them deeper or shallower can damage or kill the geraniums. Space the geraniums 12 inches apart in all directions.

Step 3

Water garden plants thoroughly at least once a week and potted geranium every two to three days, or when the soil begins to feel dry. Water garden beds until the soil feels moist to a six-inch depth. Water containers until the excess moisture begins to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

Lay a two-inch layer of mulch around garden geraniums. Mulching prevents weeds and helps retain the moisture in the soil.

Step 5

Fertilize potted geraniums every two weeks with a liquid houseplant fertilizer, following label application instructions. Garden geraniums rarely need additional fertilizers.

Step 6

Pinch back both potted and garden geraniums at planting and again at mid-season to keep the plants full and bushy. Pinch off the top one to three inches of each growing stem with your fingers. Pinch more often if the plants begin to look overgrown.

Step 7

Bring potted geraniums indoors before the first fall frost, and keep them in a warm, sunny window throughout winter. Dig up garden geraniums and plant them in pots or hang the plants upside down in a 45 degree Fahrenheit room until spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not leave the dead plant matter in the bed after pinching. Disease organisms tend to breed in the dead plant matter and may infect the geraniums.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Houseplant food

References

  • University of Rhode Island: Growing Geraniums
  • Iowa State University Extension: Growing and Overwintering Garden Geraniums
Keywords: geranium plant care, growing geraniums, tender perennial care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

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