Potted red geraniums.
image by Simonfilm, Morguefile
Geraniums offer gardeners a beautiful annual flower in a variety of colors. Geraniums work well as both container plants and as border plants in the garden. This tender annual does require some care throughout the growing season. Clipping back dead blooms, regular watering and fertilizing will help keep the plant healthy and blooming throughout the summer. Many gardeners choose to bring their geraniums inside for the winter since this tender annual plant cannot handle cold temperatures.
Care for your geraniums properly throughout the growing season to have a healthy plant for winterizing. Provide an environment with 6 hours of sun each day and proper watering. Fertilize every few weeks, especially for container plants.
Pinch back old blooms behind the dead flowers with your fingers to encourage new flowers and busy growth of foliage. Removing dead foliage and flowers also discourages growth of diseases.
Winterize your geraniums by bringing the plant inside to a cool, dry location. Geraniums cannot handle cold soil and air temperatures and should always be winterized indoors.
Cut back the plant slightly to remove old growth and place the plant in its storage area in its original growing container. If you've removed the plant from the garden, brush off as much soil as possible from the roots and repot to the plant in new potting soil in a clean planter. You can also remove all the soil from the roots, tie string to the roots and suspend the geraniums from the ceiling in a dry location.
Wake up the plant in the spring by adding water to those plants in pots. Clip back foliage to remove dead leaves and move the plants to a warmer, sunny location inside the house. Fertilize with a light, all-purpose plant food. For suspended plants, re-pot in containers with fresh potting soil and prune back the plants to about 4 to 5 inches tall. Water, fertilize and place in a sunny location.
Plant geraniums in the garden or outdoor containers after frost danger passes. Soil temperature should be above 60 degrees F.